Boston Bruins forward Drew Stafford had a solid first showing with the Black and Gold in the B’s 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden.
When Bruce Cassidy grabbed forward Drew Stafford at the trade deadline, the Boston Bruins interim head coach was looking for someone who could improve the B’s middle six forwards. That’s where Stafford found himself tonight against the New Jersey Devils. He started out on the third line (predictably sending Jimmy Hayes to the ninth level) but then was moved up to the second line later in the game.
Stafford came in to the game determined to make an impact. He did that. He ended up being awarded First Star of the Game honors for his performance.
Stafford found himself acting as a mentor on third line. The veteran blueliner was being used to not only play some solid hockey, but also to help Ryan Spooner and Frank Vatrano stay focused throughout the game. Ryan Spooner did end up scoring the winning goal in the third period for Boston.
Stafford ended up getting his first points as a Bruin tonight. He earned an assist on Spooner’s game winning goal. Stafford briefly earned his first goal on the power play in the second period, but once again team zebra came down on the side of the enemy, taking Stafford’s goal on Cory Schneider away from him.
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Stafford’s debut numbers were impressive. four hits, an assist, and a +1 rating. That’s a lot of work for 14:07. In the end Stafford had seven shots on goal tonight. Now compare that to the eight shots Jimmy Hayes put up…through the entire month of February.
At this point, the Bruins organization need to sit down and decide the fate of Jimmy Hayes. Are they going to keep him as an extra body when (or if) the Bruins get to the postseason? Will they put him on the waiver wire in the hopes that another NHL team will take him off their hands? Or will he be the Joe Morrow of the forwards, forever content to guard the popcorn machine and dream of the days when he was the Hayes brother that was the ‘Pride of Dorchester’.
Granted, it’s just one game. But it’s a strong indication of what Bruins general manager Don Sweeney saw in Stafford. At the moment, Stafford is only costing the Bruins a sixth-round pick. At the moment, that’s a fantastic bargain.