How much has the sudden emergence of rookie Matt Poitras as a top-six center affected the Boston Bruins’ search for a top-six center on the NHL trade market?
“He’s not the only reason, but he’s been a part of why the Bruins aren’t as proactive on the trade market right now; the others obviously are the cap and the Scheifele extension,” an NHL executive source opined to Boston Hockey Now on Thursday morning.
Boston Bruins general manager spent most of the offseason exploring center options on the NHL Trade market and planned to continue doing so during the season. It’s no secret that on more than one occasion, Sweeney looked into the trade cost of Winnipeg Jets veteran center Mark Scheifele and Calgary Flames veteran pivot Elias Lindholm. The former, along with his teammate and goalie Connor Hellebucyk, came off the NHL trade market when they signed identical $59.5 million contract extensions on Oct. 9.
At that point, Poitras, after an eye-opening performance in the preseason, had secured a spot on the opening night roster for the Bruins. Now, two games into the season, the 19-year-old rookie has registered his first NHL point with an assist in a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators and has been promoted to the second line between captain Brad Marchand and Morgan Geekie.
“I think the fact they’re making this move this early shows you they’re really believing in this kid and that he can handle the load of being a top 6 center in the NHL,” the aforementioned source said. “With them being so tight against the cap right now, you could say he’s really the only choice to fill that void right now, but I think how he performs on this road trip could have a long-term effect on whether or not they jump back in on any available centers.”
The Bruins begin a four-game road trip against the Sharks in San Jose on Thursday night (10:30 p.m. ET, NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub) and then at the Los Angeles Kings Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET, NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub), at the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (8:30 p.m. ET, NESN, NHLN, 98.5 The Sports Hub), and at the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night (8:30 p.m.ET, ESPN, ESPN+).
Sweeney and the Bruins should know by the time they return to Boston on Wednesday whether or not they have what they need for now in Poitras or if they need to explore the NHL trade market again. They will still probably stand pat then because, as reported here in the latest ‘Off The Record’ with so many teams, including the Boston Bruins, hamstrung by the salary cap, the NHL traded market – in terms of impact trades – is expected to be quiet until American Thanksgiving on Nov. 23. However, they will then have a better idea of what they do or don’t need.