Are you ready? It’s that wonderful time of year again when trade rumormongers start spreading infectious tales of this player going to that team, and that player going to this team. Here in Canada, we get the pleasure of hearing that basically every player in the NHL is going to get traded to the Leafs at the deadline.
If you’re like me, you get tired of the false rumors pretty quickly, so don’t worry: this is not one of those articles. Instead, this article is going to suggest something that may seem crazy: The best move that the Bruins can make at the deadline is no move at all.
Why? Several reasons.
Firstly, the available names out there are good, but not great. It’s true that a guy like Chris Kreider or Kyle Palmieri would probably make the Bruins better in the short term, but is either player really the difference between the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup or not winning the Cup? Would either be worth the expensive price tag that would be needed to see them in a Bruins uniform?
One indication about the type of boost these players might bring is their past playoff performances:
- Chris Kreider - 0.48 pts/per game
- Kyle Palmieri - 0.39 pts/per game
- Tyler Toffoli - 0.44 pts/per game
- Danton Heinen - 0.27 pts/per game
All three of the popular names being mentioned in Bruin trade rumors are an upgrade from Heinen offensively, but not by a great deal.
Looking a little deeper, Heinen’s possession metrics are much higher than Kreider and Palmieri, but fall short of Toffoli’s strong CF% of 56.1 and FF% of 56. It’s also difficult to determine how a player plays when moving to a new team. Every year, we see deadline deals that work out great and others that are a complete bust. With Heinen and the rest of the Bruins RW’s you already know what you’ll get from them.
The wild card in the search for a right winger that won’t cost the Bruins a thing: Karson Kuhlman. To this point he has not shown the offensive abilities of the trade options mentioned; however the coaching staff felt highly enough about him to give him regular shifts on the 2nd line before he got injured.
The second, and maybe most important reason that the Bruins should stay quiet before the deadline, is that adding a player now means subtracting later. If the Bruins do make a move for one of the names above or another similar caliber player, it is going to cost the Bruins dearly.
The deal the Jets made last season at the deadline to acquire Kevin Hayes is probably similar to what the Bruins would have to pay to snag a bonafide right wing. The Jets traded Brendan Lemieux, a 1st rd pick and a conditional 4th rd pick to the Rangers in exchange for Hayes.
The thing is, the Bruins have a great lineup right now. However, to this observer, the future is not looking as bright. Jack Studnicka and John Beecher look promising up front, and Urho Vaakanainen looks like he’ll be a really solid dman some day, but that’s about it right now for high-quality prospects in the Bruins’ system. If the Bruins make a move at the deadline, it may mean losing one of these players, as well as high draft picks...picks the Bruins will desperately need someday soon to restock the prospect cupboard; especially given that next offseason will likely be the first real transition year for the team in a good long while.
The last reason that the Bruins should not make a move at the deadline is that they are good enough as it is to contend for the Stanley Cup. As of January 12th, the Bruins are tied for 1st in the league standings. This is comforting to some, but in reality, the Bruins’ incredible start to the season is the primary reason why they sit where they are in the standings.
The current Bruins are not as bad as their recent slump, and probably not as good as their torrid beginning to the season, meaning they really fall somewhere in the middle, which is still pretty damn good. The core of this team, a core that has been to 3 Stanley Cup Finals in the previous decade, is still together and still capable of magic on the ice. Though these veterans are one year older, there are other Bruins who are only getting better.
David Pastrnak is the obvious player in this category, but he’s not alone. McAvoy (although it’s not showing up on the scoreboard) is getting better with every game that passes, and the same can probably be said for Brandon Carlo, Anders Bjork and Jake Debrusk, who has recently found his scoring touch again. If the Bruins do decide to make a deal before the deadline, perhaps instead of chasing the elusive right winger, they should consider adding a right-handed defenceman instead.
While Carlo and McAvoy are locks on defense, it would be nice to have another option on the right side besides Steven Kampfer or a lefty like John Moore to sure up the 3rd defense pairing.
What would you like to see the Bruins do before the deadline?
This poll is closed
Go all in and deal for a right winger
Make a modest move before the deadline like a RH defenseman
No moves, Just keep the team the way they are