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Grading the Frank Vatrano trade: A necessary move

It's sad to see a local guy get dealt, but there wasn't enough ice time to go around.

Boston Bruins v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins made their second move of trade deadline season today, sending forward Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick.

The deal isn’t exactly a major one, but it’s a rather clattering end for a guy who once seemed destined to be a decent NHL player in Boston.

What they sent out

Vatrano hasn’t played for the Bruins in nearly three weeks, and played sporadically prior to that. He was an exciting player in his first go-round with the team, and lit it up in the AHL.

A training camp injury back in 2016 signaled the beginning of the end of Vatrano’s tenure in Boston. He ended up playing in only 44 games last year, scoring 10 goals and adding 8 assists.

By this season, he was on the outside looking in for the majority of the time. He appeared in just 25 games, scored 2 goals and had 22 penalty minutes.

What they got back

The Bruins got Florida’s third-round pick in this year’s draft. This pick essentially replaces the one the Bruins sent to the New York Rangers in the Nick Holden deal.

What it all means

Sure, it’s sad to see a “local kid made good” sent packing, but it wasn’t going to happen here for Vatrano. While his initial appearances with the team were great, he failed to duplicate them over the rest of his tenure.

That epic AHL scoring prowess simply didn’t translate in the AHL. By the time Vatrano came into this season, he found himself surpassed by a bunch of other guys. He simply wasn’t going to get ice time over Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Anders Bjork, etc.

Add in the fact that there are other guys, like Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik and (maybe) Ryan Donato, who are or will soon be pushing for serious NHL ice time, and there just wasn’t enough room for a guy like Vatrano.

Throw in the fact that he had (supposedly) asked the Bruins to trade him and this deal makes sense for all parties involved.

The Bruins get a roster spot and a third-round pick. Vatrano gets a change of scenery and a chance to play. The Panthers get a guy who can shoot and who is hungry to prove himself.

What’s the grade?


It sucks to send a young-ish guy with scoring talents to a division opponent, but the Bruins just didn’t have anywhere for Vatrano to play at this point.

All things considered, it ends up boiling down to Rob O’Gara and Frank Vatrano for Nick Holden, so a serviceable NHL defenseman for two guys who weren’t going to play anyways.

What’s your grade for the trade?