The Boston Bruins Should Avoid Trade Deadline Additions Regardless of How Close the Team is to the Playoffs
A Boston Bruins trade should be avoided this offseason if it involves adding to the roster. The Bruins are a middle-of-the-pack team. In a crowded Atlantic division, many teams are. The Bruins have also played in more games than every other team in the league – tied with Calgary and Winnipeg at 51. Their current playoff position is likely a result of the number of games they’ve played, and they’ve shown time and time again that they aren’t a playoff team.
It’s not a matter of skill or potential. The team has shown that they can dominate games in the past. It’s not a matter of the coach or the general manager making questionable calls. The issue that the Bruins are facing comes down to consistency. Without a consistent effort put forward every single game, with a set gameplan that’s adapted depending on the team they’re playing, the Bruins will continue to falter. As it stands, they don’t appear to be heading towards the playoffs, though once again, they’re close.
This puts the Bruins in a dangerous situation. It’s been well documented that head coach Claude Julien is feeling pressure from general manager Don Sweeney. In a vicious cycle, this is due to the fact that Sweeney is feeling pressure from team president Cam Neely, who in turn, is feeling pressure from the Jacobs’ family – the owners of the Boston Bruins.
Deadline Additions are Expensive
At this time of year, it’s a slippery slope when teams talk trades. Sellers – team’s looking to sell off their players in search of long-term benefits such as prospects and draft picks are looking to maximize the return their receive for their players. This was made evident once again recently with Elliotte Friedman discussing what is believed to be the initial asking price for Martin Hanzal from Arizona.
Friedman mentions that when talking to the Montreal Canadiens, the price was extremely high. For Hanzal, a pending unrestricted free agent, the Coyotes asked for Michael McCarron – a first round draft pick from 2013, a first round pick in 2017, and a conditional draft pick.
Who is Hanzal?
To put this in perspective, Hanzal is also a former first-round draft pick from the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a large center at 6 foot 6 and 226 pounds, and he plays a strong two-way game, though this season has seen him struggle more than others. Still, a change of scenery could fix that. With this trade, the Canadiens could be acquiring a second line center who is capable of logging tough minutes – though that likely wouldn’t be the case.
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As it stands, Hanzal has played in just 39 of the Coyotes 47 games – which isn’t uncommon for Hanzal, who has missed time in every season since his debut in 2007-08. Over the last seven seasons (including the lockout shortened season) Hanzal has played in 369 of a possible 505 games. He has only played in 70 or more games three times (all coming in his first three seasons), including a career-high 81 games in 2009-10.
In his 39 games this season, Hanzal has scored 10 goals and 18 points. He’s also compiled a minus-15 rating, and though he’s playing top line minutes in Arizona, he’s better suited as a bottom-six forward on a contending team. His career-high in goals is 16 and his career high in points is 41 – the latter of which came last season in 64 games. Hanzal clearly has potential to be a 50-plus point scorer every season, but his issues with injuries have limited him from that.
What Does This Mean For Boston?
Simply put, it means the Bruins need to avoid deadline additions. The team just isn’t built to compete, and shouldn’t throw away their future for a chance to make the playoffs. Not only is the team likely to be eliminated from the postseason in the first round, but they would have also traded away a haul of players and prospects in the process. If the cost of a middle-to-bottom-six player like Hanzal is “commanding” so much, then the Bruins would be wise to steer clear of similar additions.
The Bruins future looks bright. With some very highly regarded prospects coming up through the system quickly, the team could look to turn their fortunes around within the next few seasons. As it stands, however, this team is not a playoff team. The Bruins should not be trading for the now, and if anything, they should be looking to sell come the trade deadline to capitalize on a market full of inflated value.