When things go terribly wrong, you can do two things.. The first is to sit and sulk over what transpired. The other is to go out and make changes, to better yourself. Peter Chiarelli and the Boston Bruins chose the second option in the summer of 2010. After watching their team blow a 3-0 lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chiarelli made some big moves. Nathan Horton was at the center of those moves.
The Bruins had been the worst offensive team in the NHL in 2009-10, and simply couldn’t fill their holes. They tried to do it via trade, acquiring Daniel Paille. They traded via free agency too, signing Miroslav Satan in January. Neither move paid off in a big way.
Chiarelli’s main goal in the summer of 2010 was to make the Boston Bruins are more potent offensive team. He was able to accomplish all of that in one day in Los Angeles.
Savard Injury Complicated Matters
March 7th, 2010. That was the date the Bruins trajectory and the career of Marc Savard changed for good. Savard formed a lethal trio with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci at center. A nasty, and quite frankly filthy, elbow from Matt Cooke ended all of that.
Savard missed the rest of the regular season and the club’s first round series against the Buffalo Sabres. He returned for the club’s second round series against the Flyers, but the damage was done. Savard would never be the same player.
The Bruins knew in the summer of 2010 that it would be hard for Savard to contribute in the upcoming season. He ended up missing the first 23 games of the 2010-11 campaign with post-concussion syndrome. He eventually played in 25 games. They would be the final 25 of his NHL career.
Savard suffered a second concussion on January 23rd when he was hit by former teammate Matt Hunwick. Just days later, Savard was shutdown for the remainder of the season. In the summer of 2011, the Bruins would shut Savard down for the 2011-12 season, effectively ending his career.
Chiarelli knew he needed to add a top-six forward if the Bruins were to take a step forward. This task became even more important as the Savard situation unfolded. Chiarelli elected to shop in a familiar aisle, dialing the Florida Panthers. Chiarelli had previously dealt with the Panthers at the trade deadline in 2010, trading for Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski.
The Panthers were in the midst of a rebuild, and were in search of both draft picks and defensive help. The Bruins had both.
The Bruins decided to trade their first-round pick in 2010, third-round pick in 2011 and veteran Dennis Wideman to the Panthers for forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell.
Horton gave the Bruins a much needed sniper in their top-six and another power forward to go along with Milan Lucic. Campbell, meanwhile, added more toughness to the forward group and replenished some of the center depth that had taken a hit.
Campbell would also aid the Bruins on the penalty kill and in the faceoff circle.
Nathan Horton finished second on the club in goals with 26 in his first season in Boston, and scored a few massive goals in the 2011 postseason. Campbell, added for depth, chipped in 13 goals of his own. In all, the Bruins added 39 goals to the lineup with this single move.
The Future Arrives
Horton and Campbell weren’t the only new Bruins on that June afternoon. The club was in Los Angeles for the annual Entry Draft, and the Bruins held the second overall selection thanks to the Phil Kessel trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not only did that trade set the Bruins up to select a top prospect, it also allowed them to move their own pick to Florida in the Horton trade.
The selection? It was quite a simple one. Once the Edmonton Oilers selected Taylor Hall first overall, the Bruins were left with one clear selection. That selection was Tyler Seguin. Seguin had a minimal impact in year one, scoring just eleven goals and finishing with 22 points.
His biggest moment came in the Eastern Conference Final, however. Although it was a smaller role than Campbell and Horton, Seguin still impacted the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship team. Without him, they may not get by the Lightning to face the Canucks.
Predictably, he would blossom into a superstar. Unfortunately for the Bruins, a majority of that stardom would come as a Star.