The NHL's trade deadline came and went on Monday afternoon, and it was a bit tamer than the versions we've seen in previous year. A main reason for that was because a flurry of big names -- namely Kyle Palmieri, Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno and David Savard -- were moved in the days leading up to the deadline.
Still, there was still a bit of moving and shaking on Monday as teams looked ahead. The deadline offers an opportunity for teams to evaluate their current standing and make deals to improve their future, whether that future be short- or long-term. Contenders aim to add pieces that help them down the stretch run of this season, while struggling teams sell off expiring or aging players to stockpile future assets.
Below you can find some of our winners and losers and a recap of the most notable deals.
Winner: Boston Bruins
The Bruins had three glaring needs to address at the deadline: Secondary scoring, forward depth and defensive depth. They managed to address all three of those things with two separate deals -- first, trading for Mike Reilly from Ottawa and, later, landing Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar from Buffalo.
Do those moves "fix" Boston and make them a serious contender? Who knows...a lot of that will probably hinge on how healthy the defense and goaltending gets down the stretch. But even if these moves don't fundamentally alter the course of the Bruins' season, they made excellent value plays that were worth making.
They only gave up a third-round pick to bring in Reilly, who provides immediate help for a depleted and inexperienced defensive group. His left-handed shot and play-driving abilities should offer a depth upgrade for the Bruins' blue line.
They also bought low on Hall and Lazar, giving up Anders Bjork (a replacement level player who had been a healthy scratch and was seemingly on his way out of Boston anyway) and a 2nd-round pick. Hall's value has never been lower thanks to his lack of scoring in Buffalo (two goals in 37 games) but he's shooting a historically low 2.3% and the Bruins are likely banking on that regressing toward the mean with better players around him in Boston. He's a former MVP who excels at moving the puck and driving play and he should provide the Bruins with a much needed upgrade on David Krejci's wing. Lazar is arguably a better player than Bjork, especially as a depth piece.
Not having to give up a first-round pick, a major prospect or even a solidified roster piece in order to make these upgrades is a huge win for the Bruins. Strong low-risk, high-reward moves here.
Loser: Edmonton Oilers
Of the four Canadian teams that will make the playoffs this year, one of them is guaranteed to advance to the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The only one of those teams that got notably better ahead of this year's deadline was the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Oilers, who should be desperate to make some sort of run in the next few years, did nothing outside of picking up a depth defenseman in Dmitry Kulikov.
That means no help for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the two offensive monsters that have been forced to carry Edmonton in recent years. You can't be considered a serious contender without depth and the Oilers need serious help behind/alongside those guys. Once again, they've failed to provide any reinforcements and, as such, have set themselves up to inevitably waste another one of McDavid's prime years.
Winner: Taylor Hall
Well, for one, anyone who escapes Buffalo can be considered a winner. But Hall not only gets to escape the worst team in the league, he gets to go to a place where he's long wanted to play. In doing so, he has a golden opportunity to boost his offensive output, find a little redemption and potentially boost his market value ahead of free agency this offseason -- unless of course he chooses to sign in Boston long-term, which could also be considered a win for him.
Maybe most importantly: He's got an opportunity to help change the narrative attached to him. He's become a bit of a journeyman over the past few years and still has found very little team success. Fair or not, he's taken a lot of flack and blame for the lack of postseason success over his career so far. Even though I'm still not sold on the Bruins being a serious contender, Boston is still the best team that Hall has ever played for and he's got a chance to help them making a push this spring.
Winner: Maple Leafs/Nick Foligno
You can make the argument that the Maple Leafs overpaid for Foligno, especially when you consider the price that Bruins paid for Hall, and you'd probably be right. But at the end of the day the Leafs got the guy they wanted, and they got the guy that probably fits their needs best. They wanted a defensive, gritty forward to add to their bottom-six, and Foligno brings that in addition to strong character and leadership. He should make Toronto tougher to play against, especially in the postseason.
For Foligno, it's an opportunity to join a contender and make a run at a Stanley Cup. He should fit in well with the Leafs and contribute down the stretch run and, if he wants, there's an opportunity for him to return to Columbus this offseason when his contract expires.
Loser: Washington Capitals
Leading up to the final moments of the deadline, I was ready to declare the Capitals a loser due to their lack of activity outside of picking up Michael Raffl from Philly. In a tight East division race, the Islanders, Penguins and Bruins all got better leading up to the deadline while Washington stood relatively pat. Then, in the final moments of Monday afternoon's deadline rush, the Caps took their big swing. Unfortunately, it didn't take them off the losers list.
Washington sent Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 1st-round pick and a 2nd-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings for Anthony Mantha and...nothing else. Mantha is a solid player who may fit in nicely with Washington but he may not even be the best player in the deal. (There's a case to be made for Vrana.) To give up all that for Mantha is a pretty stunning deal, though TSN's Pierre LeBrun helps make some sense of it.
My guess is the Caps view this as two trades in one:— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 12, 2021
1) Panik plus a pick to relieve them of $2.75M in flap cap environment going forward with 2 more years on that contract;
2) Then Vrana plus a pick for Mantha.
Essentially, the Caps are paying out assets to save some money long term. Still, trading Vrana and a pick for Mantha seems a bit steep. Mantha does three additional years of control at $5.7 million, whereas Vrana is set to become an RFA after this season...but how much of an upgrade is he, if at all? Is it worth the additional cost of a high pick? That all depends on how well he fits in immediately.
Ultimately, Washington doesn't seem all that much better today than they were yesterday.
Loser: Deadline day
It was entirely predictable after a flurry of activity over the weekend, but this wasn't particularly the most exciting deadline day of all time. The list of potential targets was already pretty thin to begin with but several of the bigger names came off the board in the days leading up to the deadline, giving us few big splashes to anticipate on Monday. Sure, we still had some unexpected deals spice things up in the final hour, but the 17 trades made on Monday is the lowest total since 2000.
Recapping the notable moves
Capitals land Mantha from Wings
WSH gets: F Anthony Mantha
DET gets: F Richard Panik, F Jakub Vrana, 2021 1st round pick, 2022 2nd round pick
In a vacuum, this is sort of an absurd deal by the Capitals. However, they're essentially paying Detroit a draft pick to take Panik's contract off their hands while also swapping Vrana and a pick for Mantha, who is a good fit and has more control.
Panthers add Bennett
FLA: F Sam Bennett
CGY: F Emil Heineman, 2022 2nd-round pick
The Panthers are clearly going for it and Bennett gives them a veteran depth piece capable of driving play. He's an upgrade on the back end but Bennett isn't great defensively and he takes a lot of penalties, so giving up the equivalent of two 2nd-round picks (Heineman was drafted in the second round last year) seems like a bit of an overpay.
Jeff Carter heads to Pittsburgh
PIT gets: F Jeff Carter
LAK gets: 2022 conditional 3rd-round pick, 2023 conditional 4th-round pick
Nobody really expected Jeff Carter's name to be heard on Sunday but the Penguins get a versatile aging vet who may be able to help the offense with his volume shooting and his right-handed shot. He's not the impact player he once was but it's not bad value for a guy with an extra year of control and 50% salary retention.
Bruins make big splash with Hall
BOS gets: F Taylor Hall, F Curtis Lazar
BUF gets: F Anders Bjork, 2021 2nd-round pick
The Bruins get some secondary scoring help and a guy they've long pursued in Hall, plus a depth piece in Lazar. And for the cost of a second-round pick and Bjork, who has been a healthy scratch and seemingly on the outs, it's a very strong low-risk, high-reward play for Boston. Buffalo retains 50% of Hall's salary in the trade.
Maple Leafs add goaltending with Rittich
TOR gets: G David Rittich
CGY gets: 2022 3rd-round pick
Goaltending has been a point of concern for the Leafs this season and the addition of Rittich will add some insurance behind Jack Campbell, and the help comes at reasonable cost. Rittich is on the final year of his deal and the Flames will retain half of his $2.75 million salary in the deal.
Bruins get defensive help in Reilly
BOS gets: D Mike Reilly
OTT gets: 2022 3rd-round pick (BOS)
It's not the biggest splash but the Bruins are dealing with serious depth/injury issues on their blue line, so Reilly should come as a welcome addition. His left-handed shot and play-driving abilities should be able to help fill an immediate need for Boston.
Foligno goes to Leafs in three-way deal
TOR gets: F Nick Foligno, F Stefan Noesen
CBJ gets: 2021 1st-round pick (TOR), 2022 4th-round pick (TOR)
SJS gets: 2021 4th-round pick (TOR)
The Leafs get a veteran presence up front in Foligno but it costs them a first and two fourths. As part of the deal, San Jose gets a fourth-round pick from Toronto in exchange for salary retention, meaning the Maple Leafs only have to pay 25% of Foligno's cap hit/salary.
Lightning acquire Savard in three-way trade
TBL gets: D David Savard, D Brian Lashoff
CBJ gets: 2021 1st-round pick (TBL), 2022 3rd-round pick (TBL)
DET gets: 2021 4th-round pick (TBL)
The Lightning manage to make a deadline splash despite their cap situation by involving Detroit to retain 50% of Savard's salary. Tampa Bay gets some blue line reinforcement as they look to defend their Stanley Cup title this spring/summer.
Dubnyk goes to Avalanche
COL gets: G Devan Dubnyk
SJS gets: D Greg Pateryn, 2021 5th-round pick (COL)
The Avalanche have been in the market for goaltending help and Dubnyk is a veteran that may be able to help them down the stretch if he's able to revert to a better version of himself. He has struggled over the past two seasons, posting a .893 save percentage in 47 games between the Wild and Sharks.