by luke servello, staff writer
The Buffalo Sabres
Can I blame the lowly Sabres who sit last in the East Division for wanting to rebuild? No, I can’t. It’s the quality of the return they got for Taylor Hall that would really irritate me if I was a Sabres fan.
Hall was signed to a one-year deal this past offseason, and despite the fact that the writing was on the wall for the Sabres’ failures this season, he was given a no-trade clause.
So, Hall controlled where he could go. It was reported by TSN’s Pierre Lebrun that the Sabres had a better offer from a Western Division team, but Hall likely vetoed the trade.
Retaining 50% of Hall’s salary and trading Curtis Lazar while only getting Anders Bjork and a second round pick is a loss for the Sabres.
While Bjork at one point looked like a promising prospect in Boston, the 24-year-old never found his footing and will try to revive his career in Buffalo.
It’s no secret that the Oilers have struggled to find success after winning five Stanley Cups in the ‘80s and ‘90s combined, largely thanks to Wayne Gretzky.
But this year, the Oilers are third in the North Division with 52 points, with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid making up one of the best tandems in the NHL.
This was the year to go out and do something to become a legitimate championship contender. Instead, all the Oilers did was acquire Dmitry Kulikov, who had two points in 38 games to go along with -4 plus/minus (granted, that came on a bad Devils team but those still aren’t the best numbers).
This was a missed opportunity for the Oilers to take the next step and become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
Foligno has been a heck of a player in the NHL for quite some time. Granted, he definitely isn’t the player he once was, but he still is a solid player who also provides great leadership.
He will have a chance to get his name on the cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who acquired him from the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he has played since the 2012-13 season. The Leafs currently sit in first place atop the North Division standings, and Foligno will now have the chance to play meaningful hockey down the stretch.
The Leafs did overpay for him, giving up a 2021 first round draft pick as well as a 2022 fourth-rounder. You could argue the Leafs aren’t a winner because of this, but Foligno certainly is, as he’s now on a better team with a better opportunity.
The Detroit Red Wings
The Wings made multiple trades, but one stuck out. They traded away winger Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals for Jakub Vrana, a first-rounder and Richard Panik, a 2022 second-rounder.
Is Mantha a good player? Yes. Will he help the Caps? Probably.
But this is a steep overpayment, and a great return for the rebuilding Red Wings, as they not only get draft picks to help them build for the future but also a productive player in Vrana.