Boston Bruins Fallout Of Not Trading Johnny Boychuk

Boston Bruins Fallout Of Not Trading Johnny Boychuk Two Years Ago

The Boston Bruins traded away Johnny Boychuk two years ago in exchange for two second-round draft picks. The trade was a very unpopular one at the time and it was masked as a “salary cap move”. In a defense-hungry NHL where right-handed blue-liners are a premium, it seems ridiculous to think that Boychuk was the best option for the Bruins to trade – especially given the minuscule return they got for him.

Just for fun, let’s look at the potential fall-out that would have occurred following a Dennis Seidenberg trade, rather than a Johnny Boychuk trade.

In a perfect world, the Boston Bruins don’t trade away Boychuk, but instead, trade Seidenberg, who happened to suffer a season-ending injury in Boychuk’s last season in Boston. Seidenberg managed to tear his ACL and MCL, which forced him out of action for the entire second-half of the season, which gave Boychuk the chance to play top-pairing minutes for the Bruins as opposed to the second-pairing minutes he was usually given.

As a member of the Boston Bruins, Boychuk was never a factor on the score-sheet. In his first season in Providence, the Edmonton-native managed to post 20 goals and 65 points in 78 games, but that never translated into NHL success as a member of the Bruins’ big club as his career high in Boston was five goals and 23 points in his final year with the club. prior to his 23 point-career high, Boychuk never recorded more than 16 points in a season.

After being traded to the New York Islanders, Boychuk showed an ability to score more (nine goals in each of his first two seasons with the Isles) as well as produce points more consistently with 35 and 25 points respectively. The increase in points in his last year in Boston and his first two years in New York can be directly attributed to his top-pairing role as opposed to his second-pairing role, and his power play time in New York also helps.

Dennis Seidenberg, on the other hand, has never fully recovered from his knee injury. While it’s true that Seidenberg played in all of the Bruins’ 82 games the following season, it was clear that the German-born defender was a shell of his former self. Injuries struck Seidenberg again during the 2015-16 season and limited him to only 61 games.

The Bruins’ would have been smart to trade away the older Dennis Seidenberg who was still considered a legitimate top-pairing defenseman prior to the 2014-15 season, even if the return would have been less than two second-round draft picks as a result of the concern for his injury. The result of trading away Seidenberg instead of Boychuk would have meant that the Bruins wouldn’t have had the picks to acquire Brett Connolly at that year’s trade deadline, and the team would have likely addressed a different trade route to help them towards a playoff appearance.

Keeping Boychuk on the Bruins’ top-pairing would have kept some of the Bruins’ less experienced defenders outside of such high-pressure situations over the last two seasons, and the team would have also kept some of it’s tough mentality that they lost as a result of losing Milan Lucic, Johnny Boychuk, and Shawn Thornton in such a small time-span.

The Bruins might have actually made the playoffs over the last two seasons if they simply would have traded away Seidenberg instead of Lucic. In addition, they probably wouldn’t have signed both Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller to such large contracts to simply sit on the Bruins bottom pairing as insurance policies due to their tough attitudes and gritty style of play.

The money spent on either Miller or McQuaid coupled with the subtraction of Seidenberg from the roster would have more than paid for Boychuk’s eventual seven year, $6,000,000 per season contract that he signed with the Islanders shortly after being traded. The length of the contract might have been worrisome for the Bruins, but given their willingness to extend worse defensemen for relatively worse cap-hits, Boychuk’s demands likely wouldn’t have been an issue.

As it stands, the Bruins did trade away Boychuk. He’s currently enjoying top-pairing minutes on an up-and-coming New York Islanders team that greatly appreciates his contributions to their franchise. The Boston Bruins, on the other hand, are paying Seidenberg $4,000,000 per season for the next two seasons. There has been contemplation of a Dennis Seidenberg buy-out as of late, which could have been avoided if the Bruins would have known then, what they know today.