clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Bruins’ recent run has raised the question: should they “go for it” this year?

New, comments

This team was supposed to be a little better than last year’s. But their recent play and a relatively wide-open league makes it tempting to go all in.

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens

Be honest with yourself: you didn’t expect this kind of success from this Boston Bruins team this season.

Sure, you thought they’d be a playoff team. You thought they’d look great sometimes and look like a team filled with mistake-prone rookies at other times.

Few people seriously thought a Stanley Cup run was possible this season. Not by a group that squeaked into the playoffs last year and was going to be leaning heavily on guys with little to no NHL experience.

But the team’s recent tear through December and January has them in one of the top five spots in the league standings. They have a top two or three goal differential, depending on the night. They have one of the most talented lines in the league and have shown an ability to play at a pace that wears teams down. They have the fewest regulation losses in the league.

The point streak that reached 18 games and a generally positive energy around the team been enough to make fans dare to ask a question that would have seemed ridiculous just three or four months ago: should they push their chips to the middle of the table and go for it?

At first blush, it seems silly. Why go all-in at the trade deadline and overpay when any real success this year would basically be found money? No one expected this team to be this good anyway, so why not take whatever success comes and file it away toward next year’s development.

But for every compelling reason to stand pat and let it ride, there’s a reason to throw patience to the wind and give it a whirl.

Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron are all in their respective primes. Zdeno Chara is entering his last years as an effective defenseman. Young guys like Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk have proven themselves to be effective NHLers and could complement a run, much like Marchand and Tyler Seguin did in 2011.

Throw in the fact that there’s no real powerhouse team in the NHL, or at least nothing like there is in the NFL with the New England Patriots or in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors. There are teams that the Bruins would probably lose a series to, but no team you look at and think, “nah, they don’t have a chance.”

It’s also worth noting that the Bruins have the pieces to make a trade or two without “selling the farm,” so to speak. In fact, one could argue that they have too many forward prospects and not enough roster spots.

Would that make it easy to give up a Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, a Jesse Gabrielle, a Jack Studnicka? Probably not, but there would at least be replacements in the system.

The Bruins should resist the urge to do something completely nuts, like, say, trading Brandon Carlo and a pick for Evander Kane.

However, a minor deal or two could go a long way toward tightening up this team’s deficiencies and could make a deep run possible; after all, the Ottawa Senators came within a bounce of making it to the Final last year, and they really weren’t a good team.

What would they need? Another top-6 weapon wouldn’t hurt, but even a middle-6 player who could take some offensive burden off of the Bergeron line would be a big help.

Maybe throw in a middle pairing defenseman who would allow Bruce Cassidy to shuffle his pairings to get the most out of the six guys on the blueline, while also adding some much-needed depth (like we saw last spring).

There are, of course, players out there who would make it tempting to REALLY go for it. Could someone like Jake DeBrusk and a first round pick pry Ryan McDonagh out of New York or Erik Karlsson out of Ottawa? Probably not and definitely not, respectively, but there are “big splash” guys out there.

Truthfully, they don’t really need to do that. The team’s Stanley Cup odds probably wouldn’t go up much more with a mega-deal than they would with a couple tweaks.

But at this point, it would almost be disappointing to see the team stand pat at the trade deadline. They didn’t exactly stand pat last year, but while acquiring Drew Stafford turned out fine, it screamed of “let’s do something to do something.”

However, unlike last season, this year’s group has a chance to have home ice in the first round, to win the Atlantic, and even to finish 1st in the Eastern Conference. Why not give up a prospect or two and see how far you can take this thing?

The Bruins shouldn’t be afraid to make a deal that “hurts,” i.e. give up a prospect with potential to make the team better now.

The prospect pipeline is pretty full now, and there are reinforcements coming. The players have, to this point, given management plenty of reasons to believe in them.

Why not push in a few more chips than you otherwise may have and see what happens?