The Boston Bruins acquired forward Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for forward Anders Bjork and a second-round pick. The Sabres retained 50% of Hall’s $8 million cap hit to facilitate the trade.
Bruins currently occupy the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division with 48 points in 39 games, four points ahead of the New York Rangers with three games in hand. By adding Hall, they are hoping to secure their spot in the playoffs and push through the first two rounds of the postseason in the stacked East division. As for Hall, he has played for five teams throughout his 11-year career and is joining his fourth team over the past two seasons. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Boston Adds Scoring Behind Top-Line
The Bruins’ top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak has been carrying the offensive load for the club this season. Outside of the three, Nick Ritchie is the only forward to score 10+ goals through 39 games this season.
Bruins are betting on Hall returning to his elite self from the 2017-18 season when he scored 39 goals and posted 93 points in 76 games with the New Jersey Devils and was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy. Since then, he missed most of the 2018-19 season due to knee surgery, and his production dipped the following two seasons. In 2019-20, he was traded from the Devils to the Arizona Coyotes and finished the season with 16 goals and 52 points in 65 games.
He joined the Sabres on a one-year deal last offseason and has scored two goals and posted 19 points in 37 games this season. Joining the Bruins may help the forward return to his elite scoring ways while playing with skilled players.
Adding Hall provides the team with a forward who can potentially help drive the play on the top and second line. He will likely start his time with the Bruins alongside David Krejci and Ritchie. Ritchie is having a breakout season with 20 points in 39 games so far, which puts him on pace for career highs in goals with 21 and points with 42 in an 82 game season. Krejci, meanwhile, has struggled, as he has only scored two goals but has posted 23 points. The trio may be able to provide the Bruins with a secondary punch following their dangerous top line.
Buffalo Fails to Acquire First for Hall
The Sabres acquired a second-round pick and 24-year-old Bjork. Bjork, now in his fourth NHL season, has scored two goals and posted five points through 30 games with the Bruins.
The Sabres are owners of a league-worst 10-25-6 record, which included a historic 18-game losing streak. Therefore, they will end up with a top pick in the upcoming draft. Although Hall has struggled offensively this season, the club should’ve received a first-round pick in return. Compared to trades across the league over the past few days, teams have traded their first-round pick for players of similar value to Hall. For example, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded Nick Foligno to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2021 first-round pick and a 2022 fourth-round pick. Sabres missed an opportunity to add a first-round draft pick in a disappointing season.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.