Boston Bruins: Assessing the trade deadline acquisitions

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 23: New Jersey Devils winger Marcus Johansson (90) looks to pass as he gains the blue line during a game between the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils on January 23, 2018, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Devils 3-2. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 23: New Jersey Devils winger Marcus Johansson (90) looks to pass as he gains the blue line during a game between the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils on January 23, 2018, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Devils 3-2. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins closed out deadline day with the acquisition of winger Marcus Johansson. Earlier, they acquired center Charlie Coyle in exchange for Ryan Donato and a fifth round pick.

These two moves undoubtedly made the Boston Bruins a better team overall. Although they didn’t acquire Mark Stone, the B’s effectively managed their assets and acquired the guys they thought would be the best fit for their team without an mass over-spend on either Charlie Coyle or Marcus Johansson.

Let’s assess these moves rationally, shall we?

Charlie Coyle

The Charlie Coyle trade is one that will help the Boston Bruins even out their struggling offensive core. Well, they haven’t really been struggling to score as of late.

Charlie Coyle provides depth as the third line center while also giving Bruce Cassidy the option to slot him in on David Krejci‘s right wing if needed.

Although the Bruins gave up Donato and a fifth round pick to acquire Coyle, it was a smart move.

Considering Coyle is only 26-years-old, I think we can expect to see great things from him in the future. His seven-year NHL career has been good thus far and he has tremendous upside for Boston down the stretch.

Donato was and still is highly unproven. His skating isn’t the best and he lacks any sort of defensive capabilities. He’s a very one dimensional player at the moment who is a power-play specialist at most.

Not to say that Donato won’t have a successful NHL career, because he will, but he needs to improve his game fast if he wants to remain in the Minnesota Wild lineup.

The fifth round pick Boston gave up could become a fourth round pick if the B’s win the first round of the playoffs and move on. Which hey, I mean, not bad at all.

Overall, a great trade by Don Sweeney.

Marcus Johansson

Acquiring Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils was a very smart move. Sweeney needed to give up minimal to acquire the winger.

The price for Johansson was a 2019 second round pick and 2020 fourth round pick. Considering the B’s like to go cheap at the deadline, this was a steal.

Marcus Johansson is a very versatile player who can provide depth and scoring in a top-nine roll.

The 28-year-old has 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) through 48 games with the Devils this season. Not bad for a winger who was concussed earlier in the season by none other than Brad Marchand.

Johansson isn’t the big move everybody had hoped for, but it was the right move.

The B’s managed to retain Urho Vaakanainen, Jack Studnicka, Jakub Lauko, Jakub Zboril, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Jeremy Lauzon and Trent Frederic. Keeping those guys in the pipeline has made his deadline a successful one for Sweeney.


Overall, these two players provide more depth than the Boston Bruins could’ve imagined at first glance. They filled holes in both the third line center and second line winger positions.

Scenario 1:

There are a few ways I see the lineup working out in the future. With David Pastrnak out of the lineup for at least another two weeks (probably more), this is how I see it panning out:


With David Pastrnak out of the lineup, I believe Marcus Johansson will play alongside David Krejci. He played some right wing with the Washington Capitals so hopefully Bruce Cassidy decides to keep Jake DeBrusk on his normal side.

Scenario 2:

When Pastrnak makes his return to the lineup however, I see the lines panning out like this:


This lineup would provide Boston with four equally good lines. Heinen has played exceptionally well with the Bergeron line so I think he should remain there.

Pastrnak has some chemistry with Krejci so that second line could be a powerhouse down the stretch. Johansson on Charlie Coyle’s right side would provide him with a great scoring winger and that third line overall would be killer. And of course, the fourth line stays the same as always.

Having David Backes and Joakim Nordstrom on the ninth floor is the best for this team considering they both haven’t done much this season.

Scenario 3:

Here’s another scenario with Backes and Nordstrom in the lineup:


This third line is horrid. Both Nordstrom and Backes would just bring Coyle down so essentially I don’t think we’ll see this scenario happen too often.

Scenario 4:

There’s one more scenario I’d like to go over:


I think Cassidy should give this lineup a go. The speed and skill of the third line would work very well together.

Johansson on Krejci’s left side is great, and you’d be able to play Pastrnak on the top line like you normally do.

I worry though that Heinen will regress if he’s put back on the third line. Marchand and Bergeron make him significantly better and take his game to the next level.

Scenario one is good for the moment with Pastrnak out of the lineup but the ideal scenario for me is scenario two

Scenario two provides Boston with four good, equal, scoring lines. If they don’t go for that though, Scenario four is also good.

The one scenario I absolutely do NOT want to see is scenario three. I think Nordstrom and Backes with Coyle is hideous.

Overall, this has been a successful deadline day and I hope the Boston Bruins can keep up the good work.

I would give Sweeney and company a B for this year’s deadline. They didn’t make a splash, however they acquired players that can produce and fill holes needed without giving up too much.