Throughout the years, the Boston Bruins have been known for not making the best trades, enraging many fans along the way. Many of the trades have come back to haunt them, while others just made no sense whatsoever.
However, the Bruins have made some smart moves that have actually helped them succeed. One of these trades in the past decades lead to one of the greatest moments in Boston Bruins history.
JUNE 22ND, 2010
June 22nd, 2010. The Bruins’ season had come to a disappointing end. After eliminating the Buffalo Sabres in six games in round one of the 2009-2010 NHL Playoffs, they had the challenge of facing the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. They quickly took off for a 3-0 series lead, only to collapse and lose in seven games. The Flyers would then beat the Montreal Canadiens four games to one in the Eastern Conference Finals, sending them to a Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
This upsetting time lead to some trades in the off-season, making a push for another Cup run. The Bruins then made a trade with the Florida Panthers that would change the face of the team for the upcoming season.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ACQUIRE:
2010 1st Round Pick (Derek Forbert)
2011 3rd Round Pick (Kyle Rau)
BOSTON BRUINS ACQUIRE:
Prior to this trade, both players were decent players. Nathan Horton was coming off of 65-game season with 20-37-57 totals and a -1 rating. Gregory Campbell played in only sixty games, putting out 2-15-17 totals with a -5 rating.
Dennis Wideman didn’t have the best of years for the Bruins. In 76 games played, he owned a -14 rating and only thirty points (6 goals, 24 assists). On paper, the trade seemed to make sense. But at the same time, trading away a defenseman for two forwards after making it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals is a risk that may not necessarily pay off.
Boston improved as a whole unit. Improving from a record of 39-30-13, 91 points and 3rd in the then Northeast division in the 2009-2010 season, to an impressive 46-25-11, 103 points, 1st in Northeast division in the 2010-2011 season.
On the other side, the Florida Panthers worsened. In the 2009-2010 season, they had a record of 32-37-13, 77 points, and last in the Southeast division. Then in the 2010-2011 season, Florida finished with a record of 30-40-12, 72 points, and still last in the Southeast division.
Gregory Campbell improved greatly in Boston. Scoring eleven more goals and one more assist, good for twelve more points in twenty more games. Campbell also improved the team defensively, going up +17 in the +/- category, to a +11 rating.
Nathan Horton however, decreased in total points, finishing the season with 26-27-53 totals in 80 regular season games. Although, Nathan went up an impressive +30, to a +29 rating. That defensive power that both players brought to the team helped out the whole group, which lead them to the third position in the Eastern Conference standings.
On the other side of the deal, Dennis Wideman had a dismal year. Only playing in sixty-one games during the season, Wideman put up 9-24-33 totals and a -26 rating with the Panthers.
However, it wasn’t the course of the regular season that showed the largest impact. The following playoff duration was when this trade had it’s winner.
Boston opened up the series against arch-rivals, Montreal Canadiens. Montreal took the first two games in Boston, 2-0 and 3-1. Game three however, was where Boston regained momentum in the series. They won the game 4-2 on the road with goals from Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton’s first of the playoffs.
Boston would continue the momentum into game four where Michael Ryder would bury his second of the game in a 5-4 overtime win to tie up the series heading back to Boston. It would be in this pivotal game that Nathan Horton would begin his clutch playoff run with this massive double OT winner.
Montreal rebounded in game number six to tie up the series once again leading into yet another opportunity for Horton to shine when it mattered the most. Overtime again, winner advances to the second round. Here’s the result.
So, the Bruins move on to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers with a chance for redemption from the previous year’s loss to the Flyers.
Game one was a dominating performance at home for the black and gold, winning 7-3 including a goal from both Horton and Campbell. Boston took game two in overtime, game three 5-1 and game four 5-1 to complete the sweep. Horton added 2-5-7 in the four games, proving that he can pass as well as score. Gregory Campbell also put out 1-2-3 totals in the series.
This eventually lead to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The series was extremely close the whole way through. Tampa Bay won the first game, Boston took the second game. Boston won the third game, the Lightning won the fourth. The B’s came out victorious in the fifth game, while Tampa forced game six with a 5-4 win. All of that eventually lead to one of the closest game sevens in a long time. Boston took a narrow victory, 1-0 the final score. Mr. Clutch, Nathan Horton won the game with this goal with 7:33 left in the final period.
So, the Boston Bruins advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in twenty-one years and prepare to battle the Vancouver Canucks, who just happened to be the best team in the league during the regular season.
Boston didn’t start the series as they probably would have liked. Losing games one and two, heading back to Vancouver down two games to zero. Then in game three, roughly five minutes into the opening period, the man who came up clutch during the entire post-season, Nathan Horton was nailed unconscious by Vancouver’s Aaron Rome. Below is the hit that rattled the Bruins fan base and the team itself.
Having this happen on home ice and to one of the best players on the team, this intensified the series massively. Boston seemed to gain a fire underneath them in a way to get that ring for Horton. The black and gold would obliterate the Canucks that night, winning 8-1. Also including a game four 4-0 win and a game six 5-2 win, the Bruins were going back to Vancouver for a game seven to remember.
Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each buried the puck twice on goaltender Roberto Luongo and the Boston Bruins would become the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions, for Nathan Horton.
Campbell played in all seven games that series, putting only one point on the board, but was there for some key penalty kills and other scenarios that are often looked over.
Nathan Horton finished the playoffs with twenty-one games played with 8-9-17 totals and a +11 rating. Gregory Campbell finished with four points in twenty-five games.
I think it’s safe to say that the Bruins won this deal, even though Horton would only play in 89 more games as a Bruin. Campbell quickly became one of the toughest Bruins on the roster, playing in 278 regular season games and 34 playoff games following the Cup winning season.
When many Bruins fans think about Greg Campbell, they associate him with the blocked shot that broke his leg. To many people’s surprise, he continued and finished the shift, preventing scoring opportunities from the opposition.
Campbell has since retired from playing in the National Hockey League, joining the Columbus Blue Jackets’ developmental team. However, he will always be a Bruin in the hearts of Boston’s fans.
Horton hasn’t officially retired from his hockey days, however, his playing career is most likely over after a surgery to his back.
Thank you for reading this article. If you think another trade was better in the past seven years, let me know. Stay tuned to The Real Bruins Blog for more Bruins news as the off season is in full force.