Highlights from the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline

By Christopher Hurley in Sports
| April 13, 2021 8:54 am PDT

The National Hockey League was wheeling and dealing over the weekend, with several big names on the move on trade deadline day.

From grizzled veterans and youngsters to NHL All-Stars and draft picks, general managers across the league did their best to improve their clubs.

Here’s a look at just some of the notable moves that were made.

Hall Heads to Boston

  • Boston Bruins receive Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar
  • Buffalo Sabres receive Anders Bjork and a second-round NHL draft pick in 2021

Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney hauled in the big fish at the National Hockey League’s Trade Deadline Sunday night, landing Buffalo Sabres forward Taylor Hall.

The former NHL Conn Smythe trophy winner was dealt to the Bruins, along with forward Curtis Lazar, in exchange for forward Andres Bjork and a second-round pick in the 2021 draft.

As part of the deal, Buffalo will also eat half of Hall’s hefty $8,000,000 price tag for this season. He is slated to become a free agent this summer.

A former first-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 2010 (the same year Boston grabbed Tyler Seguin with the second pick), Hall, 29, has been mired in a season-long slump since signing his one-year deal with the Sabres back in October.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound left-winger netted just two goals and 17 assists in 27 games and was in dire need of a fresh start somewhere else.

So. what exactly went wrong in Buffalo?

“I can’t really give you that answer right now,” Hall told the media Tuesday. “It was such a whirlwind of a year. It went badly, obviously. We started off our first 10 games at about .500. We had the Covid outbreak, and we couldn’t get our footing after that.”

In addition to cutting Hall’s salary in half, Sweeney miraculously managed to pull off the deal without surrendering a first-round pick.

A 6-foot, 205-pound center/right-wing, Lazar, 26 is expected to give Boston plenty of depth and flexibility as a bottom-six forward.

He’s netted five goals and 9 points in 33 games this season, including a game-winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, March 31. He has missed the Sabres last six games with a lower-body injury but says he’s ready to play.

While Hall is known as a goal-scorer, Lazar feels his primary impact will be on the defensive side of the game.

“For myself it’s an honest game,” said Lazar, who also likes to kill penalties.  “I pride myself on keeping the puck out of the net, probably more so than putting it in. That doesn’t mean I’m a slouch on the offensive side either.”

Both players were expected to make the drive to Boston Monday afternoon, in time for practice.

A former fifth-round pick, Bjork, 24, has been a healthy scratch for Boston the past five games. The 6-foot 197-pound Notre Dame product has potted two goals and five points in 30 games this season.

Maple Leafs Find Foligno

  • Toronto Maple Leafs receive Nick Foligno and Stefan Noesen
  • Columbus Blue Jackets receive a first-round NHL Draft pick in 2021, and fourth-round NHL Draft pick in 2022
  • San Jose Sharks receive a fourth-round pick in 2021 NHL Draft

The Toronto Maple Leafs added a big piece to its playoff puzzle picking up former Columbus Blue Jacket captain Nick Foligno, as part of a three-way trade.

In addition, the Leafs also acquired former San Jose Sharks forward Stefan Noesen, in exchange for three draft picks. Toronto sends Columbus a first-round pick in 2021 and fourth-round pick in 2022, while flipping a fourth-round pick in 2021 to the Sharks.

Foligno, 31 and an NHL All-Star, was in his ninth season with the Jackets. The 6-foot, 211-pound winger netted 7 goals and 16 points with Columbus this season. A natural born leader, he was the recipient of both the King Clancy Trophy and Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2016-17.

An NHL journeyman, Noesen, 28, joins his fifth team in nine seasons, with prior stops in Anaheim New Jersey and Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound right winger was scoreless in five games with the Sharks this season.

Islanders Make Deal With the Devils

  • New York Islanders acquire Kyle Palmeri and Travis Zajac
  • New Jersey Devils acquire A.J. Greer, Mason Jobst, a first-round pick in 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2022.

The New York Islanders added to its impressive arsenal picking up a pair of Devils.

The Isles acquired forwards Kyle Palmeri and Travis Zajac from New Jersey in exchange for A.J. Greer, Mason Jobst, a first-round pick in 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2022.

A highly sought after veteran, Palmeri, 30, has a nose for the net potting 20+ goals in each of the past five seasons, including a season-high 30 in his first year with New Jersey in 2015-16. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound right winger had 8 goals and 17 assists with the Devils at the time of the deal.

Zajac (35), a grizzled veteran since 2006-07, possesses a wealth of experience with 1,027 NHL games under his belt. One of the game’s top defensive forwards, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound center has 7 goals and 11 points with New Jersey this season.

A second-round pick for the Colorado Avalanche in 2015, Greer has seen limited NHL action scoring a goal and 6 points over three seasons, while spending the past two with three clubs in the American Hockey League.

Jobst is a product of the Ohio State University and also spent the past two seasons in the AHL with Binghamton and Bridgeport.

The key for New Jersey was landing that first round pick.

Habs Handed Eric Staal

  • Montreal Canadiens acquires Eric Staal
  • Buffalo Sabres acquires Montreal’s third and fifth round picks in the 2021 NHL Draft

The Montreal Canadiens was the first to pounce on the Buffalo Sabres fire sale, scooping forward Eric Staal for a third and fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft, March 26.

An NHL All-Star and Stanley Cup champion, Staal, 36, should be a calming influence on the young club with his leadership and clutch play. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound center had three goals and 10 points in 32 games with Buffalo this season.

Penguins Call on Carter

  • Pittsburgh Penguins acquire Jeff Carter
  • Los Angeles Kings acquire conditional NHL draft picks in 2022 and 2023

The Pittsburgh Penguins added proven sniper Jeff Carter to its formidable roster.

A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Los Angeles Kings, Carter, 36, brings plenty of veteran savvy to an already established championship caliber club.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound forward netted 8 goals and 19 points in 40 games this season. His addition is also a nice insurance policy as the Pens await the return of the often-injured Evgeni Malkin, from a lower body injury.

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