So...here we are.
A trade deadline come and gone, and what have we to show for it? A couple of proven depth guys to help possibly solve the issue of a flagging depth that has gone through approximately 200,000 permutations with little sustained success.
And frankly? For the price you paid, you probably got a not-terrible third line, if you step back and look at it.
Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle are net-neutral forwards at their very worst and have been for awhile now. Considering the near constant ebb-and-flow of players to come through the system so far have been...uh...let’s call it “unprepared” and not “Often horrifically overmatched against even bottom 6 NHL talent”, that is probably the best the B’s could’ve asked for in fixing an issue they didn’t think was not only going to be this big of a problem as it has been, but seemingly expected to have at least graduated a player from Providence in order to do so.
Now granted, their 2nd RW is still kinda...up in the air for right now. If anything, at least a couple of the more recent issues like the power play being out of whack and the first line having some struggles recently have been linked to injury and that, thank all the dieties you call to for answers, is a temporary thing right now; let guys like Johansson and Coyle play slightly above their pay grade (or get Peter Cehlarik to do it, he can do this whole “winger on his off-wing” thing pretty well), and put them back into a position where they can succeed. There will still be all sorts of handwringing and concern over how Don “Coulda had one of the big names at wing!” if the B’s start struggling for any length of time past like...two games. And that’s fine.
Because the answer to that wailing and gnashing is well, yeah. He coulda. But were you gonna trust him to pay the costs for it? After the Rick Nash debacle? But considering what the future holds for the Bruins, starting with “David Pastrnak eventually being healthy”, and the absolute metric crapton of good to decent prospects, picks with all sorts of conditions based on either getting to or getting out of the playoffs at a certain time, and half-decent players that changed hands for even okay players like Wayne Simmonds during this deadline? The risk-reward of even going after a half-decent RW with the possibility of losing Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, or their first round pick in the suddenly got a lot less palatable. Especially since the big fish of the deadline, Mark Stone, commanded probably one of the best defenseman prospects in the world in Erik Brannstrom, let alone the best blue line prospects of any team who wanted him.
You really want temporary upgrades in scoring by gauging out the defense or center depth? In what could be Zdeno Chara’s last year?
So yeah, they missed out on a lot of the bigger names, names that for the time being would’ve made a huge difference...but so did a lot of the immediate problems for Boston, which is looking an awful lot like Toronto and Tampa again. And that’s important because for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the flaws of their (all but confirmed at this point because we can’t get away from them the restraining orders don’t work in canada) first round and second round opponents didn’t leave either. If god forbid they run into the Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference final and they get smoked by all the acquisitions they ended up doing, then yeah, we can all get good and properly unhappy with Don. But as it is? You could’ve done way, way worse or have ended up way, way worse.
...You could’ve been Pittsburgh for example, who had the temerity to pick up Erik Gudbranson when they already had a perfectly good Jack Johnson sucking all over the ice.
One could look at this deadline performance like...vegetables on your plate. Like Broccoli. Flavorwise, it’s okay. It’s definitely no meat or cheese or whatever the main course is that makes your mouth water, but it’s a very solid veggie that keeps well and can be flexible on your plate. All this on top of being quite good for you. Sure, you’d rather have the mac n’ cheese or maybe side chips, but for what it is? It’s filling, and it gets the job done.
Besides, you already have your main course, with a slight extra helping coming...eventually.