Notable NHL Trades – July 23, 2021

by | Jul 23, 2021 | News, NHL, Rumors | 52 comments

A list of the noteworthy trades that took place leading up to, and including the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft along with my hot take on each. I will update this throughout the evening.

The Columbus Blue Jackets trade defenseman Seth Jones, the final pick in the first round of the 2021 draft (32nd overall) and a sixth-round pick in 2022 to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Adam Boqvist, a first-round pick in 2021 (12th overall), a second-round pick in 2021 and a first-round pick in 2022. If the latter pick is top-two, it becomes a 2023 first-rounder.

Jones also signs an eight-year contract extension with the Blackhawks worth an annual average value of $9.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t say I’m surprised that Jones wound up in Chicago. The Blackhawks were among the early suitors and really wanted to bolster their defense, especially after shipping Duncan Keith to Edmonton earlier this month.

What I am surprised by is the shock on social media that Jones got that expensive contract extension. Folks, if I’ve said it once, I said it a thousand times: never underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to spend too much on talent. Even under a flattened salary cap, some just can’t help themselves.

Some believe this is a lousy deal for the Blackhawks, pointing to the decline in Jones’ play over the past year, or the drop in his offensive numbers over the last two years. I believe Jones’ play suffered last season because the Blue Jackets were falling apart. Maybe the reason behind the decline in his production was playing for a club with a popgun offense.

Jones is 26, still in his playing prime, with a contract taking him up to age 35, skating for a team with a lot more talent than the one he just left. True, the Blackhawks are rebuilding, but they’ve got a mix of established and promising talent. Adding Jones to their lineup could help him regain his form and accelerate their rebuild.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, got the best return they could for a player who wasn’t going to re-sign with them before next season. Boqvist, 20, is coming off his NHL sophomore season. He’s a promising offensive blueliner who could be very effective on the Blue Jackets power play.

Landing the Blackhawks’ first-rounder while giving up the 32nd selection still gives the Jackets three selections in that round. They’re in a good position to land some promising prospects as they commence their rebuild in earnest this summer.

The Arizona Coyotes trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and winger Conor Garland to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for winger Loui Eriksson, winger Antoine Roussel, center Jay Beagle, the Canucks first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2021 NHL draft, their second-rounder in 2022 and a seventh-rounder in 2023. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be the blockbuster of the day. The Canucks were one of just two teams Ekman-Larsson was willing to waive his no-movement clause for when the Coyotes tried to trade him last October. The two sides ran out of time to hammer out a deal before the blueliner’s deadline on Oct. 9.

Ekman-Larsson’s performance has declined over the past three seasons. The Canucks are betting he’ll regain his form on a promising team in Vancouver. The Coyotes retained 12 percent of his $8.25 million annual salary-cap hit but that could still be an expensive gamble with six years remaining on his contract at $7.26 million per season.

Garland, 25, is coming off back-to-back 39-point performances and should provide a boost to the Canucks’ secondary scoring. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights, he was pursued by several clubs in recent weeks.

The Canucks tried shedding Eriksson’s $6 million cap hit for the past two years. They’re finally rid of it when there’s just one year remaining. Beagle has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $3 million. There was speculation he could miss 2021-22 with an undisclosed injury. Roussel also has a year left on his deal with a cap hit of $3 million. The Coyotes could use the physical winger as a trade chip at next year’s trade deadline. 

For the Coyotes, the real prize was that first-round pick. They forfeited theirs for violating 2020 Draft Combine rules under former general manager John Chayka. Current GM Bill Armstrong was willing to eat the remaining year on Eriksson’s and Beagle’s contracts to get a top-10 pick.

Canucks GM Jim Benning is getting roasted on social media for this move. If Ekman-Larsson improves in Vancouver and Garland bolsters their scoring he’ll come out of this smelling like a rose. If not, he’ll be smelling of something rather unpleasant.

The Buffalo Sabres trade defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Robert Hagg, a first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher continues to shore up his defense after acquiring Ryan Ellis last Saturday from the Nashville Predators. Expect Ristolainen to slot in behind Ellis as their second-pairing right-side defenseman. 

The Sabres begin what appears to be another rebuild. Ristolainen’s been a fixture in the rumor mill for a couple of years now. Prying a 13th overall pick from the Flyers was quite a coup by GM Kevyn Adams, especially for a player who’s slated to become a UFA next summer. Flyers fans are taking to social media expressing their unhappiness with Fletcher for parting with that pick for Ristolainen. 

The New York Rangers trade right wing Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues for winger Sammy Blais and a second-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could set the table for the Blues to trade Vladimir Tarasenko. It could also set the stage for the Rangers to make their much-rumored deal for Sabres center Jack Eichel. Or, it could simply be the Blueshirts being unwilling to invest too much for too long in Buchnevich when they’ve got two key players to re-sign next summer in Mika Zibanejad and 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks believed the Rangers had to bring in another physical winger to skate on the third line with recently-signed Barclay Goodrow. Blais will fill that role at an affordable cap hit of $1.5 million. 


  1. Drury kind of had no choice. if cup contender he gets signed. since they are NOT he needs space for everyone else and more playing time in the top 6 for the young kids.

    perhaps Chtyl is moving to 1rw or 2rw and Kakko goes up too.

    • Just a terrible trade by drury! Just as bad of an overpayment as philly for rasmus

      • I would have liked a 1st but they waitied too long on trading Buch.

    • Drury not moving players to give kids playing time. They’re looking to start winning. This trade is nothing more than gaining cap space. Should’ve got a better return. With Strome also rumored on way out, have to figure there’s a bigger trade coming.

      • With goodrow at 3c chtyl will need 2rw or 1rw to get playing time so it is part of the consideration alongside with the cap space created. If chtyle is moved for Eichel then no worries

  2. Flyers’ D starting to take shape. Good addition – and a 13th pick in a draft year where most Major Junior picks will be real crap shoots is not too costly.

    • @ George O…. I agree with you that the Flyers defense is taking shape. The goal was to improve their roster and they have.

      Don’t you think they gave up a lot for Risto ?

      • Black gold that was a huge over payment by philly! Risto is big but not really a shutdown guy

      • In a normal draft year, maybe, but as I say, other than U.S. college and Europeans who at least played some to show their developing talents, when it comes to Major Junior in Canada, much of the assessment will be based on their performances when they were all a year younger and still developing. I’m not sure about the USHL – did they play at all this past season?

        Ristolainen will be a solid addition that they weren’t going to get for sure with that 13th pick, and the crap shoot gets even more pronounced in the 2nd round.

      • Besides, there were a clutch of teams interested in both Ristolainen and Ellis – they apparently weren’t interested in giving the other GM what he needed to make the move – Philly did. A lot of the criticism coming out now can be construed as sour grapes by those whose teams were rumored to be in the hunt for both.

        We’ll see who was right when next season rolls around.

    • agreed Philly D much improved with veteran responsible defensemen.

  3. Flyers have now traded a 2021 1st, 2022 2nd, 2023 2nd, 2022 7th, Gostibehere, Myers, and Patrick to get Ellis and Ristolainen…

    • @ SCJ

      I think what the Flyers are doing is extremely productive !

      Patrick was someone they should have moved a year + ago…. but didn’t and it cost them man games at that position and at the roster where they should have had a better player playing real games for them ….so he will not be missed an upgrade there all ready !

      as we have all seen Defence is the new BLACK in the NHL over the past 3seasons …especially this year …

      Flyers now have a point guy in Ellis who can play ANY combination up and down the line up and top 4 …which in turn should give them more goals on the PP …where they were lacking …
      Risto and Sanhiem along with Provorov are a real high quality shut down on any combo insulate Hart who needs it badly

      …great mix of players who have experience NOW and can handle the work load ..all of those draft picks are at least 4 plus years away

      I think Risto on the right team in the right blend in the top 4 is a great get by Fletcher ….in the last 2 trades he gave away nothing that really would be of impact over the next 3 years minimum…and gave himself 2 TOP 4 D to add to the core that is on par with the top echelon of the top 10 to 15 teams in the league now …where it was not before these deals

      …Ellis is a really high quality high IQ D man ..for his size ..Risto will shut down guys and take no BS …Sanheim is on the cusp of breaking out in a big way and Provorov is knocking on the door as a legit top #1 D man who can run a back end in the right mix…combine that and HOPE that Hart can get over his freshman blues…like Carey price did when he was young and they just have to hope for some more offensive production to get them leads in games and not play from behind and they should be right in the top 3 division mix that has aged over the past 3 years

      You have to shut down these teams in the Metro Division …by beefing up and getting more mobile D core which they have now …

      Carolina Hurricanes
      Columbus Blue Jackets
      New Jersey Devils
      New York Islanders
      New York Rangers
      Philadelphia Flyers
      Pittsburgh Penguins
      Washington Capitals

    • you are forgetting the much needed cap relief which is much more important when you figure Chuck needs to sign two goalies and re-up Sanheim

  4. Vancouver trade much worse than Philly trade both are horrible over payment but knuckleheads is a scratcher

  5. From what I read from Friedman… he’s saying this deal is about to happen

    OEL and Garland for

    Beagle Erickson Rousell and ‘Nucks 1st (9th overall)

    If so…. They are absolutely clearing the ship

    Why not retain 50% of Phil…. Low 2nd of high first

    Move Keumper in a 3 way with Vegas and Pens…

    Yotes retain 50% on Keumper ; 50 % on Phil; and 50% on MAF on the to-through; and 50% on Zucker on the to-through

    Pens get MAF at $3.5 M Cap hit; NJ’s 2nd rounder (‘21…35th overall); Smith; net $2.5 M in Cap space; seriously improves goaltending; Smith much > Zucker

    Knights Get Keumper at $2.25 M; Zucker at $2.75 M; Phil @ $3.4 M; $3.6 M in Cap savings

    Yotes get

    De Smith
    Knights 1st (‘21)
    Pens 2nd rounder(‘21)
    Pen’s 2nd rounder (‘23)

    • someone is going to owe ARZ a few more 1st rd picks for retaining salary there in those proposals Pengy

    • Peggy every deal you put out has Zucker in it with value maybcost min 1 second probably more just to rid that contract

      • I have to have something to dream about… LOL

        If I don’t and I conclude Zucker stays…. So little space to even attempt to replace McC and Turbo… bad thoughts (missing playoffs) start to creep in

    • Seth Jones to the Blackhawks 7 years @ $9.5 million.. Blackhawks $30.5 million investing in 3 players Toews, Kane, and now Seth Jones..

      @Big bad Bruins oh you are right they did overpay for Risto..Flyers just want to better there defense…..they don’t seem to care about Patrick and Myers.

      • There’s method to the Blackhawks madness. It’s $6.875 million in LTIR space (Seabrook) for the first two years of Jones’ new contract. And don’t forget, Toews and Kane’s deal expire in 2023. If one or both re-sign it’ll be for much less than their current AAVs.

    • Pengy – I believe there is a limit to the amount of retained salary transactions a team can have on the books at one time.

      Oh, and you’re stuck with Zucker. Sorry. No one wants him, and definitely no one wants to retain salary on a different contract to get him.

  6. You want good developed established players now you have to be willing to cough up.

    • The Risto deal will be a steal if he signs an extension at a reasonable price if he doesn’t?
      Expensive rental.

      Holland was rumored to be in on it, doesn’t like giving up firsts for rentals. Plus he has some quality young guys coming he can’t block and need a chance but full time minutes are risky if you want to contend. Not sure what he does… Can’t see him doing nothing.

      Proven D are costing a fortune right now. Savard will have multiple options, so he won’t be cheap.

      Good year to be a UFA D.

    • Frigging brutal trade from benning. Man for a guy who’s one saving grace is his drafting he trades a lot of draft picks to take more anchor contracts

  7. And Sweeney/Neely sleep … both spotted in Chatham on Cape Cod

    • Seth Jones to Chicago

    • Just signed Hall to a 4 yr 6 mill deal sleeping nothing

  8. Hall signs 4 times 6 be happy Boston didn’t make those deals they were bad bad. Hall at 6 is good good good

  9. Not sure how you could roast Benning. Got a top 4 d man with new salary is only slightly overpriced. A middle six winger. This by dumping three onerous contracts. They gave up a first.

    How much does it cost to move money and bad contracts? Look at Ladd and ghost. And he got two good assets and dumped three bad ones for a 1st a second and a 7th? Wow.

    • The term on OEL’s contract is huge. On the surface this looks like a short sighted move by benning. Who knows how it plays out but it look awful today

      • It looks amazing today. It’s the long term that could play out poor.

    • I got your back on this one, Chrisms, social media critics be damned!

      I felt the same way as you when I heard this. Risky, you bet. But it is also exciting now and not a waiting game. I’m ok with the risk for the potential reward and at least this got my hopes up for the playoffs!

  10. If I’m Arizona I’m tearing down to build back up for 2024-25 in anticipation of Auston Matthews being UFA. 100% that should be their plan and the deal today reflects that…

  11. Jones signs extension. 7 years. 9.5m per. Wooowww

    • Nurse is smiling today.

      • Yes.. The Nurse is very happy

  12. 9.5 mill a year for 7 for Jones? To quote Jacobim Mugatu “I feel like i’m taking crazy pills or something” He’s good. very good. But he’d better be very very scary good for that price for that long… NHL salaries are goin up faster than southern Ontario real estate prices!

    • Ya I hear 8 yr 9.5 is crazy. Going to regret that sooner than they think

  13. Poor André Tourigny, did he know he was signing up for this?

    • He’s like the Skipper Lou Brown in Major League… “Hey Andre – make it look like we’re trying to win but if you do you’re fired…” LOL

    • lol , had a good chuckle on that one habsfan

  14. Hmmmm didn’t someone here say that Jones was going to Chicago about a week ago?

  15. Still think Holland got fleeced on the Keith deal. Why would you give up so much to get a 38 year old guy that doesn’t wanna play anywhere else but for you? And the team moving him is motivated to get rid of his contract… Both those scenarios play into you having the upper hand… Chicago fans LOVE Holland today…

    • I keep saying it – CHI wasn’t trying to move Keith. Simply not accurate..
      He wanted to play out west, CHI made it work.
      They gave up their 7th D (didn’t play a minute in the playoffs) and was getting pushed out of that role by younger better players, and a 3rd. For a 2nd pair D.

      Seems like a steal today.

  16. Ranger trade is a joke.
    1st line winger hitting prime for a 4th plugger and a 2nd…
    not even a center prospect which is needed

    seems bizarre this was top offer

    • It’s a good return on a middle six winger who mighta fancied himself a 1st line winger pay wise soon enough.

      • Buch fed Zib
        breaking that up is a tough one
        the return just needed to be more

        stl is dancing

  17. Jones is a stud. Being saying it for weeks. Behind E Karlsson and Doughty now in D cap hit. I think better value

    Benning got rid of Ericksson . Many said including me that it could be done. Look at the bright side

  18. Roasting benning because he deserves it a first a second a seventh to take on a clearly declining overpaid defence man whose contract is gonna look even worse for the last 3 years. If Luke Hughes is available at 9th oh man. Also we would have been rid of those 3 contracts next year anyways. And we need to re up Hughes and Peterson.

  19. Oh and forgot to mention that either us or Boston was the only team he would be traded too.

  20. As always Sweeney sits on his hands. Hall could have gone for little less, draft choice never heard of him. Missed out on OEL & Garland. Always the jilted bridesmaid when it comes to trades and free agents. I’m confident unless Sweeney makes a big dip in the trade market & free agency he’s history,