NHL quiet as trade deadline passes

Zachary Brandwein, Contributing Reporter

Another NHL trade deadline has come and gone, with this one being the quietest hockey fans have experienced since the 2000 deadline. Only 17 trades were made, moving 26 players in total. The number of players traded was down from last year by over 50%, and the individual amount of trades was down 47%. This could be due to increased quarantine rules, so players like Eric Staal who were traded across the U.S.-Canada border have had to wait seven days to step back on the ice. All of the players that were expected to be dealt were traded early into the deadline, which made the day itself less entertaining than usual. Fortunately, there are always one or two general managers willing to make the unconventional trade to push themselves over the top.  Using the flat cap, many teams had to invite a third party to help afford some of the players they traded for, making the day a lot more enjoyable. Even with all these differences, the main theme remains intact: contenders bought and bottom feeders sold. Here are the biggest trades that came from the NHL trade deadline and who I think won them overall.

Taylor Hall to Boston Bruins:

This past offseason, Hall was one of the big-name free agents in the NHL. He was looking to chase a Stanley cup, so he chose to sign with the Buffalo Sabres. After having an 18-game winless streak, scoring only 2 goals and having his main co-star Jack Eichel injured for the season, it was safe to say the former league MVP was not doing so hot. Depending on how Hall does with the Bruins, this trade can go either way. At this point in time, it is looking like a big win for the Bruins, as getting a former MVP for next to nothing should be a win in anybody’s book. Although, with the way Hall has been playing this season, it may not have been enough for the Bruins to get over the hump. 

Sam Bennett to Florida Panthers:

Florida did not expect to be in the playoff picture at the deadline. Ranked third in the top heavy Central division, they are only behind last year’s Stanley Cup champion, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Carolina Hurricanes, who went to the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago. After losing their top defenseman for the season due to a broken leg, Florida decided to bolster their D corps by trading for Buffalo D man Brandon Montour. Their biggest acquisition, however, was former fourth overall pick Bennett. Similar to the Hall trade, it’s hard to judge based on prospects and picks, but as of now it seems that the Calgary Flames have come out on top. Getting more value for Bennett than the Sabers did, Hall is a huge deal and Heineman is not doing too badly for being a 19-year-old in the top Swedish league

Nick Foligno to Toronto Maple Leafs:

This is one of two three-team trades that Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen was able to orchestrate. With the cap staying flat this season, many contending teams are up against the ceiling. Kekalainen used the Sharks vacant cap space to help the Maple Leafs land Nick Foligno. In return, the sharks were compensated with a pick. San Jose is smart for joining on this deal, as Foligno’s contract is going to expire after this year. SJ was not in a contending position, so that free money was burning a hole in their pockets. Now, they have an extra selection in the upcoming draft without having to give up any players or prospects.  

David Savard to Tampa Bay Lightning:

Similar to how San Jose was involved in the Foligno deal, the Red Wings used their cap to help facilitate a deal between the other two teams. Savard went to Detroit and then to Tampa Bay, and both trades were at 50% salary retention. Knowing the reputation of their GM, Steve Yzerman and how he built the Lightning into the powerhouse they are today, this move can only be praised, especially when looking at the other trades he pulled off at the deadline. 

Anthony Mantha to Washington Capitals:

In what is being called the blockbuster of the deadline, the Washington Capitals get Anthony Mantha from Detroit. But as the famous Wario meme states: “I’ve won, but at what cost?” Anthony Mantha is a good NHL player. He has 194 points in 302 career games with the Red Wings, netting a point in 195 of 303 career games. Jakub Vrana alone has scored in 55.3% of his games. Washington then added Richard Panik, a first round pick and a second round pick next year. Anyone who follows Detroit hockey should idolize Steve Yzerman. What he can do is magical. 

Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to New York Islanders:

After captain Anders Lee went down with an injury, veteran GM Lou Lamoriello placed him on long-term injured reserve, freeing up $7 million in cap space. He chose to trade for five-time 20-goal scorer Kyle Palmieri, as well as 1,000+ game veteran Travis Zajac, while getting the Devils to retain half their salaries. The Islanders get a huge addition by not only filling a scoring need, but also bringing a playoff veteran in for a younger team with Stanley Cup aspirations. This all was for a cheaper price than Washington paid for one player. 

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