Bruins Trade Deadline Grade: F

Bruins Trade Deadline Grade: F

by February 25, 2020 0 comments

Don Sweeney made moves at the trade deadline, but ultimately, he didn’t do enough to ensure the Boston Bruins of success in late April and May.

The acquisitions are by no means nothing. Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie are the newest additions to the ranks of the black and gold, while Axel Andersson, David Backes, and Danton Heinen were shown the door along with a 2020 first-round pick. But is it enough, really? 

Anyone looking at the Bruins could see the obvious need for this team at the deadline: a second-line right-winger to accompany Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci. The Bruins are tops in the league in goals against, giving up just over 2.4 per game. They have a solid defensive corps, and plenty of depth forwards. But Ritchie and Kase aren’t the answer.

Kase is a former seventh-round pick by Anaheim who has played 49 games this season, registering 23 points for the Ducks. But he is now expected to step into the slot occupied by the likes of Karson Kuhlman, Anders Bjork, and Heinen at times. He is hurt now, and might not even be ready to go out of the gate. There was a reason Kase was picked in the seventh round. Can he step in and fill what has been a black hole of offense for the Bruins since Jarome Iginla left?

Yes, the contract dump of David Backes is good. But the Bruins really didn’t get that much in return. They created the salary cap room to make another deal this year, perhaps for a rental… then sat on the money for no reason at all.

Moving onto the other deal. Nick Ritchie was traded in a one for one swap with Danton Heinen going the other way. This deal freed up a million in salary, which the Bruins again chose to sit on. Ritchie is a moose, sitting at 6-foot-2 and 234 lbs. But he doesn’t showcase a ton of skill, only recording 19 points on the season. While Danton Heinen won’t be missed, it is a valid second guess to consider that the Bruins could’ve used him in a deal for Devils winger Kyle Palmieri.

There are a lot of factors to consider this trade deadline, which saw a massive amount of players switching teams. The price for Palmieri might have been too high. The Bruins might have had to pivot to Ritchie. But then why not go out and get a big name like San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton? He was certainly within their price range. Why not strike earlier before the deadline and beat the Vancouver Canucks to Tyler Toffoli, who according to Elliotte Friedman, was in the Bruins’ pocket?

 

It’s not like the Bruins didn’t have the cap room. As previously mentioned, they created room for both this year and next with the two trades. The Bruins have plans to re-sign their major free agents next season, namely Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, and Matt Grzelcyk. But they also had room for this year. Why didn’t they use it, especially if they acquired a rental who didn’t affect next year’s cap?

The bottom line is, the Bruins had a chance to tighten their grip on the Eastern Conference. But they chose not to address the one major problem they had. Now, with Tampa Bay, Washington, and Pittsburgh all improving more than Boston, they have no one to blame but themselves if they don’t make it out of the high-powered East.

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