Boston Bruins: Why the Johnny Boychuk trade still hurts.


Oct 23, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders defenseman

Johnny Boychuk

(55) dives to block a shot during the third period against the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

“This doesn’t make us better now, obviously. But it’s  something that, when I look at it in a series of steps, I think we made the right move.” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli on the Johnny Boychuk trade

Peter Chiarelli thought this would be a good idea. In a ‘series of steps’, it would lead to good things for the Bruins. Well, I think we can all agree that first step is turning out to be a rough one.  Going into the season, the Bruins certainly had a surplus of defensemen.  This gave the Black and Gold some room to maneuver. While the B’s had nine NHL caliber players ready, there should have been a caveat attached to that number.

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  • Zdeno Chara is thirty seven years old, and the B’s were still relying on him for a lot of minutes on the ice. Dennis Seidenberg is coming back from having his knee rebuilt. Adam McQuaid was also coming back from a season ending injury. Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton are doing well, but they’re pretty young.  Matt Bartkowski is still playing Jekyll and Hyde hockey. So, how did the Bruins choose to resolve their surplus issue? They chose to trade away the only reliable veteran defenseman left on the squad without health issues for draft picks.

    The trade had an almost Torontonian feel to it. All that was missing was a bag of magic beans and Andrew Raycroft.

    “This deal was born out of couple things,” said Chirelli at the trade announcement. ” One, our cap situation, two, as I said, trying to be proactive on team planning,” said Chiarelli. “I look at this a little bit globally. This may be one in the series of two or three steps throughout the course of the year, and I wish I could do everything at once.”

    We knew the Bruins were in cap hell. (A totally self-inflicted cap hell.) The Bruins could have done several things that could have solved their defensive dilemmas without causing this level of chaos. When Matt Bartkowski filed for salary arbitration, it looked like the Bruins could get rid of a non productive player and not worry about his salary. Then the B’s chose to accept the arbitration ruling and pay him $1.25 million for this year.

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    The Bruins had options they could have used to alleviate some of their trouble. Instead, they chose to hang Torey Krug and Reilly Smith out to dry through most of training camp.  Tonight, Coach Claude Julien called out Reilly Smith for a poor performance tonight. He claimed he was a little behind due to missing most of camp. To be fair, that is not Smith’s fault.  Smith took $1.4 million (along with Krug) so they could get back on the ice. It’s safe to say both of them are worth at least two million. You can’t blame a player for issues that stem from the front office.

    So with Zdeno Chara’s injury added to Kevan Miller, the Bruins are down to five defensemen.

    Now, the B’s are going to have to double down on Dougie Hamilton and hope that the twenty one year old is ready to soak up an incredible amount of minutes. He had some rough play during the San Jose game, and he totally lost track of the puck on the Frans Nielsen goal tonight.  They’ll have to call up someone to fill in from Providence, and a lot of these issues could have been avoided if the B’s had many a move that didn’t involve trading Johnny Boychuk.