BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams's first trade deadline has come and gone. After making three other moves leading up to deadline day, his biggest was sending forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar to the Boston Bruins.
Both forwards were introduced to Boston's media earlier today. And Adams gave his perspective on the deadline, the return for Hall & Lazar, and what lies ahead for Buffalo.
Five Takeaways following this year's trade deadline:
Forcing the Matter
"As you get down to the wire in negotiations, the number gets narrowed down quickly on who can make a deal like that work, and then ultimately it's in the player's control where they want to go," Adams said. "You're negotiating and you're doing your best for the organization when you're with one team."
I can't imagine being a GM at a trade deadline is easy. Especially for the first time. The collective thought of the return the Sabres got for Taylor Hall isn't exactly a good one. But Adams pretty much had a hand tied behind his back because Taylor Hall could dictate where he wanted to go.
"Boston was basically number one on the list of teams I wanted to go to," Hall said. "I wanted to play for a chance to win a Stanley Cup and he worked it out to a team that I really wanted to go to."
Hall would clearly only waive his no-move clause for certain teams. And as the market unfolded, and players like Jeff Carter and Braydon Coburn made their way to other contenders, the pool became more and more limited. It's not what Buffalo was hoping for out of the blockbuster. But Hall forced the matter; it's not completely Adams's fault.
Beantown At Last
"I was ready to come to Boston," Taylor Hall said. "It didn't work out, and I had to choose between some other options. But I've always had a ton of respect for the Bruins organization and the city of Boston."
Whatever didn't work out between Hall and Boston in the fall, it's clearly been rectified. Then again, his winter and spring with the Sabres didn't exactly work out, either. The Bruins were a front runner to land hall before he signed with the Sabres. Hall also expressed interest in being in Boston for "a few years." Picking your own destination certainly helps.
"[Hall] said "I want to play for the Boston Bruins. And that's a right he had," Adams said. "I understand that. They're a good hockey team and they've been a good team with good players for years. So I get why he said that."
Many players dealt at the trade deadline this season will have to wait until next season to have a revenge game. And that's assuming pending free agents stay with the same team to which they were traded. But all parties involved in the Boston trade will see each other plenty.
"You look at the way they're playing now, it's very exciting, especially last night in [Philadelphia]," newly acquired Bruins forward Curtis Lazar said. "They have a very bright future with all those young guys that are playing the right way right now. And you can see that confidence growing. Saying that, I look forward to sticking it to them tomorrow and next week."
And the week after that. And probably the week after that. The Sabres and Bruins still have six of their eight games left on the schedule to close out the season. Hall and Lazar both drove to Boston and, at the discretion of Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy, could play tomorrow night.
Another Project for Granato
The aforementioned young guys playing well have only been playing well since Don Granato took over as the interim head coach. The Asplund-Mittelstadt-Thompson line has been a welcome surprise over the last few weeks. It sounds like newly acquired Sabre Anders Bjork could also benefit from Granato's restorative coaching.
"He's got speed, he's got compete, and we see an offensive upside chanced with a role that could expand on our team. So he's a guy that we identified and liked what he brought," Adams said. "For us, that was something that was important."
Adams and the Sabres' scouting staff haven't seen much of him lately, though: Bjork had been out of Boston's lineup since April 3rd. He only has two goals and three assists through 30 games played this season. But Granato's apparent ability to resurrect the play of a seemingly broken or busted prospect is a part of what could lead to him being kept around.
"From the beginning, I've always felt that [Granato] should be a part of this," Adams said. "He's a great hockey guy, he's a great person, and I think the players do have a lot of respect for him and that can go a long way as well."
Adding to the stockpile
If the Sabres were in "buy" mode a few years ago, or even a few months ago, you wouldn't know it if you looked at their draft capital. Every trade that Kevyn Adams has made since the season began has involved at least one draft pick. And that was by design.
"One takeaway that I had last year from the short time preparing for the draft is that it's tough to go into the draft shorthanded... draft picks are currency," Adams said. "Once our team got to the point where we weren't where we needed to be in the standings, there was a clear pivot."
Adams only had five picks for his first NHL Draft in 2020. He'll have double that in a couple months. While they won't all be Buffalo's own picks, the Sabres have at least one pick in each round; they have two picks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th rounds.
The first two picks of his tenure were forwards Jack Quinn and John-Jason Peterka. Quinn has 2 goals and 5 assists in 13 games played for the Rochester Americans, while Peterka has 7 goals and 10 assists in 27 games played in the top pro league in Germany. The 2021 NHL Draft will begin on July 23rd.