The NHL Trade Deadline couldn’t have gone any better for the Boston Bruins this season and while time will still tell, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney may also end up being applauded for a trade he didn’t make. …twice.
At the NHL Entry Draft and leading into unrestricted free agency, numerous sources confirmed to Boston Hockey Now and various other news outlets that the Boston Bruins and Arizona Coyotes were engaged in trade talks regarding Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson thanks to Ekman-Larsson informing the Coyotes that the Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks were the only teams that he would waive his no-movement clause for. Neither the Canucks nor the Bruins could consummate a trade for Ekman-Larsson with the Coyotes and the Yotes kept their captain.
There was talk leading into the April 12 NHL Trade Deadline that the Bruins had circled back on Ekman-Larsson but again, the 29-year-old rearguard remained in the Desert.
With the late-night acquisitions of Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, and Mike Reilly on April 11, Sweeney reinvigorated his lineup, specifically David Krejci, and the Bruins have gone 7-2-0 since. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Ekman-Larsson has struggled with just two goals and 18 assists in 40 games. He’s also a minus -21 and has become a turnover machine when the Coyotes need him most as they try to stay in the West Division playoff race.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson: "The last little while we've been (making) a little too many mistakes and that comes down on me. I don't really know what I'm doing out there.
"Big moments, I'm losing pucks out there, taking penalties. I don't really give us a chance to win."
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) April 29, 2021
While Ekman-Larsson’s accountability is admirable, his confidence is clearly shot and it’s showing in his decision-making.
“He’s been an absolute mess lately and they need him bad,” an NHL scout told Boston Hockey Now Thursday afternoon. “The Bruins should be happy they didn’t trade for him and that contract.”
Ouch! That’s some harsh reality there but it could be a harsh reality Sweeney and the Boston Bruins avoided facing if Ekman-Larsson became a Bruin. He has six years remaining with an $8.25 million cap hit. Disaster avoided?
Now onto the rest of your BHN Daily:
The Boston Bruins and goalie Tuukka Rask will try to atone for one of their ugliest losses of the season, a 6-4 defeat in Buffalo last Friday when they welcome the Sabres to TD Garden for a two-game set that starts tonight and concludes on Saturday afternoon. (Boston Hockey Now)
The Boston Bruins could be without Craig Smith tonight as he had some COVID testing issues Thursday morning. (Boston Hockey Now)
Speaking of Rask, can he keep his point streak going Thursday night? (Boston Hockey Now)
A hearty welcome to the National Hockey Now Network for Andy Graziano! In his first column for NYI Hockey Now, Graziano urges Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz to shake things up as the Islanders are slipping down the East Division standings. (NYI Hockey Now)
Can the Pittsburgh Penguins’ speed beat the Washington Capitals’ brawn? (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart’s nightmare season has come to a merciful end. …if you consider a sprained MCL merciful. (Philly Hockey Now)
Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk got the Gordie Howe hat trick Wednesday. Tkachuk can be a restricted free agent in July. If the Sens let that happen, I’m guessing we may actually see an offer sheet. (TSN)
Could Patrick Roy return to the NHL coaching ranks? (Sportsnet)
Finally, a very Happy 88th Birthday to Willie Nelson who through this song helped teach me not to dwell on the past!