NHL Trade Deadline Winners And Losers: Islanders Get Better; Sabres Stay Stuck

There were more winners than losers


April 13, 2021

This year’s NHL trade deadline wasn’t as busy as in year’s past, but there still were some notable moves from the day.

Of course, the Boston Bruins acquired Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres and were able to hold on to their first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Plenty of other teams made moves, but which ones were winners and losers? Let’s take a look:

New York Islanders — The Islanders only got stronger with the additions of Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. They also added Braydon Coburn. New York didn’t need to make moves like this, but it did it and it only put the Isles in a better position to contend for the top spot in the East Division. The moves they made primed them to make a deep playoff run.

Boston Bruins — The Bruins needed help with secondary scoring, and Hall certainly should provide that. Curtis Lazar also will be a welcome addition, while Mike Reilly will provide some defensive depth to a depleted blue line. Boston has been in the playoff race all season, but it’s clear the Bruins don’t want to be left out of a run for the Stanley Cup and addressed areas of need.

Tampa Bay Lightning — Like the Islanders, the Lightning already were a strong team, but they went out and added David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets. And even though Tampa Bay had to do some fancy maneuvering with the salary cap, it’s probably going to work out in its favor down the road.

Columbus Blue Jackets — The Blue Jackets may have traded Savard, but they ended up getting a slew of draft picks — two 2021 first-round picks, a 2022 third-round pick, a 2022 fourth-round pick and a 2022 conditional seventh, to be exact. Columbus can trade those picks for a star player, or set itself up for the future. Either way, it’s a win.

Buffalo Sabres — Let’s face it: The Sabres are not good this year and even endured an 18-game losing streak. They’re dead last in the NHL’s standings and weren’t able to get a first-round pick for Hall. This is a lost season for Buffalo after Hall failed to meet expectations. Yes, he wanted to go to Boston and waived his no-trade clause, but the Bruins had a first-round pick the Sabres could have used. It’s unclear if they tried to acquire that from Don Sweeney and Co. Regardless, the Sabres aren’t winners in this situation.

Montreal Canadiens — After losing Victor Mete to the Senators on waivers, Montreal went out and traded for Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson. Is that enough? Montreal still is holding on to a playoff spot, but the Habs really needed to make a move that would help spark the team. It remains to be seen if that will happen, or if they’ll fall out of the race to compete for the Stanley Cup.

Winnipeg Jets — This team needed help on defense, and it’s fair to believe they could have made a legitimate run at Savard. The Jets did, however, trade for Jordie Benn, but there needed to be another move to help the blue line. Winnipeg boasts 2020 Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck, but he can’t carry the team without some reinforcement in front of him.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
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