Earlier today, the Boston Bruins organization announced that they had traded forward Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a third-round pick.
The writing was on the wall for this one. While a lot of people seem to love the story about the local boy who becomes a gritty winger, it doesn’t work out too well for the Bruins organization in general (Jimmy Hayes was the most recent example.).
That Bruins GM Don Sweeney got something out of nothing is rather outstanding. He solved the bottom-six log jam at the forward position, got the team a decent level draft pick, and even shaved a little room off the salary cap in one fell swoop.
In short, nobody lost out on this trade.
The Boston Bruins knew they had a player of limited value on their hands. Vatrano made the team by the skin of his teeth this season and fell by the wayside as younger and more exciting players fought their way on to this year’s roster. He had only played in 25 games this season. The rest of the time found the 23-year old Mass native injured or as a healthy scratch.
When it comes to forwards, the Bruins have an embarrassment of riches on their hands. With so many good players on the team, the Bruins organization would have had to eventually put him on waivers. Another NHL team would have quickly snapped him up, and Boston would have had nothing to show for it in the process.
The Florida Panthers could certainly use some bottom-six help right now, so they’re certainly not complaining about giving up a third-round pick for someone who can come in and help on day one.
As for Frank Vatrano, he gets to stay in the NHL. Had Vatrano got passed waivers, he would have found himself playing in Providence against other players who had a strong chance to bypass him on their way up to Boston. That would have led to Vatrano turning into a career NHL/AHL swing player.
It’s certainly disappointing to see Vatrano go, but there was only so much he could offer the Bruins organization.
As I said, there are no losers in this one. The Boston Bruins win. The Florida Panthers (one of my adultery teams) win. Frank Vatrano wins. Bruins fans should give a stick tap to Don Sweeney for making this little piece of magic work.