FILE - In this Saturday, March 27, 2021 file photo, Buffalo Sabres’ Taylor Hall plays against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Boston. The Buffalo Sabres could trade 2018 MVP Hall, who signed for just this season and is a pending free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

FILE - In this Saturday, March 27, 2021 file photo, Buffalo Sabres’ Taylor Hall plays against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Boston. The Buffalo Sabres could trade 2018 MVP Hall, who signed for just this season and is a pending free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Boston Bruins acquire Taylor Hall to kick off NHL trade deadline day

Trade deadline day in the NHL has started with the Boston Bruins acquiring one of the top rentals on the market.

The banged-up Bruins landed Taylor Hall in a trade with the last-place Buffalo Sabres reached early today.

The Bruins also added checking line forward Curtis Lazar, who has missed the past six games with an upper body injury. Buffalo acquired fourth-year forward Anders Bjork and a second-round pick in a deal completed in advance of the NHL’s trade deadline.

As part of the deal, the Sabres agreed to retain half of the remainder of Hall’s one-year, US$8 million salary. The NHL’s 2018 MVP was deemed expendable by Buffalo, which is already retooling for the future beyond this season.

Hall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, has two goals and 17 assists for 19 points in 37 games, and is in the midst of a 16-game goal drought.

The Bruins are fourth in the East Division, four points ahead of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers in the race for a playoff spot.

General managers across the league have until 3 p.m. ET to make deals as they look to load up for the playoffs or rebuild for the future.

The NHL’s pandemic-shortened 56-game season has presented a number of unique challenges, including a flat salary cap and quarantine periods.

A number of players have already been moved as contenders looking to make a push but some, like Mike Hoffman, remain available.

Any player acquired by a Canadian franchise from a U.S.-based club will have to quarantine for seven days before joining their new teammates.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, who lead the North Division, made a splash yesterday by adding veteran forward Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three-team deal, and acquiring backup goalie David Rittich from the Calgary Flames.

The Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens currently occupy the division’s other three playoff spots.

Late Sunday night, the Los Angeles Kings traded forward Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a pair of conditional draft picks.

Kings vice-president and general manager Rob Blake said the franchise will have a conditional third-round selection in the 2022 NHL draft and a conditional fourth-round selection in the 2023 draft. Pittsburgh GM Ron Hextall spent seven seasons with the Kings as assistant general manager, including when they won their first Stanley Cup in 2012.

— With files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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