The trade deadline has come and gone, and again Don Sweeney has made some moves regarding the Bruins roster. For the second year in a row, I believe that the moves have been to the betterment of the club. Not only do I believe the moves that the Bruins made help them in their “win-now” mode, but I also think this sets them up for other moves that are quickly approaching at seasons end. The NHL was quite busy over the trade deadline period, with some notable names going to new homes for a revived hope of chasing a Stanley Cup. Let’s dig into those who have a new chance at this push with the hometown Boston Bruins.
Cashing In On Ondrej Kase
Before we get into the player himself, this trade was a win in my books just due to the fact that the Bruins were able to relieve themselves 75% of that terrible Backes contract. I was not a fan of the Backes deal when the Bruins extended him. That proved to be the case as age has clearly shown in his game. Father time catches each athlete at different times. Although a very great player in his prime, the Bruins mistakenly paid Backes for the player that he used to be and not what he was at the time of the extension.
Jumping back to Kase, he will provide a nice uptick to the second line alongside Debrusk and Krejci. I haven’t seen too much of his game. But, I’ve gotten the chance to sit down and watch some film on him. The guy can play, and his play-making ability can easily match that of Krejci’s. And guess what, he’s only 24 years of age.
On a friendly contract, he is under the Bruins control for this year and next, which gives the Bruins time to see if this is the proper fit for both the player and black and gold. Maybe another Charlie Coyle situation arises? “He’s a good player,” said Krejci. “He can skate, he can play…he’s fast, he can score. Hopefully he’ll fit in well and help the team…met him once last year in Prague. We hung out and had a good time.” Time will tell, but the ability of this kid is there and he certainly makes the Bruins better now, even if that meant the Bruins shipping off a first round pick.
Goodbye Danton Heinen, Hello Nick Ritchie
The second domino to fall for the Bruins was the acquisition of Nick Ritchie. I like Ritchie for different reasons than Kase. To begin, I believe the comps for these players thus far in their career are about the same. In saying that, I still do believe that there is more upside to Ritchie then there is Heinen. For 2017-2018, Heinen produced his best season in the NHL with 47 points. With that being said, I see that being an anomaly to what Heinen really is and that has shown these past two seasons.
I also see Heinen as a softer player, and one that you don’t really see banging the body all too often in those messy areas. On the contrary, the 24 year old Ritchie is a big body that is willing to be physical with each and every shift. With the size addition alone, I like this move. The Bruins needed a piece similar to a Lucic stature that is willing to bully others around the ice. The added kicker: the Bruins added $1.3 million to their cap.
Setting Up Torey Krug
What do the above two cases have in common? Saving money, while enhancing the team for the near future. This includes the future of another free agent to be that has been pivotal to the success of the Bruins. Entering free agency at the end of this year at 29 years of age, Torey Krug will be entering the prime of his career. I believe the Bruins are gearing up to hand Krug a contract that’ll keep him through his prime years.
My prediction is that he signs for 4 years, which is why the moves for Kase and Ritchie play even bigger in keeping Krug. Sweeney did well again this year, and these moves should show you that this team is in “win-now” mode. I would have loved to see a huge name come to the Bruins. But inevitably, I believe it was for the better. Although the window is closing, I believe this core has another two years after this one to really chase another Stanley Cup.
Trade Deadline Grade
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-Steven Carlberg (@stevencarlberg)