Monday, April 12, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Bruins steal Hall


 

       The Boston Bruins have acquired forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for forward Anders Bjork and a second round draft pick. 

The Taylor Hall sweepstakes are finally over, as the real winner is obviously the player who gets to leave the tire fire that is the 2020-21 Sabres. Hall emulated that best, as while he made a positive offensive impact, he could not score to save his life, with a 2.3 shooting percentage. Even with that shooting percentage, he is an above-average winger who will definitely improve the Boston offense. Hall has had a really rough past three years after winning the Hart Trophy in 2017-18. Injuries have played a part, but Hall has scored just 29 goals in 135 games over that stretch. The pending UFA will only have a $4 million cap hit for the Bruins, who also get Lazar in this trade. A bottom six defensive forward at best, Lazar has been on injured reserve since the first of April. He is currently considered week-to-week, and upon his return gives depth and physicality to the Bruins lineup. Unlike Hall, Lazar is under contract for next year, with an $800k cap hit. He becomes an unrestricted free agent afterwards. Lazar and Bjork cancel each other out in value terms, so Hall for a second round pick is basically the trade in value terms. That is amazing for the Bruins, considering Columbus got more than a first round pick for Nick Foligno and David Savard each, and the Devils got a first for Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. 

Hall, 29, has scored just two goals with 17 assists for 19 points in 37 games for the Sabres this year. In his NHL career for Buffalo, the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes, Hall has scored 220 goals with 362 assists for 582 points in 664 games. 

Lazar, 27, has scored five goals with four assists for nine points in 33 games for Buffalo this year. In his NHL career for the Sabres, Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators, Lazar has scored 25 goals with 45 assists for 70 points in 317 games. 

The Sabres had so much time to pull off a trade, and after the Foligno trade, Hall's value should have skyrocketed. The end result means that it didn't. Sabres GM Kevyn Adams had to hit big with this trade, and he instead fell flat. Hall probably should have been worth a second rounder given his production this year, but to not get more is disappointing. They do exchange Lazar for Bjork, but the players are not too different. Bjork has been given playing time for the past four years, and the former fifth round pick has failed to capitalize. He is still young, but if you can't score in Boston, Buffalo shouldn't be too much better. His contract situation is not great for the team, as Bjork has two additional years worth $1.6 million after 2020-21, and he is still a restricted free agent afterwards. 

Bjork, 24, has scored two goals with three assists for five points in 30 games for the Bruins this year. In his NHL career, all for Boston, Bjork has scored 16 goals with 23 assists for 39 points in 138 games. 

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