By: Zach Carlone | Follow me on Twitter @zcarlone21
After the shorthanded Bruins were thumped by the Washington Capitals Sunday night by a score of 8-1, general manager Don Sweeney knew it was time to get aggressive on the trade front. He did so and managed two trades through the night leading up to Monday’s trade deadline. The Bruins didn’t give up much and recognized they needed to get more help for the aging core, which has an open window to win another Stanley Cup, but time is quickly closing. Sweeney gave his final shot not only for the Bruins to contend for a Cup this season but potentially resurrect his hopes of not losing his own job as a general manager.
Trade: D Mike Reilly from OTT for 2022 3rd-round pick
While the Bruins didn’t land a flashy name here, they scooped up one of the Ottawa Senators’ most reliable D-men. Reilly has 19 points this season in 40 games, good for an already career-high. His previous best was 12 points in 30 games just last season, and he brings stability to the left side of the Bruins defense. Claiming Jarred Tinordi off waivers from the Nashville Predators just over a month ago hasn’t panned out as well as the Bruins hoped, and Mike Reilly is a fairly better replacement for a spot among the bottom-four defensemen.
Much of the defense is dealing with lingering injuries as the deadline passed, and this move will quietly solve the Bruins depth concerns. When fully healthy, I’d expect Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, and Reilly to fill out the left side on a nightly basis. John Moore, another left-handed defenseman, underwent surgery a while back and is out for the remainder of the season, only leaving it blatantly obvious for Sweeney to trade for more depth on defense. Jarred Tinordi and Jack Ahcan would be the next men up beyond that.
This deal earns a “B,” and here’s why. Sweeney didn’t capture a huge name on the market, which is completely acceptable. However, he did surrender a third-round pick for somebody who is set to be a UFA following the season. This has been his one good season of his career so far, as he’s always been known to be on the bubble of making an NHL lineup. He’s played extremely well and taken his game to the next level on a poor Senators team this season, which is why he costed a third-round pick, and Sweeney felt like taking a gamble. If he decides to stay in Boston beyond this season as a depth defenseman, then the Bruins got their value back.
Trade: F Taylor Hall and F Curtis Lazar from BUF for F Anders Bjork and 2021 2nd-round pick
Arguably the biggest name in trade rumors heading into the deadline, Hall heads East to Boston for a hopefully extended playoff run. The former first-overall pick was going nowhere in Buffalo, and his decision to sign there over the offseason left people scratching their heads. Boston scored big by securing a former Hart Trophy winner without surrendering a first-round pick in this deal. Hall has had a tremendously poor season in Buffalo, collecting two goals and 19 points with a +/- of -21 in 37 games. He dreamt of being Jack Eichel’s best wingman, and with Eichel injured for most of the season; it never could’ve ended that way with the Trade Deadline now passed.
Hall has a lot of talent yet to be exposed this season and has a great chance to turn his season around by potentially playing with David Krejci, but Curtis Lazar is also a great pickup for the Bruins. The right-handed forward has nine points in 33 games this season and has also seen top-six minutes with a depleted Sabres squad. He brings grit and hard work to every game, a strength in the Bruins bottom-six that only gets stronger with this deal. Hall had to waive his no-movement clause in order to come to Boston, so if the Bruins can ink him for a team-friendly extension, this deal is a home-run for Sweeney.
Anders Bjork had a whirlwind of a time trying to figure out his place on this Bruins team, and there simply wasn’t one for him. His game picked up as of late, but the Bruins scratched him for five straight games leading up to the deal. The 25-year-old forward has a chance to re-tool his game with a rebuilding Sabres team with the hopes of becoming a permanent middle-six forward. While the Bruins are in absolute “win-now” mode, it was only fair for the Bruins to give up on Bjork for an upgrade in Hall.
While on paper, these trades look like big cash-ins for the Bruins, they still need to translate on the ice. We won’t know the impact Reilly, Hall, and Lazar are going to have on this team until the season concludes and we evaluate their respective journeys and futures with the team. Some trades work out great for teams, while others turn out to be an absolute waste of value. Don Sweeney is hoping these three fit into the Bruins winning culture and can help elevate the team’s game to the next level. The goal for this team now is a Stanley Cup victory in the late summer.