Only hours after adding two centres in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars' GM Jim Nill has added a third, acquiring Shawn Horcoff from the Edmonton Oilers.
In exchange, the Oilers get defenceman Philip Larsen and a 7th round pick.
Horcoff has two years on his current deal and carries a $5.5 million cap hit, just as the bought-out Mikhail Grabovski did, though the actual dollar amount Dallas will be paying is much less. Horcoff is owed $4M next season and $3M in the year after that.
It's a bad contract, but the Stars will happily pick it up, as it gives them something they haven't had in years: centre depth.
Last season, the Stars' first-line centre was Jamie Benn playing out of position. Behind him was Derek Roy, whom Dallas was happy to jettison at the trade deadline. After that: Cody Eakin and Vernon Fiddler. That's not gonna cut it.
This year, all three top lines will have new pivots, as the Stars will boast Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Shawn Horcoff up the middle. That's a formidable group and a stunning one-day improvement. In a league where you're only as good as your centres, the Stars just got a whole lot better.
Even more impressive for the Stars: with these additions, one assumes they're out of the running for Tyler Bozak, which may have been their smartest move of all.
Jim Nill is making it look easy. Meanwhile, somewhere, Joe Nieuwendyk just threw a pillow against the wall. (Probably a throw pillow. That's what they're for.)
Expect to hear some griping out of Toronto as well. After all, the Leafs just used a compliance buyout on Mikhail Grabovski, who came with an identical cap hit to Horcoff. Of course, circumstances are different, as Horcoff has fewer years and $15 million less remaining on his deal. But one assumes not everyone in Toronto is going to keep that in mind as they react.