The intrigue is over, as the trade deadline has come and gone. For teams around the NHL, what you see is what you get, with the exception of a handful of AHL call-ups.
The Bruins made just two moves this trade season, acquiring Ondrej Kase in exchange for David Backes, Axel Andersson, and a 2020 1st-round pick, then acquiring Nick Ritchie in exchange for Danton Heinen.
Have your say on each deal below!
(Note: If you don’t see the polls, you may be on mobile...if that’s the case, you’re out of luck, but you can leave your votes in the comments.)
Trade 1: Acquiring Ondrej Kase
My grade: B+
How would you grade the Ondrej Kase deal?
This poll is closed
Why? Kase fits a need for the Bruins, though it remains to be seen exactly which need he’s going to fill. To start, it seems like he’s going to be at 2RW, and he should be a pretty good fit with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.
In the event that 2RW doesn’t work out, he can slide to 3RW and should be able to play a Marcus Johansson-esque role...that worked out pretty well last year.
Giving up most of David Backes’ contract is arguably the biggest asset in this deal, but that’s also why this trade gets a grade in the B range instead of the A range: lots of people are giving Don Sweeney credit for getting out from under the Backes deal, but he’s the one who signed that deal in the first place.
Regardless, the freed-up cap space will be big this offseason. Letting Andersson go is a little disappointing as he seemed to have a decent amount of potential, but he was a longer-term project anyways.
The bottom line is that Kase should make the Bruins better, and the extra cap space should give the Bruins a little more flexibility this summer.
Trade 2: Acquiring Nick Ritchie
My Grade: C+
How would you grade the Nick Ritchie deal?
This poll is closed
Why? This trade inspires apathy. It’s whatever. It’s fine. It doesn’t make the Bruins better, nor does it really make them considerably worse. It frees up a bit of salary cap space, which, again, will help this summer.
As others have said, Heinen had probably worn out his welcome here. It’s easy to give Sweeney a hard time about the deal, but it’s hard to blame him entirely for failing to see how far Heinen’s game would fall.
The company line here is that Ritchie will add some grit and toughness to the Bruins’ game, something some segments of the fanbase believe the team desperately needs. It didn’t really work out with Brett Ritchie, nor with Tommy Wingels, or Backes, or...yeah.
Maybe Ritchie will bring a little something extra that will pay off in the playoffs, or maybe he’ll take a bad penalty that’ll cost the team big time. LIFE IS A MYSTERY. If you’re of the opinion that the Bruins need more toughness, you like this trade. If you’re not, you’re probably not a huge fan. Agree to disagree.
Overall, I can’t help but wonder why the Bruins didn’t just wait until the summer if they were determined to get out from underneath Heinen’s deal. If it’s about maximizing cap space, why not deal him for, say, a 4th or 5th at the draft and get rid of all of that money, instead of having to take on a contract that lasts through next year?
Again, it’s probably not worth agonizing over this deal. It’s an average swap (C) with a little bonus for the cap space created (+).