There is less than a week until the NHL trade deadline, and the Boston Bruins are almost certainly going to make a move or two before then.
It remains to be seen if it’s going to be a big move or smaller ones, though it would seem there might be some cold water on the biggest move they were eying with Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun laid up with a knee injury currently. Either way, though, things are always a little more tense this time of year with a bit of uncertainty and possible change in the air for players that are all about the everyday hockey routine.
It’s probably a bit more relaxed with a team that’s looking to add, rather than subtract, like the Bruins with a 9-1-1 record in their last 11 games, and whispers out there in the rumor mill that they’re going to hold onto trade bait Jake DeBrusk with their eyes on another possible Stanley Cup run. Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy called it “business as usual” for the Black and Gold as they go about their business this season.
“Donny always has discussions with us. The state of the team, or where do you see needs? Depth pieces,” said Cassidy. “If there’s a big [trade], we’re outside of that. But at the end of the day there’s always that discussion and I imagine it will heat up over the next week.
“There’s no discussion of the package involved or anything like that, it’s more the area of the team. What if we upgrade here…how it will affect the lines or how will it affect the D-pairs? There are those conversations and we’re having them. As for that, it’s business as usual for us. If something happens that’s helpful for our team, then we’re grateful for that and if not then we try to keep playing well and get where we need to go.”
The Boston Bruins very clearly had those discussions a year ago on deals both big and small, and it’s a good example of how things work out. The B’s had a very clear need for a goal-scoring winger on their second line to pair with playmaker David Krejci, and Hall was going into that spot immediately based on an extensive resume that included a Hart Trophy.
It was a little more of an inexact science for Curtis Lazar and Mike Reilly, and their spots within the lineup. Lazar finished centering the fourth line and Reilly made a strong pairing with Brandon Carlo during the playoffs, but that was more about the way they played once arriving in Boston rather than preordained roles in the lineup.
“A player like [Taylor] Hall we knew more about than a guy like Curtis Lazar. Even with Mike Reilly, he was out west [with the Minnesota Wild] for a bit and he was with Montreal previously. So for [Hall] it was a pretty easy fit and he was going right in with [David] Krejci. That was going to be the spot and we hoped it was going to work out for both players and it did.
“With Lazar it was going to be a little more ‘is it center or right wing?’ I think we had him penciled into the right wing originally and then we saw him make a few plays so then he played himself into a more opportune spot in the middle. And then with Reilly, I think [Jakub] Zboril was injured at the time, and he went right into that spot and was a good fit as well. You don’t have a lot of time to play around with it, so I think it’s good when a guy comes right in and fits seamlessly like all three did. We got fortunate in that regard.”
The scenarios become interesting if the Boston Bruins bring in a forward without potentially subtracting anyone, or if they bring in a possible second line center after Erik Haula performed admirably there between Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak over the last couple of months. It’s a little more cut-and-dry if the Bruins bring in a left-shot defenseman with shutdown D-man Derek Forbort struggling at times this season, and Mike Reilly not really playing as well as he did after his arrival from Ottawa last year.
What does all this mean? That the Boston Bruins are going through all their due diligence at this point in preparation that there are going to be changes coming on Monday afternoon, but that they are also in the coveted role of “buyer” at the NHL trade deadline rather then “sellers” punting on their current season’s hopes.