Around here, National Hockey League trade deadlines equate to uneventful happenings and complacent behavior. That has become the status quo around the Boston Bruins’ organization for the last several years.
To a certain extent, the “make a deal just to make a deal” mentality has never crossed the minds of the folks in the front office down at the TD Garden. To be honest, they are not wrong for feeling that way.
This year, however, things should have been a little bit different.
The Bruins lost forward Craig Cunningham to the Arizona Coyotes after they claimed him off waivers. Cunningham, 24, has played in 32 NHL games this season after making a brief two-game appearance last year. He has two goals and an assist this season. He will immediately become a serviceable player with the opportunity to grow in the desert.
With the Bruins clinging to the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference by only two points, and the Florida Panthers already making a splash by acquiring Jaromir Jagr, the B’s had no choice to bolster the team.
Let’s take a look at the moves that Boston swung before the 3pm trade deadline on Monday.
If you were rambunctious enough to stay up into the wee hours of the morning on Monday, you were made aware that the Bruins acquired Brett Connolly from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for two second-round picks. The picks will be the B’s natural 2015 pick and natural 2016 pick.
The Bruins have needed another right-handed shooting forward with skill and speed all season, but he is projected to play a bottom-six forward role on this team. Sorry folks, we all know this is not what you were expecting. Looking at it from a far, everything should work out.
Connolly, 22, has scored 12 goals with three assists in 50 games this season. He’s averaged only 11:55 of ice time per game and has scored 1.3 goals per 60 minutes during 5-on-5 play, which is the 16th-best mark in the NHL and better than anyone on the Bruins.
The former sixth overall draft pick in 2010–a draft notably famous for Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin going first and second overall–also has good size and strength at 6-foot-2, 181 pounds. He brings a high level of responsibility in the attacking zone and gives B’s head coach Claude Julien valuable versatility with his ability to play both left and right wing. With a cap hit of only $851,000 and him not becoming an unrestricted free agent for a few more years, this part of the move is of the up-most importance to the Bruins.
To close out the day, the Bruins officially ended the infamous Jordan Caron era in Beantown. They shipped him to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Maxime Talbot as the main pieces.
Caron was a former first-round pick by Boston in 2009, and he always has been an under-performer. He has posted career numbers of 12 goals and 16 assists in 134 NHL games. Labeled as a consistent minor league forward, fans in Boston have basically packed his bags for him over the last year or so.
As for Talbot, the 10-year veteran has five goals and 10 assists this season. He will provide gritty play and depth up the middle. He will also be a huge factor on the penalty kill.
So, the deadline is over and the Bruins improved their team slightly. However, they added zero defensive help and that could be costly. We can assume that they did indeed try to bolster the blue line, but there were just no takers.
Twenty games left in the regular season and the Calgary Flames are coming to town on Thursday. The home stretch is upon us and the new-look Bruins are in for a fight until the end.