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NHL trade deadline guides for all 31 teams: What every GM should do 

The 2021 NHL trade deadline arrives on April 12 at 3 p.m. ET. There will be teams seeking to trade players who are no longer in their rebuilding plans. There will be teams seeking to add players to complete their championship plans.

This all sounds normal, but this season’s trade season is anything but typical thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players from American franchises who are traded to Canadian teams are subject to a seven-day quarantine. The flat salary cap of $81.5 million — for this season and subsequent ones — has forced teams to retain salary on trades or seek money-in, money-out deals with other teams. The lack of any significant ticket revenue for the last year has teams looking to slash payrolls while other teams reconsider every dollar they add to theirs.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Kraken and the looming expansion draft are also affecting the trade market.

Get caught up on the players and picks in play, as well as the restrictions and potential moves for every NHL team ahead of the deadline with this comprehensive guide. Who stays? Who goes? Find out below.

Stats are collected from sites such as Natural Stat Trick, Hockey Reference and Evolving Hockey.

Note: Emily Kaplan provides the guide for the East and Central teams, while Greg Wyshynski handles the North and West clubs.

Jump to a team:


East Division

Status: Selective additions required

Players, picks in play: LW/RW Anders Bjork ($1.6 million, RFA in 2023), LW Jake DeBrusk ($3.675 million, RFA in 2022), 2021 first-round pick

What to watch: The Bruins have been on the cusp of another Stanley Cup for some time, and should go all-in before their core truly ages out. Boston GM Don Sweeney and coach Bruce Cassidy have been pretty transparent about their team’s biggest flaw, though it’s obvious for everyone to see: 5-on-5 scoring is an issue. Heck, the Bruins played their first five games against the Devils, the second-worst team in the division, without scoring a goal during 5-on-5 play. The Bruins had been hoping for more from their middle six and could dangle young-but-underperforming DeBrusk and Bjork as trade options. Returns may not be what the Bruins hope, though.

Much was made about the Bruins’ blue-line turnover this offseason — specifically, parting with stalwarts Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug. However, the young group, led by Norris Trophy candidate Charlie McAvoy, has held it together quite well. That said, the Bruins could stealthily be looking for top-four blue-line help. They’d specifically target a left-shot defenseman, and Mattias Ekholm‘s name (as well as cap hit, and extra year left on his contract) will certainly entice the Bruins’ front office, as well as fans. A wild card would be getting insurance in goal, as Tuukka Rask is dealing with a lingering injury.

What they should do: With defenseman John Moore missing the remainder of the season after March 22 hip surgery, Boston’s backup options are even thinner. However, that is not the Bruins’ most pressing need. The focus on April 12 should be all about getting scoring help, and a middle-six winger is what this team should be targeting. Taylor Hall could be brought in for as low as a second-round pick at this point, and if that’s what Buffalo ends up asking for, the Bruins shouldn’t hesitate. Hall will be supremely motivated and may do better in a second-line role at this point. Kyle Palmieri and Nick Foligno are both high-character, high-effort players who would fit in well with the Bruins’ culture.

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