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The big trade by Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney was unloading veteran forward Taylor Hall. While the return was not the flashiest, gaining the necessary salary cap space was the goal in mind. Along went Nick Foligno, and in return came two prospects with their RFA rights.
However, Don Sweeney kept the work going. In a minor move with the New Jersey Devils, Sweeney acquired defensemen Reilly Walsh in exchange for center Shane Bowers. This may not seem like much, but Reilly Walsh is a substantial addition. The Massachusetts native makes his way back home.
The Minor Trade After The Big Trade
Sweeney loves his Massachusetts guys. This is no blockbuster trade that Sweeney swung at the trade deadline. However, this is an excellent trade for a great value. Shane Bowers is nothing more than a project. The former first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 NHL Draft has spent his entire career in the AHL. Bowers was then traded to the Colorado Avalanche in parts of the Matt Duchene deal.
Bowers, from there, spent his young career with the Colorado Eagles. His best season came in 2019-20, where he scored ten goals and 27 points. However, it has been downhill production-wise since, and he has not found his niche yet. Bowers did spend one season with the Providence Bruins. He managed just seven points in 20 games. Bowers went back to the Colorado Eagles.
Bowers was then moved to New Jersey for Walsh, and this is where the upgrade comes for Boston.
Why This Benefits Boston
Capitalizing on adding a player where he is no longer fit is precisely what Don Sweeney did. New Jersey has a logjam on the right side of their blueline. Looking at their overall depth, it is stout what they are building. Furthermore, they lost Damon Severson in free agency because of that depth. But Walsh was not an everyday regular for the Devils. Instead, he was a mainstay with the Utica Comets. With the emergence of number two overall pick Simon Nemec and Michigan Wolverine standout Seamus Casey, there is no room for Walsh.
So how does this benefit the Bruins? The pantry isn’t full in Boston with high-impact young talent. On the back end, the most promising player is Ohio State standout Mason Lohrei. Up front, they have options, but filling the pantry on the blue line was a smooth move.
What Walsh Can Bring
Reilly Walsh is the perfect player for the Boston Bruins. Will he make the jump right away? Maybe not. But will he make his mark on the organization? Absolutely.
The young defenseman stands at 6’0 and weighs 185 pounds. He is not the biggest guy, but he is a smooth skater. Walsh is an offensive-minded defenseman. His first year was with the Binghampton Devils, where he managed to notch 15 points in 33 games. However, Walsh turned on the Jets in the last two seasons. With the Utica Comets, he has managed to display back-to-back 40-point seasons. In addition, Walsh has scored nine goals two seasons in a row and had a career year with 43 points in 2021-22. Not to mention, his 41 points would’ve placed him fifth on Providence and only three back of Connor Carrick for most among defensemen.
It is safe to say that Walsh is a breath of fresh air for this organization. Walsh saw playoff hockey with Utica. He was nearly a point-per-game player this season, lighting the lamp four times.
Walsh Will Fit Like A Glove
With David Krejci’s and Patrice Bergeron’s futures uncertain, the next wave of Boston Bruins hockey is underway. It is out with the old and in with the youth. The core group is very much intact, but the Bruins must get younger and inject youth into this roster.
The farm has not been stocked plenty, and the prospect pool is not among the best. However, Sweeney has made sure to get younger and has made trades to upgrade that aspect of the organization. Walsh will get an opportunity, and with a vacant hole on the right side of the blue line, Walsh can seize the opportunity.