The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone now. The 3:00pm EST cutoff time is now behind us and the race to the postseason or to offseason moves officially begins. Sitting in sixth place in the league prior to the Monday deadline day, the Bruins lost two consecutive regulation games for the first time since mid-November. A statistic that is not preferred headed into the busiest month of the year.
With several moves made by General Manager, Don Sweeney, and company, the Boston Bruins feel they have improved their overall team for a possible deep run into the playoffs. Now whether or not the fans agree with that, is another story.
Trade #1 – February 20/2018
Boston Bruins Acquire: D Nick Holden
New York Rangers Acquire: D Robbie O’Gara, Bruins’ 2018 3rd Round Pick
Most fans expected a quiet trade deadline season for the Boston Bruins, so when news came out that Don Sweeney traded away defenceman Rob O’Gara to the Rangers for another defenceman, it came to a surprise. When the trade is broken down, it makes sense. No key roster players were dealt and a depth defender comes in. If you require a deeper analysis of the deal, CLICK HERE.
Trade Score: A
Trade #2 – February 22/2018
Boston Bruins Acquire: Panthers’ 2018 3rd Round Pick
Florida Panthers Acquire: F Frank Vatrano
Yet again, Don Sweeney makes a solid move. Not one that will be breaking news on TSN, but a move that will free up some of the roster spots taken up by the excess forwards. Frank Vatrano had high potential at one point in his career. Vatrano lit up the scoresheet during the 2015-16 AHL season with the Providence Bruins, scoring 36 goals, 55 points in 36 games that year. Although, his NHL career would fall short of that. In 108 career games with Boston, Vatrano only has 50 career points. Thus leading to him sitting in the rafters as a scratch.
In the process of dealing Vatrano, the Bruins gained back that 2018 3rd Round draft pick that they dealt two days earlier, to bring in Nick Holden. Due to Florida’s position below the Bruins in the standings, the draft pick will be higher up in the draft, even though it is still in the third round.
Trade Score: A
Trade #3 – February 25/2018
Boston Bruins Acquire: F Rick Nash
New York Rangers Acquire: F Ryan Spooner, F Matt Beleskey, D Ryan Lindgren, Bruins’ 2018 1st Round Pick, Bruins’ 2018 7th Round Pick
For Bruins fans, you either love this trade, or you hate it. Looking at it on paper, the Bruins gave the Rangers a lot of assets, including Spooner, Lindgren, and a 1st Round Pick for a player whose contract expires on July 1st. Flashback to the beginning of the 2017-18 campaign, where injuries and new rookies filled the lineup, making for a struggling team. However, once the injury bug ended and the young players gained confidence in the organization, things began to roll for the Bruins.
Boston had everything you need. A high-scoring, talented first-line, depth throughout the whole roster, four lines that worked hard on every single shift, a young blueline that improved on the nightly basis, and finally, a good starting goaltender with an above-par backup. The newfound success of the Boston Bruins came on the hands of the young players. Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, David Pastrnak, Noel Acciari, Sean Kuraly, just to name a few of the players who made an impact.
Head Coach Bruce Cassidy also found success with the younger generation of hockey players. Prior to replacing ex-Bruins HC Claude Julien behind the bench, Cassidy coached the Bruins’ AHL affiliate team – the Providence Bruins. This experience gave him the ability to appreciate young talent and utilize their potential.
All this combined created for a shock when it was announced that the Bruins traded away two picks, Ryan Spooner, and prospect Ryan Lindgren for a 33-year-old forward. Throughout the leadup to the eventual deal, Rick Nash headlined trade rumors all across the league. A former forty goal scorer could bring some scoring to a team hurting for offense. One thing about that last statement though, Boston was not hurting for offense. The B’s sat 7th in the entire league for most goals for per game as of 7:00am on February 26th, (3.20).
As with all acquisitions, it is difficult to criticize the deal without proper time to evaluate. Clearly, the management of the black and gold wanted some extra goal scoring and some leadership on the team, so they traded for Rick Nash. In the process, they did send out half of Matt Beleskey’s $3.8 million contract, as well as trading away Ryan Spooner, who although was having a good season, has a contract that expires on July 1st and there was no certainty to him wanting to return next year. The Bruins did trade away a first round pick and a defenseman prospect who played a solid game in the World Junior Championships, but Boston has a deep pipeline of valuable prospect that are arguably better than Lindgren or what we can draft with the first rounder.
Again, the move can only be evaluated after all of the involved players have played a considerable amount of games with the other club.
Side Note: Spooner tallied two assists in his Rangers debut on Sunday night, while Nash was held pointless with two shots on the net.
Trade Score at the Moment: B-
Trade #4 – February 26/2018
Boston Bruins Acquire: F Tommy Wingels
Chicago Blackhawks Acquire: Bruins’ Conditional 2019 5th Round Pick
The only trade the Bruins made today, was a deal with the Blackhawks, sending a conditional pick to them in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft for another bottom-six depth forward, Tommy Wingels. First off, what is the condition that goes along with this selection?
According to boston.com, if the Bruins manage to win one playoff round this year, or re-sign Wingels, then the pick becomes a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft. If neither situation occurs, then the selection remains in the fifth-round.
Now, me not knowledgeable enough about Wingels to give an accurate report on him coming to Boston, I asked around on FaceBook, finding out from a hardcore hockey fan, Derek Delvecchio, some information on the newest Bruin. Derek states that he has the ability to play all three forward positions and plays a heavy, physical game. Wingels has 150 hits on the season thus far, with limited time playing time with the Hawks. Bruins Network on Twitter also claims he is a great penalty-killer who can handle himself defensively.
Although, his statistics are not the best. In 57 games on the year, Tommy Wingels has 7-5-12 totals with a -10 rating. He was signed by Chicago on the first day of free agency this past year, after a stint with the Ottawa Senators this year.
Trade Score: B+
Well, that’s it! The Boston Bruins made little moves and one move that could change the team heading into the next stretch of the season and eventual postseason. Let me know in the comments what your opinions are on the deals made by the black and gold this trade season, and your predictions for the remainder of the season.
Boston now gets ready with their new lineup to face the Carolina Hurricanes, tomorrow. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST inside the TD Garden in Boston.