It’s the aftermath of the NHL trade deadline, when not a whole lot happened. Here are a few thoughts and notes about the past, present and future of this Bruins hockey team.
- With only one first-round pick being moved at the deadline – and it was a Chicago first-rounder, so really not all that great of a pick – the Bruins didn’t find a price they liked to move Loui Eriksson. That’s fine, I love Loui, but this does kind of hamper their negotiations with him for an extension. GM Don Sweeney reversed course from selling their top asset and acquired John-Michael Liles and Lee Stempniak for a bunch of picks and prospect. These moves should help them secure a playoff spot, and hopefully will keep them competitive against an Eastern Conference that lacks any real threats beyond Washington.
- Liles and Stempniak made their Bruins debuts in their 2-1 win against Calgary at the Garden on Tuesday, March 1. Noel Acciari also made his NHL debut, centering a new fourth line with Landon Ferraro – who opened up the scoring with his fifth goal of the year – and the demoted Brett Connolly, who lost his first-line spot to Stempniak. The three new additions hardly made an impact, but they also weren’t very noticeable during the game, which I’m taking as a win, since none of them blatantly caused a goal or a loss. Good work, new guys!
- Those two points at home against lesser competition like Calgary were much-needed. The Bruins now embark on a ridiculously tough stretch for their final 18 games. With games against Chicago (twice), Washington, the Florida teams, the three California teams, the Rangers and St. Louis, points will be at a premium. Time to buckle down.
- Though he and Matt Beleskey switched lines against Calgary, keeping Loui Eriksson could work wonders for David Pastrnak. After missing the playoffs last year, Sweeney and company are eager to qualify this season, which makes his decision to add veteran help and hold off on bringing up younger guys a little more understandable. Focusing the youth development on Pasta here, with the help of veteran linemates like Eriksson and David Krejci, is smart. Pastrnak really ought to have a breakout season next year, after which he’ll be due for a raise as an RFA. Exposure in a tough stretch run and any playoff games should help him get off to the 2016-2017 season on the right foot.
- Speaking of Krejci and Pastrnak, the two Davids were named to the Czech Republic Hockey World Cup team. Other Bruins announced so far include Tuukka Rask (Finland) and Loui Eriksson (Sweden). Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are projected to make Team Canada, while Torey Krug could push for a spot on Team USA.