It seemed as though the writing was on the wall in Edmonton. Shawn Horcoff had been a good solider for the past 12 seasons. He was their captain for the last three years and a solid veteran presence in the locker room. But the Oilers have a young core, and it’s time for that core to take over. The 34 year-old Horcoff has never known another NHL team, but on July 4th, 2013, the Oilers decided it was time for Horcoff to have a change of scenery, shipping him to the Dallas Stars.
The Stars have been one of the most active teams lately in terms of trades, as earlier today they acquired Tyler Seguin in a multi-player deal. Adding Horcoff is part of the plan as they continue to revamp their roster. He will bring some experience to what is becoming a young core in Dallas.
Horcoff has 435 points in 765 regular season NHL games. He went all the way to the Stanley Cup final with the Oilers in 2006. He has had some injury problems that have hampered his production, but he’s a good face-off guy, and plays hard against opposing team’s best players. He’s got two years left on his current deal of $5.5 million per against the cap.
In return, the Oilers received a seventh round draft pick in 2016 and 23 year old defenceman Philip Larsen. Larsen has played in 95 NHL games, amassing five goals and 19 points as well as 34 penalty minutes. The trade is a good one for the Oilers, who shed some money and continued to bolster their defensive depth. Considering Horcoff’s age, injury history and large cap hit, Edmonton knew they probably wouldn’t get a massive return. But Larsen is developing into a solid defender and could end up becoming a fixture on the Oilers blueline.
Larsen was drafted in the fifth round, 149th overall by the Stars in 2008. He’s got speed and offensive upside, though he wouldn’t be considered a liability in his own end. He does everything well. This trade may be the first of a few transactions out of Edmonton. It’s an important one, because it signals a real changing of the guard in the city of champions. Even more impressive is that GM Craig MacTavish moved out Horcoff without using one of his compliance buyouts. Good start for the new guy.