Another week, another league trading deadline. The NHL’s is Wednesday at 3:00 pm. So we ask the same question: Will the Bruins do anything?
Kind of a different situation for them than the Celtics. Where everyone under the sun wanted the C’s to make moves, even a minor one, I am not sure anyone wants the Bruins to make a move at all.
For a couple of reasons:
- The team is 7-1 under “interim” head coach Bruce Cassidy. Why would you mess with any momentum now?
- This team does not seem like Stanley Cup Championship timber, so why trade prospects and/or picks for what would probably amount to just rental players for this playoff push?
You can count the Blowhard among the second group. The team has certainly been playing better under Cassidy. The momentum is nice. But if you have a chance to improve your team, especially for a long Cup run, you absolutely have to do it. So I think that the people who fall under the first group shouldn’t really get hung up on any positive momentum swing. A team could lose that momentum in a hurry. Then you are just left with the same players that were fairly average before the coaching change. Probably not ideal.
The fact remains that this team is not winning a Stanley Cup this year. Not even with adding one, two or three players at the deadline. Sure, any goalie can get hot and then a team can roll during playoff season. Can’t say that hasn’t happened before. But honestly, even with the new coach and his record, does this team give you any sense they can go on a run like that?
The Bruins waited faaaaaar too long to fire Claude Julien. That much is absolutely true and we all know that. Maybe if they did it around New Year’s, we would be talking about adding players for a Cup run. Maybe this streak under Cassidy is just an aberration and an expected uptick in effort and results in the immediate aftermath of a coaching change. But perhaps an earlier Julien dismissal would have sparked an earlier run and the Bruins wouldn’t have dug themselves as deep a hole that they did.
Ok, maybe “dug themselves a big hole” is a little hyperbole. They are 7th in the conference as we speak, which puts them in the playoffs. But Toronto, the Islanders and other teams behind them are lingering around with about 20 games left. Pretty tight group at the edge of the playoff race.
So what if they are lulled into this false sense that they can make a run in the playoffs, go out and bring some guys in and then don’t actually make the cut? Yeah…remember last year? Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles in two separate deals for 4 picks and a minor leaguer combined? Yuck! Then not making the playoffs to top it off?
It’s simply not worth it.
So does that make the Bruins sellers? Not necessarily.
Guys like Ryan Spooner, David Krejci, Colin Miller and even Jimmy Hayes have been a little revitalized with Claude’s departure. So if perhaps these guys were on the block beforehand as talented veterans that may be available, maybe they aren’t anymore. Sure, if someone took Hayes off your hands, it wouldn’t necessarily be a big loss. Same is true for Matt Beleskey, Tim Schaller, Liles, Dominic Moore, Riley Nash and dudes of that ilk.
But no one is taking Beleskey’s contract. Maybe not even Hayes’. The rest of those players listed and their types aren’t going to really get you much in return. Also, you could have a worse fourth line than Schaller/Moore/Nash. So there is really no sense in dealing them. Plus, if they do make the playoffs, Liles isn’t horrible as a 7th D-man. Nor Beleskey as a 13th forward. May as well ride this thing out for the most part.
The one interesting case involves the Captain, Zdeno Chara. I personally don’t move him, unless someone absolutely blows the Bruins away. I still believe that the Bruins defense still needs significant work going forward. Another reason why I don’t see a long Cup run in their immediate future. The defense has played pretty well since Cassidy took over. And we don’t have to even mention that they seem more involved offensively. But that doesn’t mean all their defensive problems have been solved. My opinion anyway…
But as for Big Z, he’s obviously not the same dominant player we have known here for years. Maybe he’s not even a first pairing guy anymore. He’s 39 years old, what do you expect?! Sadly, however, he is still at this very point in time probably the Bruins best pure D-man. And his cap hit for next year is a very reasonable 4 million. It makes a lot of sense to keep him around and help bring the youngsters like Brandon Carlo and Colin Miller along. Maybe Rob O’Gara is here next year. Possibly Matt Grzelcyk. Perhaps…Charlie McAvoy? I’d rather have Z here working with them and not Kevan Miller and/or Adam McQuaid (shaking my head and acknowledging that those two may be here as well anyway).
If someone opens the vault, he’s gone. But I am not sure any team does that.
If Donnie Hockey is smart, he sits this trading deadline out altogether. But when have any of us called Sweeney smart recently?