Boston Bruins: Deadline Deals are already paying off

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 27: Tommy Wingels
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 27: Tommy Wingels /

The Boston Bruins hobbled home from a five game road trip after loading up at the NHL trade deadline. Thankfully, the new weapons provided temporary relief for the Bs. However, the entire team will need to be firing on all cylinders for the next stretch as their MVP is sidelined.

The Boston Bruins were dealt a devastating blow on Monday when it was revealed that their leading goal scorer, Patrice Bergeron, was diagnosed with a fractured foot and will be reevaluated in two weeks. This news comes at a time when the Bruins should be rounding into form for the playoffs.

However, their recent five-game road trip left Boston puzzled as the Bruins returned home with a a 2-3-0 record. It should be noted that the Bruins are typically a good road team, but even more disheartening were the losses to bottom of the barrel teams, Vancouver 6-1 and Buffalo 4-1.

The Bruins quest for the Cup became perilous in just 48 hours. The Bruins were seemingly the team to beat Sunday morning after pulling off a blockbuster deal for Rick Nash, but their time as the front runner was short lived.

After losing to the Sabres Sunday, Tampa Bay became nearly unbeatable on Monday, and the Bruins lost their unrivaled warrior Bergeron, on Tuesday. The Bruins are left to quickly pick up the pieces and find their identity as they begin the most significant stretch of the season.

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The Bruins will play 21 games in just over five weeks to finish the season. This includes three games against the Atlantic Division leading Tampa Bay Lightning, and two games against the Metropolitan Division powerhouse Philadelphia Flyers. Arguably, every game left on the schedule is against a formidable foe.

The two weakest teams left to play are the Montreal Canadians the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams will undoubtedly seek some consolation in playing spoiler to their rival, so it is vital that the Bruins don’t overlook these trap games like they did against Buffalo twice recently.

Through the ominous clouds covering the Bruins’ path to the top, there appears to be a small ray of sunshine. Dealing Don’s deadline moves have partially outshined the Bs’ recent misfortune and managed to put a thin band aid on a large wound. The new Bs introduced themselves to Boston by powering the team through another unconvincing performance to survive the Hurricanes and earn two points.

Rick Nash

The Bruins reeled in a 6 foot 4, 212 pound fish from the NY Rangers by piling on the bait in the form of Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, Ryan Lindgren, a 2018 first round draft pick, and a 2019 seventh round draft pick. Nash will be a free agent at the end of the season, but this was a fair price to pay for a world class power forward.

Nash was drafted #1 overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002 and has played in the NHL since then. He is now 33 years old and has played 1051 NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and NY Rangers. During his career he has amassed 800 points. He has played 77 playoff games and tallied 15 goals and 41 postseason points, but has been starved of a Stanley Cup. His hunger to win was apparent in his second game in a Bs’ uniform.

Brian Gionta

Hard not to laugh at the jokes that followed the Bruins’ deals for two elite wingers from another era, Rick Nash and Brian Gionta:

Jokes aside, it’s also hard not to love the signing of Gionta who received a one-year contract worth $700,000 prorated for the rest of the season. The 5 foot 7, 39 year old from Rochester NY makes up for anything he might lack, with leadership. He most recently captained the island of misfit toys at the Olympics, the USA Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey team.

It is surprising he was eligible for the Olympics at all after after submitting 15 goals and 35 points in 82 games as captain of the Buffalo Sabres last season. It is understandable that the Sabres wanted to go in a younger direction, but it’s hard to understand why no NHL team offered him a contract. Nevertheless he is here now in a time of need.

The Bruins’ will almost certainly need his experience that totals 588 points in 1006 games. BUT, even more important is his extensive playoff resume, which boasts 68 points in 112 playoff games and one Stanley Cup title with the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils. Gionta wasn’t in the lineup on Tuesday, but the former Boston College Eagle can still play and help the Bs through the grueling final stretch and in the postseason, if needed.

Tommy Wingels

The 29 year old center from Evanston, Illinois is best known for his five years in San Jose, but has also spent time with the Ottawa Senators and the Chicago Blackhawks over the past two seasons. He has played 430 games in the NHL tallying 60 goals and 78 assists for a total of 138 points. More important to the Bruins are his 8 points in 54 playoff games.

Wingels wore number 57 in his debut for the Bs and at 6 feet tall and 200 pounds he appears to be cut from the same cloth as the members of that 50’s line (Schaller, Kuraly, Acciari). He is a hardworking, physical player, who unleashed a snipe to tie the game against the Canes on Tuesday after setting up Riley Nash to pull the Bs within one goal with under a minute to play in the first.

Wingels is playing on a one-year contract worth $750,000 and was acquired from Chicago for a conditional fifth round pick in the 2019 draft. Don’t be surprised if Boston PD comes knocking on Causeway Street, because Dealing Don committed robbery with this deal.

Next: Patrice Bergeron has Small Foot Fracture

These three are a perfect fit for Boston. The pieces are falling in place after Don Sweeney added power and depth to the lineup. Now Bruce Cassidy must bring the team together amidst adversity and launch an inspired playoff run. Stay tuned for an exciting finish.