Boston Bruins positioned to win now and in the future

Boston Bruins defenseman Dmitry Orlov (81) is congratulated at the bench after his goal against the Buffalo Sabres. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Bruins defenseman Dmitry Orlov (81) is congratulated at the bench after his goal against the Buffalo Sabres. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Bruins probably didn’t need to make a move in advance of the NHL trade deadline, but last week they did just that, acquiring defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals for Craig Smith and draft picks.

They followed that up with a deal for Detroit Red Wing Tyler Bertuzzi in exchange for draft picks about a week later.

It wasn’t a seismic move for a superstar player(s), but significant deals to bolster the depth and add more grit and toughness to the team. It’s a move that clearly shows the Bruins are going for the Cup this year. The best thing about the deals, though, is they won’t ruin the franchise for years to come.

The trade made the Boston Bruins better now, without mortgaging the future

For all the criticisms Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney received, he’s made some savvy moves to build this 2022-23 roster. And the latest deals to enhance the team deserves praise.

Must Read. Pros and cons of the Tyler Bertuzzi trade. light

Orlov was on the Stanley Cup-winning Capitals team. That experience should be beneficial for the Bruins come playoffs time, as Orlov won’t be blinded by the bright lights and will be unaffected by the pressure.

Only Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Krejci remain from the 2010-11 Stanley Cup-winning Bruins team. Having another veteran leading by example will make a positive impact on the team.

The 6-2 210-pound Hathaway doesn’t have a Capitals ring, but is known to give bruises. He had 198 hits with the Capitals, which would lead the Boston Bruins. This season will be Hathaway’s third year in a row with at least 200 hits, and the fourth in his career.

Bertuzzi is another gritty presence with a physical game. He’s fearless mucking it up in corners or in front of the net. And the Bruins acquired Bertuzzi at the right time, as he’s starting to hit his stride after returning from injury (six points in his last seven games).

As complete of a team the Bruins are, they could use a little more grit in their game. Hathaway and Bertuzzi have that. With Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno currently out of the lineup due to injuries, the new arrivals come to Boston just in time.

It hasn’t taken long for the trio to contribute. Through four games played, they’ve combined for eleven points. They’ve helped the Boston Bruins stretch their winning streak to 10 games.

Another positive of this deal is Orlov and Hathaway are 31 years old, with plenty of game left in their careers. Bertuzzi is 28, and may still have his best hockey to look forward to. Boston was burned by previous deals for veterans on the tail end of their careers. Glad to see the Bruins learned from their mistakes.

And if Orlov, Hathaway and Bertuzzi don’t play up to expectations, they’re are on expiring deals. So Boston can simply let them walk after the season.

Is giving up six total draft picks and Smith for three depth players and a prospect a lot? You could say yes. But what wasn’t included matters as well.

Not mentioned were Fabian Lysell, Mason Lohri and Jakob Lauko. Because Sweeney didn’t make a deal for a superstar, he didn’t have to sell the farm system and part with any prospects. Lysell, Lohri and Lauko (and others) graduating from the Baby B’s to the Bruins one day remains a possibility, and arguably, a necessity.

Boston has an aging core. At this point Bergeron and Krejci may take it year by year for the rest of their careers if they continue playing after this season. We won’t know when they’re going to hang it up until they decide to do so.

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When they do, Boston will need a new wave of talent. Hopefully they’ll be ready to adjust to the pro game quickly. Lauko is fresh off a two-goal game and has looked comfortable in his appearances this season.  He could be waiting for Lohri and Lysell in Boston as soon as next season.

But by keeping Lysell, Lohri and others, Boston has some prospects that could come in and play in the near future and may be part of a new core.

The next Boston Bruins core will include David Pastrnak. On the same day the Bruins acquired Bertuzzi, Boston finally signed Pasta to a $90 million extension, keeping him in Black and Gold for an additional eight years.

Also not mentioned was Jeremy Swayman. The young goalie could had been included in a deal because he has an expiring contract. That would had ensured the Bruins don’t lose him for nothing if Swayman signs with another team after the season.

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But getting something for Swayman is not worth giving up proven depth behind Linus Ullmark now. It’s expected Boston will ride the Vezina Trophy favorite through playoffs. But Swayman insurance means the Bruins can rest Ullmark in blowouts or pull him if Ullmark is off his game.

Or worse, if Ullmark gets injured. There isn’t another goalie in Providence with the experience and track record Swayman has. He’s half of arguably the NHL’s best goaltending tandem. With the goal in mind, Swayman is the best option in net in case of emergency. A 1A to Ullmark’s 1.

Which makes the Bruins’ trades worth it. It’s one thing if the moves pay off with a Stanley Cup. It’s another if the deal keeps the Boston Bruins competing for the Stanley Cup year after year after year.