Looking back at the winners from NHL trade deadline

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Now that the 2020-21 NHL regular season is wrapping up and we are exactly one month removed from the trade deadline, we wanted to take a look back and revisit some of the big winners from that day and the players that have made the biggest impact.

We always like to immediately grade those deals but you never really know how they are going to work out until you actually see the players on their new teams.

So let’s check in and see who ended up finding the right fits.

Boston gets two steals

There were a lot of reasons to like what the Bruins did at the deadline with the additions of Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, and Mike Reilly, solving two of their biggest holes (depth scoring on depth on defense) without giving up anything of any major significance.

The biggest trade was obviously the one that sent Anders Bjork and a second-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for Hall and Lazar.

It has been the most impactful trade any team made.

At the time of the trade Hall was struggling through the worst offensive season of his career, while his value plummeted to an all-time low. He was actually a bit of a polarizing player at the time. On one hand there was a belief that he simply may no longer be an impact player and that Boston may not be getting what it hoped. But there was also the thought that Hall was a talented player stuck in a bad situation, on a bad team, and getting crushed by an unsustainably low shooting percentage.

It turned out to be the latter.

[Related: Taylor Hall, Bruins enter playoffs peaking at right time]

Since joining the Bruins Hall has been a star re-born and helped solidify their second line.

Individually, he scored eight goals and six assists (14 total points) in 16 games and found an immediate chemistry alongside David Krejci and Craig Smith. When that line was on the ice during 5-on-5 play the Bruins controlled more than 65% of the total shot attempts, scoring chances, high-danger scoring chances, and expected goals, while also owning a 13-1 goals advantage. With Hall on the ice, regardless of linemates, the Bruins outscored teams by a 15-1 margin.

Along with his offensive impact he also earned praise from the Bruins coaching staff for his defensive play. With him now in the mix the Bruins go into the playoffs with two elite scoring lines and a significantly deeper lineup than they had before the trade.

[2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule]

Meanwhile, Reilly has been just as big of a steal on defense and helped solidify their blue line. He has posted dominant possession and defensive metrics in his 15 games, while also adding seven assists.

Given that all three players only cost the Bruins Bjork, a second-round pick, and a seventh-round pick, nobody did better at the trade deadline.

Jeff Carter still has it

The Penguins are another East Division team that hit a home run at the deadline with the addition of Jeff Carter from the Kings.

From the moment he arrived in Pittsburgh he has not only been a perfect fit, he seems to have jumped in a time machine and rediscovered his 2012 form. He scored nine goals in the 14 regular season games (including a four-goal game) and has helped form what should be an outstanding third line for the Penguins alongside Jared McCann. This Penguins team has proven to be deeper and far more balanced than almost any other team in the Sidney CrosbyEvgeni MalkinKris Letang era, and with Carter now centering the third line they go into the playoffs with one of the best forward lineups in the league.

Change of scenery has been great for Sam Bennett

Perhaps the most surprising success story has been Sam Bennett with the Panthers.

In 52 games a year he scored eight goals with four assists for Calgary.

During his first 38 games this season he had four goals and eight assists for the Flames.

In his 10 games with the Panthers after being acquired for a prospect and a second-round pick? He has six goals and nine assists (15 points), already topping his offensive totals from the past two years with the Flames.

It is another home run for a Panthers team that has made all of the right moves after the past few months. Bennett joins Carter Verhaeghe, Patric Hornqvist, and Alexander Wennberg as significant additions since the beginning of the offseason that have completely transformed their lineup into a Stanley Cup contender.

[NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes on top; Beware of Lightning]

The Mantha-Vrana trade

This was always the most fascinating trade at the deadline because it came out of nowhere and seemed like a win for everybody involved.

The Capitals got an outstanding power forward signed long-term, the Red Wings got an exciting player that needed a fresh start and some long-term assets to help their rebuild, Vrana gets a situation to get an increased role, and Mantha gets to play for a contender.

Vrana immediately brought excitement to a Red Wings lineup that badly needed it (he and Carter were both trade deadline acquisitions that scored four goals in a single game after their trades), while Mantha has been a great fit in Washington’s lineup.

Mantha had eight points in 13 games for the Capitals, while Vrana averaged a point per game over his first 11 games in Detroit.

Edmonton’s under-the-radar upgrade

I hated Edmonton’s approach at the trade deadline, mainly due to Ken Holland’s comment about not being able to go all in every year and having to pick and choose your spots. Every year that you have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl is a year that you have to go all in. Otherwise, what are we even doing here?

But even though the Oilers did not make a big splash, they did still find a solid upgrade on defense in Dmitry Kulikov. He has not provided much in the way of offense, but he has been sensational defensively and a total lockdown player on the blue line. It is only eight games, but his defensive metrics are better than any player on the Oilers when it comes to the team limiting shot attempts, chances, and goals with him on the ice.

Great addition for the small price of a fourth-round pick.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.