They’re not a bad enough team to get a legitimate chance at winning the lottery and they’re not a good enough team to contend for the Stanley Cup. They’re literally stuck in the middle, a spot where nobody wants to be.
After winning the President’s Trophy as the league’s best regular season team during the 2013-14 season the Bruins were eliminated in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by their arch rival, the Montreal Canadiens.
Since that season the Bruins have yet to find their way back into the playoff picture. They’ve spent much of the last two seasons in the playoff picture only to collapse in the end both years and fall out of the playoffs during the final week of the season.
What makes those recent collapses so haunting for Bruins fans is the fact that the Bruins were “buyers” at the last two trade deadlines. They went out and sold picks and prospects to bring in pieces that were supposed to help they make a deep run. They failed not once, but twice.
At the 2015 deadline they gave up two 2nd round picks for Brett Connolly, and Jordan Caron and a 6th round pick for Maxime Talbot and Paul Carey. Carey never dressed for the B’s and Talbot and Connolly combined for 11 goals and 26 assists in 132 games for the Bruins between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
The 2016 deadline was the same story. The Bruins dropped a 2nd and a 4th round pick on Lee Stempniak who put up three goals and seven assists in 19 games for the B’s before leaving for Carolina in free agency. They also dropped Anthony Camara, a 3rd round pick in 2016, and a 5th round pick in 2017 for John-Michael Liles. Liles hasn’t been terrible for the Bruins, but the black and gold haven’t exactly gotten a ton from him since the trade (Liles is currently out with a concussion).
Over the last two trade deadlines the Bruins have lost two players and seven draft picks for four players, three of whom are no longer with the team. In other words, the Bruins have been a disaster at the trade deadline recently.
With their current standing in the league, it looks like the B’s could be buyers at the deadline again. They are currently holding on to a playoff spot and will need to add pieces if they want to be a contender. However, unless they find a way to grab Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, or someone else extremely talented, they’re not going to get the pieces they need to be a contender. In other words, they’re not going to be a contender this season.
So how about this….be sellers at the deadline.
They don’t have to be big time sellers. I’m not saying to raffle off guys like David Krejci, David Pastrnak, or Brad Marchand to the highest bidder. It’s guys like Ryan Spooner, Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid, and Matt Beleskey that the Bruins should look into trying to trade.
Obviously those aren’t the prettiest of names being thrown around, but they can all play roles as depth guys on teams that will be contenders (well, maybe). These guys can also bring in some picks for the B’s, something they’ve lost at recent deadlines.
Talent in the NHL takes time to grow. The Bruins currently have a roster littered with 2nd and 3rd round draft picks including Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner, and Brandon Carlo. 2nd and 3rd round picks in the NHL can be extremely valuable, which is why the Bruins should be looking to acquire some at the deadline.
They currently own Edmonton’s 2nd round pick in the 2017 draft and do not have a 3rd round pick. That is not going to help this franchise grow its farm system.
Teams have been known to overpay at the trade deadline, just look at what the Bruins have done the last two seasons. So why not make teams overpay for the talent you have to offer?
Guys like Spooner, Miller, and McQuaid won’t bring you in a 1st round pick, heck, with the exception of Spooner, they probably won’t bring in a 2nd round pick. But there’s no doubt they can get the Bruins a 3rd round pick at best.
The team isn’t going anywhere and they will have some important contract decisions to make this offseason. Getting rid of some veterans at the deadline would be beneficial for the B’s this season. It would solve a few future contract issues and would help them re-stock on draft picks.
If they keep their top end talent they’ll still be a team that contends for a playoff spot and they won’t be losing anything from it. In fact, they’ll just be gaining picks and experience for young players, something that is important in the league today.
So Don Sweeney, please don’t be a buyer this season. Don’t bring in Lee Stempniak or Brett Connolly part II. Instead, sell some pieces, let the young guys learn and try to convince your owner that this is the beneficial route. This is the route that will get you back on a winning track sooner rather than later. Sell, sell, sell.