Leandre: Pastrnak Injury Could be Smokescreen for Panarin Trade

Leandre: Pastrnak Injury Could be Smokescreen for Panarin Trade

by February 12, 2019 0 comments

The Boston Bruins announced that superstar winger and three-time 30 goal-scorer David Pastrnak injured his left thumb falling after attending a team sponsorship dinner.

This injury led to a procedure being done, and the timetable is set at two weeks before the 22-year-old will be re-evaluated.

What makes this injury a little peculiar is the timing around the whole thing. Even in the wording surrounding his injury. “Team will know better in two weeks, but Pastrnak is expected to return and play this season” (Courtesy of @NHLBruins). Do the math here. It is Feb. 12, and the NHL Trade Deadline is a day shy of two weeks away. The Boston Bruins are tied for 19th in the NHL with 2.89 goals per game, all while taking 33.07 shots per game –– sixth in the league.

The front office, coaching staff, and especially the media has been beating a dead horse that the Bruins desperately need more secondary scoring –– as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and the injured Pastrnak have shouldered the load for the entire season. Now, with Pastrnak being out until at least the deadline, that only heightens the need for the Bruins to acquire some sort of proven goal-scoring forward.

Last year it was the acquisition of Rick Nash and the signing of Brian Gionta to try and solve the secondary issues on offense. While it worked at first, Nash suffered a concussion and never got back to the Rick Nash Bruins fans began to fall in love with in the beginning. As for Gionta? He registered seven points in 20 games but appeared in just one game in the postseason.

The end result? A second-round exit at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Bruins need to go big or go home this go-around. They only have limited time with the core of Bergeron, Chara, Krejci, Rask, and even Marchand around to win championships. In the five completed seasons since losing to the Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins have made it out of the first round of the playoffs just twice, and have not made it to the Eastern Conference Finals since 2013.

In this market, you can only go so long without becoming legit title contenders before the media and fan base begins to get restless. You eventually are going to have to take some risks in order to capture the ultimate goal of winning a championship.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney, much like Celtics GM Danny Ainge, has stockpiled assets that can be moved for proven superstar talent that can help the team win now for years to come.

But Sweeney wouldn’t be wise to just irresponsibly unload prospects to completely overhaul the roster. What he should do is piece together a very strong package for Columbus Blue Jackets rental Artemi Panarin.

Panarin has 21 goals and 42 assists in 52 games for the Jackets. However, the 27-year-old has voiced his desire to test the free agent waters this summer. That’s where the gamble comes to play. There’s a legitimate chance the Bruins lose Panarin in the offseason, which has Bruins fans on the fence regarding the premise of acquiring the Russian winger.

This is where the idea of Pastrnak’s injury timetable being interesting comes back. If he’s expected to return this season and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, why even put the idea that he could miss the rest of the season into the minds of Bruins fans? Losing Pastrnak until the trade deadline allows Boston to give Ryan Donato another chance to showcase his talents to the rest of the league before being strapped to their roster on Feb. 25.

No matter how well Donato plays, however, he’s still a significant drop-off from a player of Pastrnak’s caliber. Thus making the necessity to acquire some elite goal-scoring a top priority at this year’s deadline.

Even if it costs two top prospects and a first-round pick, the Pastrnak injury should make Bruins fans and beat writers alike a lot more warm to the idea of trading for Artemi Panarin.

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