NHL Trade Deadline

The NHL trade deadline, which is usually in the middle of February, was Monday, April 12 this year. The trade deadline marks the final day in the season for a team to trade a player or draft pick. Teams then cannot trade players or make deals until the offseason. This year was the quietest trade deadline day since 2000, but regardless, there were still some very interesting moves made before 3:00 pm on April 12.

The most interesting moves, or the ones that stuck out the most were as follows.

Taylor Hall on The Move…Again???

The first overall pick from the 2010 NHL draft is on the move again. From the Edmonton Oilers, the New Jersey Devils, and the Arizona Coyotes, the Buffalo Sabres can now be added to the list of teams that Taylor Hall has been on and left. But I can see why Hall was upset in Buffalo. In 37 games this season as a Saber, Hall recorded only 2 goals, and not to mention Hall was part of the Buffalo Sabres team that made history, but for all the wrong reasons: they had one of the longest losing streaks in the books this season by losing 18 games consecutively. So, Hall was ready for a change, and that is exactly what happened, Hall traded in his blue and gold for the black and yellow and was shipped off to Boston. Now, the thing about this trade is not only did Hall get moved, but it was about what the Sabres got in exchange for Hall. The Sabres acquired forward Anders Bjork and a 2021 second-round draft pick in exchange for the former Hart trophy winner and Sabre’s teammate Curtis Lazar. Hall was not seen as a small name this season at the deadline, so people were expecting that he would go for much more than he did. The Boston Bruins not only get Hall, who has already tied the number of goals he scored for the Sabres this season in just 4 games as a Bruin, but they get to hold on to their first-round pick in this year’s draft. So, all in all, Boston came away with a steal in this trade.

Capitals Trade for Anthony Mantha

The Washington Capitals have been on fire this season and are showing no signs of slowing down. They currently sit at the top of the East Division and are looking great as far as playoffs right now. This team is made of star players: Alexander Ovechkin, TJ Oshie, Nicholas Backstrom, Zdeno Chara, the list continues. These names speak for themselves, but Capitals General Manager Brian Maclellan wanted to do something big on trade deadline day, and that is exactly what he did; he traded away forward Jakub Vrana, forward Richard Panik, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for forward Anthony Mantha. There is a lot to unpack with this trade. Mantha has had better seasons since entering the league, but he is a big, physical player who can protect the puck and find ways to score goals, which is exactly what he has done since playing as a Capital; he has his longest point streak this season and has found the back of the net effortlessly with Washington. As far as the former Capitals go, both Vrana and Panik will have a positive impact and will find ways to make plays as Red Wings, and for a team that sits at the bottom of the central division this season, the two also have experience playing for a playoff-bound team and will hopefully bring that energy over to Detroit for possible future seasons. Vrana scored in his Red Wings debut and is already fitting in well with the team, so in the end, no team did not benefit in this trade; it was just extreme overpay by the Capitals with the first- and second-round draft picks.

Toronto’s Deadline Action

It is no question that the Toronto Maple Leafs have a team that is built to strive in the playoffs, but when the time comes for that to happen, they can never seem to capitalize, so to prepare for the playoffs this season, Toronto made some beneficial moves to their lineup. Goaltending started as one of their worries when the absence of goalie Fredric Andersen was announced, but they seemed relieved when they put goalie Jack Campbell between the pipes and he set an NHL record for most consecutive wins to start a season, and he won 11 straight games. Despite this, Toronto wanted to build on goaltending and traded a 2022 third-round pick to the Calgary Flames in exchange for goaltender David Rittich. Another big trade that they made at the deadline involved three teams—Toronto, San Jose, and Columbus—and in this trade, they acquired former Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno and former Sharks forward Stefan Noesen in exchange for two fourth-round picks and one first-round pick. One more move that the Maple Leafs made at the deadline was they traded away a 2022 fifth-round pick to Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Ben Hutton. All the action taken by the Leafs at the deadline will benefit them in the long run, and they are building towards a more successful future in the post season.

Zajac’s New Chapter

The New York Islanders are going all in this year and are on track to make a solid run for the Stanley Cup. New York has no shortage of talent but wants to be in perfect condition come playoff time, so they made the deal with the New Jersey Devils to acquire forwards Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmeri in exchange for forwards A.J Greer and Mason Jobst, a 2021 first-ound pick and a 2022 conditional fourth-round pick. This trade shocked everyone who saw it because Zajac was not a name at all surrounding the deadline; in fact, no one saw him as even close to an option because he was on a no-trade clause, meaning he was not able to be moved, but New Jersey Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald explains that he asked Travis to waive the clause because he knows that the Cup is something that he really wants and deserves, and he thinks this could be a great opportunity for him to have that chance to win one. Switching gears to Palmeri, he came from Anaheim back in 2015 and did amazing things in his time in New Jersey. He is known as a player that can find the back of the net, and once he does, he does not miss; that energy will be very beneficial come playoff time with the Islanders. Both Travis and Kyle have already made names for themselves and are becoming assets to the lines that they play on in New York. As far as New Jersey goes with this trade, they can develop both Greer and Jobst and start them at the AHL level to build and work on their level of play. Jersey also benefits with the draft picks, and if the Islanders make the Stanley Cup finals this season, the 2022 fourth-round pick becomes a third-round pick, so in this trade, both teams add additions and have new things to work with, just a sad trade to see veteran players leave.

There were many mixed opinions on this trade and concerns about how it will affect the teams in the long run. When asked how she thought this would affect the Devils in the long run, freshman and New Jersey Devils fan Leigh Caponi responed, “Negatively. The Devils got cocky at the deadline and thought they would do well without them, but it will hurt them later on.”

When asked on how he thought the new additions will affect the Islanders come playoff time, junior and New York Islanders fan Patrick LaBarbera said, “Having the new faces slowed them down a little bit in the beginning, but now that they are getting settled in, it will be a good thing.”

And when asked how they thought the action taken by the Devils at the deadline will affect the overall energy at Prudential Center (the Devils’ home ice), a source who works for the Devils answered, “I think the fans were obviously sad to see Zajac and Palmeri go, but it is also exciting to see a lot of the younger guys get ice time. I think the fans are enjoying seeing more recent draft picks like Ty Smith, Jesper Boqvist, Michael McLeod, and mostly Devils prospect Alexander Holtz. The record might not show it, but these guys are fast and fun to watch. These fans have been loyal through the ups and downs and will always bring the energy to Prudential Center. They play a big role in our home ice advantage.”

Of course, seeing any player get traded could be a sad thing, but at the end of the day, it is part of what makes the game of hockey interesting, and who knows, maybe one of the trades made before the deadline could be what gets that team a ticket to the Stanley Cup Final!