In the past week the Boston Bruins have traded twice, both times with the New York Rangers. The first was for depth defenseman Nick Holden, in exchange for Rob O’Gara and a 3rd round pick. Then the Bruins traded a haul for Rick Nash, while also adding Brian Gionta as a depth forward option. In between those two moves, the Bruins traded 13th forward Frank Vatrano for a 3rd rd pick. The logical assumption is that the Bruins are likely done making any moves, especially a major one, but the Ryan McDonagh to Boston rumor mill is still going strong, this time being kept up by former player, GM and current NHL Network analyst, Brian Lawton.
Being told that @NYRangers Ryan McDonagh sweepstakes is down to 4 clubs. All in the Eastern Conference. Going to come down to if Jim Dolan has laid down the law that we do it right and build from the ground up! Sense management doesn't want to move him but....— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) February 26, 2018
Told that five teams in the East have made good offers on Ryan McDonagh.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 26, 2018
The rumor mill is so strong, McDonagh reportedly deleted his Twitter, can’t say I blame the guy personally. Having your team dismantled around you, while having to deal with the never ending questions about whether or not you will be traded has to be exhausting.
Now the Ryan McDonagh sweepstakes have been discussed at length here in Boston, including in depth on this website. The buzz was so loud it even had local sports radio shows Toucher and Rich, and Felger and Mazz discussing our article at length, as well as numerous podcasts and other mediums. The obvious conclusion reached was that Bruins fans would love a McDonagh trade, but that the cost would likely be too prohibitive. Once the Bruins traded for Holden, the likely answer was that the Bruins were done acquiring defensive depth, considering they had to waive Postma to make room for Holden.
Despite this, there is still talk of the Bruins being in on McDonagh, perhaps because the team has struggled on the back end lately, or perhaps because it’s trade deadline season and big names sell. Either way, there is still smoke around the Bruins and McDonagh.
In my estimation, the Bruins are likely done making any moves, major or minor but that doesn’t mean the Bruins won’t be serious contenders for McDonagh in the offseason, assuming he isn’t moved and re-signed to another team in today’s deadline madness. Keep in mind the Bruins are essentially up against the cap at this point and in order to acquire McDonagh they would have to shed NHL salary ie. Torey Krug or a combination of a McQuaid or Miller deal with a forward and as discussed in previous articles, the Rangers aren’t likely to be interested in any of those options for their re-build, especially after taking on half of Beleskey’s contract in the Nash deal.
Think WASH continues to poke around on D...checked in on Ryan McDonagh, though they appear to have moved on.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 26, 2018
It’s more likely a team like Washington or Tampa Bay is the front runner here, if McDonagh does in fact get moved today. However, it’s more likely he stays this season and is moved in the offseason, where the Bruins should strongly consider trading for him as a longtime replacement for Chara, and to complement Charlie McAvoy as he grows. The cap will be increasing between $3-7 million which would allow the Bruins to absorb his cap hit easily enough.
So while there is still smoke around the Bruins, I’d be truly surprised if the Bruins made a third trade with the Rangers, especially one that would see even more roster players being moved in a year where management has repeatedly preached about the chemistry in the locker room.