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COVID-19 cap crunch limits moves made at NHL trade deadline

The coronavirus pandemic turned the usual large number of NHL trade deadline deals into a trickle on Monday.

The moves that did take place under a flat salary cap, highlighted by Boston landing 2018 NHL MVP Taylor Hall in a trade with Buffalo, heavily benefited the buyers. And then there were the teams that got creative, acquiring draft picks to take on the payroll.

Hall was the highest-profile player to move in an otherwise dry market, and the Bruins took advantage by landing the under-performing, six-time 20-goal-scorer at a cut-rate price along with third-line forward Curtis Lazar.

Rather than getting a first-round pick in return, the Sabres acquired a second-round pick and a sparingly used forward in Anders Bjork while also agreeing to retain half of what’s left on Hall’s one-year, $8 million contract.

Hall gets a chance for a fresh start after a forgettable season with the last-place Sabres, while the banged-up Bruins upgraded their lineup in a bid to complete their late-season playoff push. Boston began the day holding the East Division’s fourth and final playoff spot, four points ahead of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh added veteran depth among the handful of notable moves by acquiring 36-year-old center Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings for a pair of conditional draft picks.

According to a person with knowledge of the trade, the Vegas Golden Knights acquired center Mattias Janmark from the Chicago Blackhawks. The latter spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been cleared by the NHL. Janmark played against the Golden Knights during the 2020 bubble playoffs with the Dallas Stars. Carl Soderberg is back for a second stint in Colorado after being acquired in a trade that sent Ryder Rolston and Josh Dickinson to Chicago forwards.

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