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NHL Notebook: Boston Bruins free up cap room by trading Taylor Hall to Chicago Blackhawks and the latest trade board includes Edmonton Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto, Warren Foegele and Cody Ceci

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Photo credit:Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
10 months ago
The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins got together Monday to make a move to free up salary cap space for the latter.
Boston traded former Edmonton Oilers first overall draft pick Taylor Hall to Chicago as part of a four player trade. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli was first to report the deal.
Along with Hall, Chicago acquired the rights to UFA forward Nick Foligno, while Boston got back the RFA rights to Ian Mitchell, a former member of the Sherwood Park Crusaders, as well as Alec Regula.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff wrote of the deal:
Hall, 31, had been a member of the Boston Bruins since they acquired him in April 2021 leading up to the trade deadline. He was a pending UFA rental at the time but signed a four-year, $24 million contract to stay with the Bruins. He had eight goals and 14 points in 16 games after coming over in 2020-21 and delivered a strong first full season as a Bruin in 2021-22 with 20 goals and 61 points in 81 games, but he regressed this season, tallying just 16 goals and 36 points, limited to 61 games because of a lower-body injury. With Pavel Zacha forging such strong chemistry on Boston’s second line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak, Hall was mostly relegated to third-line duty on the left wing.
In moving his $6 million cap hit, the Bruins give themselves some crucial breathing room. They were squeezed against the cap because the performance bonus overages for Krejci and Patrice Bergeron dinged them for $4.5 million worth of 2023-24 cap space. It remains to be seen whether Boston, which now has close to $11 million in cap space, will attempt to re-sign left winger Tyler Bertuzzi or defenseman Dmitry Orlov. Both came over as 2023 Trade Deadline rentals and were highly effective.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, get two more seasons worth of Hall, who can now be expected to get a look in a first-line role alongside generational prospect Connor Bedard, who will be the No. 1 pick in Wednesday’s NHL Draft. Hall makes sense a mentor given he was the first overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.

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The latest big board

Seravalli also released his latest trade board ahead of the draft with Pierre-Luc Dubois at the top of the list.
Mulitple reports surfaced over the weekend that the LA Kings were believed to be hard at work with the Winnipeg Jets over acquiring the centre. That, however, could change as the Montreal Canadiens could find themselves back in the mix, Seravalli wrote. 
Over the weekend, there seemed to be a belief that Dubois had settled on Southern California and set his sights on being part of the Kings’ triumvirate of centers alongside Anze Kopitar and Philip Danault. The Kings and Winnipeg Jets have been in dialogue for weeks on Dubois, yet even with that knowledge, the two sides haven’t been able to get a deal over the finish line. That seems to have more to do with the framework of the deal than Dubois’ next contract, as we have no indication the Kings have been granted permission to negotiate with Dubois.
Without a deal, the question lingers: Does Dubois want to go home? Could he be the Canadiens’ next great Quebecois hope down the middle?
If so, the Canadiens can get in the mix, but they’ll have to be creative. They don’t have the current roster pieces the Jets crave to remain competitive. Then there is the idea that they don’t want to pay a premium to acquire a player they could sign as a free agent next summer. But there may only be so many opportunities to get your hands on a power forward at the pivot position.
Here’s a few interesting names on the top 50 list that include Oilers forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Warren Foegele, as well as defenceman Cody Ceci:
11. Brett Pesce
Right Defense, Carolina Hurricanes
Age: 28
Stats: 82 GP, 5 G, 25 A, 30 Pts
Contract: 1 more season, $4.025 million AAV
Scoop: The Hurricanes have only just begun talking with Pesce about the framework of what an extension would look like since he recently changed agents. Carolina arrives at a crossroads this summer. They’ve been one of the most consistently excellent teams in the league, but they’ve hit a wall in the Conference Final twice. Do they need to shake up the core? We know they don’t love the idea of paying market value for players and Pesce and Brady Skjei are due real raises, at the same time Sebastian Aho is in need of a new deal. The Canes have some decisions to make on the backbone of their team in their defense corps.
7. Erik Karlsson
Right Defense, San Jose Sharks
Age: 32
Stats: 82 GP, 25 G, 76 A, 101 Pts
Contract: 4 more seasons, $11.5 million AAV
Scoop: Karlsson reiterated his strong desire to go to a winner on Sunday in Nashville. Only once in NHL history has a reigning Norris Trophy winner been traded in the same summer he’s taken home the award for top defenseman: Doug Harvey (1961) going from Montreal to New York. That goes to show you how rare of a transaction this might be. It’s also incredibly complicated. Karlsson put together one of the best offensive seasons of any defenseman ever, yet his contract makes him difficult to move. Sharks GM Mike Grier will have to adjust his asking price and be willing to retain salary. It may also be now or never, because Karlsson’s value to the Sharks is never going to be higher than it is at this exact moment in time, as the first 100-point defenseman since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.
13. Kailer Yamamoto
Right Wing, Edmonton Oilers
Age: 24
Stats: 58 GP, 10 G, 15 A, 25 Pts
Contract: 1 more season, $3.1 million AAV
Scoop: The Oilers redoubled their effort to move Yamamoto over the weekend. In the worst case, Yamamoto is a buyout candidate. Just about every part of last season was a little bit “off” for Yamamoto. He didn’t seem quite right. He’s been dealing with a vestibular system issue, symptoms not all that different than a concussion, for a large chunk of the year, which also kept him out of the lineup in the early part of 2023. When he’s been healthy, Yamamoto can be an impact contributor. He collected 20 goals last season. It’s just that the Oilers will have other players to pay (see: Evan Bouchard) and limited room to make deals, making him expendable.
34. Cody Ceci
Right Defense, Edmonton Oilers
Age: 29
Stats: 80 GP, 1 G, 14 A, 15 Pts
Contract: 2 more seasons, $3.25 million AAV
Scoop: It’s fair to say that the Oilers are weighing all of their options, and one of them is shipping out Ceci to gain a little additional cap flexibility elsewhere in the lineup. They’d like to improve at third line center and also on the right wing, but don’t appear to be willing to get worse defensively in order to do that. So everything must be viewed through that prism: is trading Ceci going to make the Oilers worse off in the long run? The immediate gratification of that change may not be worth it, especially with Ceci playing reasonably well for the Oilers to this point. He doesn’t have to be moved by any stretch of the imagination. He’s just a card for Holland to play.
39. Warren Foegele
Left Wing, Edmonton Oilers
Age: 27
Stats: 67 GP, 13 G, 15 A, 28 Pts
Contract: 1 more season, $2.75 million AAV
Scoop: It’s no secret that Oilers GM Ken Holland is ready to tinker with the bottom half of his lineup, and Foegele may end up being one of the odd guys out. His cap hit isn’t exactly commensurate with his production, but it also isn’t far off. To that end, the Oilers have gotten expressions of interest from teams who see what Edmonton might be looking to accomplish, so there is a path to move him that isn’t painful. If the Oilers are going to find the flexibility to improve, it’s going to have to come by moving players such as Fogele, Yamamoto and perhaps Cody Ceci to make something happen.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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