We made it, the 2017-18 season’s trade deadline is officially over. The local team made five main moves leading up to the final buzzer and the Stanley Cup of Chowder folks break down how we each though they went.
Nick Holden from New York Rangers for Rob O’Gara & 2018 3rd rd pick:
Colin- Grade: B-
Reasoning: Nick Holden is a fine depth defenseman and may prove to be a clutch move by Sweeney if the Bruins suffer injuries on their back end, the price was a little high for a 5-6th defenseman though.
Sky - Grade: B
Reasoning: Holden is insurance on the back-end heading towards a playoffs that will no doubt put a lot of strain on the Bruins blueline, especially with mainstay players with...questionable ability to stay healthy. Rob O’Gara was collateral and quite frankly not a fit for Boston, and further moves made this a forgivable price to pay.
Jake - Grade: B
Reasoning: Remember last year’s playoffs having to call up Tommy Cross and an inexperienced Matt Grzelcyk to fill in on defense? That’s what this move is about. This year’s D corps is packed with excess, Grzelcyk certainly helping his own cause here. On the right side, either McQuaid or Miller will hit the press box every night, not necessarily for punishment, just because of lineup space. For the left, Holden is the equivalent here.
Matt - Grade: B-
Reasoning: There’s no question Holden adds more depth on the back end, but a lot of Ranger fans were happy to see him go. That is never a good sign. Nonetheless, we’ll see how Holden performs in the Spoked B before calling this trade a complete waste. I like O’Gara a lot but he fell back on the depth chart this season and probably deserved a fresh start elsewhere.
Shawn - Grade: C-
Frank Vatrano to Florida Panthers for 3rd rd pick
Colin - Overall Grade: A
Reasoning: Loved it. The local kid was likely going to be a waiver wire casualty and Sweeney turned him into a mid to high 3rd round pick. Sweeney’s best value move this year in my opinion.
Sky - Overall Grade: A
Reasoning: Hey! There’s that 3rd rounder recoup’d! I wish Vatrano the best down in Florida, but there wasn’t a chance in hell he was making Boston’s current roster without seriously altering his already pretty one-note game to fit either the bottom six (which are primarily defense based), or having a practice so good he could somehow bump Danton Heinen or Jake DeBrusk out. Still wish him the best!
Jake - Grade: A+
Reasoning: This has been one of the trickiest situations all season for the Bruins. Risk putting Vatrano on waivers? Lose him for no compensation. Bench him until the end of the season? Same deal. It’s a win-win for both sides: Vatrano gets a fresh start, Don Sweeney gets SOMETHING out of it. Getting what will turn out to be a better third rounder than the Bruins’ original choice is icing on the cake.
Matt - Grade: A+
Reasoning: Vatrano had a nice rookie season in the Bruins organization but never seemed to improve as his tenure went on. His ineffective play earned him the extra forward role this season, and most people were expecting him to be a waiver candidate. Instead, Sweeney acquired a third-round pick for him. That’s a win for the Bruins.
Shawn - Grade: B-
2018 1st, 2019 7th rd pick, Ryan Spooner, Ryan Lindgren & Matt Beleskey (50%) for Rick Nash (50%)
Colin - Grade: C+
Reasoning: I covered it at length here, but the gist is Rick Nash makes the Bruins a better team, undeniably. I just don’t think the cost was equal to the return. He will be successful with Bruins and looked good in his first game. I raised my original grade from a C- to a C+ after giving it more thought.
Sky - Grade: Tentative B?
Reasoning: He looked good in game one with David Krejci, which is always good to hear, and was more than willing to shoot the puck when given the opportunity during Sunday’s game. He is an upgrade in that he is unquestionably a winger where a converted player once stood. One thing that worries me is that he’s going to have to overcome a lot of troubling narratives about how his play goes come mid-april, and this is a very unforgiving town when it comes to playoff struggles. Playing with David Krejci might actually balance that out, tho.
Jake - Grade: B+
Reasoning: I’m quite the serial optimist, so bear this in mind with me here. Matt Beleskey was never going to crack the NHL roster this season barring a serial plague on half the team. Ryan Lindgren is a good prospect, but has already been surpassed by a few left-handed defenseman in the depth chart. The first rounder hurts but in all actuality, it’s going to be somewhere in the latter half: always a good chance of success but a lot risker than a top–15 pick. An even risker promise for the seventh rounder. What do the Bruins get? Someone who will prove to develop a lot more chemistry with David Krejci than Ryan Spooner did. Spoons was a great skater and a decent playmaker, but really never found his niche within the team. Nash has a clearly defined role: score goals, use your big body to draw penalties. It puts Krejci in a role I have always known him as, the playmaker. DeBrusk now has every opportunity to use his explosive skating to generate chances as well. If Nash can start to put up points immediately, this becomes a Bruins win. Good luck to Spooner in any of his new endeavors.
Matt - Grade: B
Reasoning: To be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled when I first learned the Bruins were the leading contenders for Nash. He was a guy I really didn’t want the Bruins to clean the house for. However, once the deal went down and I saw what the Bruins gave up, I did not hate the deal as much as I thought I would. The first-round pick doesn’t bother me because the Bruins have had six first-round picks since 2015. Ryan Spooner likely was not going to be a Bruin next season, and while he was definitely having his best overall season, it made the most sense to part ways with him rather than someone else on the NHL roster. Matt Beleskey’s Bruins career did not work out, and shedding half of his contract for the next few seasons is helpful. I’m high on Ryan Lindgren, but he’s not even the Bruins’ best prospect. They could have given up a lot more prospects than they did, so I like this trade for the most part. Hopefully Nash performs well down the stretch and into the postseason.
Shawn - Grade: B-
Signing 39 year old Brian Gionta to pro-rated 1 year deal
Colin - Grade: B-
Reasoning: While I’m not the biggest fan of signing ancient players, or of Brian Gionta as a player, I understand what the team was doing. He’s a free veteran depth option who can sit in press box instead of a younger Providence player. A free depth move for the playoff push, underwhelming but understandable.
Sky - Overall Grade: B
Reasoning: League minimum if not slightly below that, a nice name that people remember, and is extremely unlikely to actually crack the lineup unless someone gets hurt or a player in the bottom six has a night so embarrassingly awful that they have to be benched for a game. Even if he’s the hockey equivalent of Methuselah, it’s still nice to have cheap depth where you can find it.
Jake - Grade: B
Reasoning: The only reason I see this as a good move is because he had actually been training and skating the last few weeks at the Olympics, despite Team USA’s performance. No offense to Jarome Iginla, who has a soft spot in my heart, but there’s no room for a learning curve or training curve right now. He could bring a Dustin Pedroia type of scrappiness to the bottom of the lineup.
Matt - Grade: C+
Reasoning: I see what the Bruins are trying to do here, but the 39-year-old Gionta does not have a lot of gas left in the tank. He looked incredibly slow at the Olympics despite spending the whole season training for them. I guess he will provide a decent veteran presence, but the Bruins already have players who do that in David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, etc. This signing confuses me.
Shawn - Grade: C-
Conditional 2019 5th rd pick for Tommy Wingels from Chicago Blackhawks
Colin - Grade: D
Reasoning: I caught all hell for it, but I strongly dislike this move. The Bruins already acquired a depth forward in Gionta and giving up what will almost certainly be a 4th pick for a almost 30 year old 13th forward is a waste of a pick in my opinion. Wingels isn’t better than the Bruins top AHL prospects and I’d rather the team call them up for free in the unlikely event the Bruins are down 2 forwards at once.
Sky - Grade: C-
Reasoning: More depth, just now with an actual cost to it, and while I can acknowledge he does a lot of the good things you want a 4th liner to do, kill penalties, be a menace on the boards, work hard etc...the reality is you possibly gave up a 4th rounder (possibly being the key word) for that player. A player that, in all likelyhood, doesn’t have the ability to beat out guys like Noel Acciari for a roster spot or even wake them up if they’re having a rough night and need a benching. That’s just a straight overpay for a guy who might be slightly better or worse than the players already on said line. But as depth? No real concerns.
Jake - Grade: D+
Reasoning: This move confuses me considering how much trust Don Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy has put in the younger guys on this team. Could it just be for peace of mind for the prospects to focus on playing hockey and less travel back and forth between Providence and Boston? It could be. I agree with my compadres above that the team’s prospects are probably better than Wingels at the moment. Should he suddenly storm to the numbers he had between 2013-15 where he averaged 37 points a season? My mind would be changed. Recency bias shows that probably isn’t the case.
Matt: Grade: C
Reasoning: Again, I understand what the Bruins are trying to get at here. They want as much depth as possible for a potential playoff run and feel like Wingels is a guy who can give them a spark if need be. He is a hardworking and scrappy player who might not be a bad choice to rotate into the bottom six during the playoffs at some point. However, Wingels has not performed well offensively since his San Jose days, so for now, this trade gets a C.
Shawn - Grade: D
Overall Deadline Grades
Colin - Overall Grade: C+
Reasoning: Nash makes your team better, but at a high cost. Vatrano for a 3rd was a slam dunk but the Holden and Wingels pure rental deals are likely wasted picks in my opinion. Overall Sweeney got his desired veteran depth, but the cost was too high for my taste.
Jake - Grade: B+
Reasoning: Getting Nash CLEARLY makes this team better now, in my opinion. Getting rid of Vatrano? How sweet it is to finally have that saga over. I’m lukewarm on Holden and Gionta for now, and still out on Wingels. Still, you have to give a lot of credit to Sweeney for going for it all this season. He has a lot of confidence and got things done with means I can generally agree on. For those not satisfied by this deadline, just think about what this team might look like if Peter Chiarelli were still GM of this team. Return from the nightmare in your mind yet? Be thankful for Sweeney.
Sky: Grade: B
Reasoning: Depth is always good for a nice playoff push, though giving up more than a few picks and possibly losing mid round picks for it isn’t exactly perfect. None of the major prospects left town in service of a short-term upgrade, and Nash will make the team better immediately. Not a gigantic upgrade everywhere, but the depth wasn’t carved out to make that happen. Just don’t come whining about defensive “woulda/coulda/shouldas” until Free Agency, alright? Apparently teams had to pay through the nose to get it and you should be happy Boston didn’t unload a good player for help in that dept.
Matt - Grade: B+
Reasoning: Obviously, Nash gives the Bruins a lot more firepower up front and it did not cost as much as it could have to acquire him. Some of the other depth moves might not make sense right now, but depth is never a bad thing to have, especially when you’re hoping to make some noise in the playoffs.
Shawn - Grade: C+
Reasoning: Value out was more than value in overall.
So what do you think Bruins fans? Was it a good deadline, bad or somewhere in between. Let us know below.