NHL GMs woke up Friday morning, just a few hours before the 2021 NHL Draft was set to begin, and said, “Alrighty, let’s make a deal.”
With a flat cap and free agency on the horizon, the moves have started to come fast and furious, and all before the draft itself gets going.
Sporting News is keeping track of the latest rumors, trades and picks, as well as handing out some grades, as it all goes down July 23 and 24.
NHL Draft tracker 2021
(All times are Eastern)
5:24 p.m. — The first blockbuster deal.
Okay…OEL and Garland for Beagle, Eriksson, Roussel a 1st tonight, a 2nd (next year) and a 7th. ARIZ retains 12 per cent of OEL salary
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 23, 2021
4:15 p.m. — The flat cap strikes.
Rangers grade: B-
Blues grade: B+
Buchnevich is coming off a year where he potted 48 points in 54 games, but as a restricted free agent he’s surely set for a salary raise. He’ll be a good addition to the Blues’ top six, especially if they do indeed move Vladimir Tarasenko. As for the Rangers, new GM Chris Drury has revamped the team’s third line — and added some much-needed grit with the acquisition and signing of Barclay Goodrow and now Blais.
|July 23||Blues||Pavel Buchnevich (F)||Rangers||Sammy Blais (F), 2022 second-round pick|
2:15 p.m. — The first move of the day.
Sabres grade: B+
Flyers grade: D-
The Flyers overpaid for a guy who has struggled in recent years and has a big cap hit of $5.4 million. It wasn’t a secret that the Sabres wanted to get rid of Ristolainen and the Flyers wanted to revamp their D, but this one is a head-scratcher for GM Chuck Fletcher, who before the trade freeze made the smart move of adding Ryan Ellis.
|July 23||Sabres||Robert Hagg (D), 2021 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick||Flyers||Rasmus Ristolainen (D)|