55 games. That is how many games the Boston Bruins have played this season. They are tied for second place in the league.
That is 66% of the 2017-18 season. Under Bruce Cassidy’s tenure, the Bruins have accumulated 115 points in 82 games (a full season). The league leading Washington Capitals finished last season with 118. It is not just a young team on a hot streak anymore. It is not just a team that caught fire. It is not just a gritty bunch. The 2017-18 version of the Boston Bruins are legit.
The NHL trade deadline is just two weeks away. Many avid Bruins followers want them to stand pat.
The stand pat movement would allow them to keep their slew of talented upcoming prospects. That would make sense considering that there should be another wave of prospects coming up next year. It would further allow the Bruins to make adequate decisions on the prospects worth keeping around.
Until there is a potential to win a Stanley Cup. That changes everything.
The Bruins have a slew of prospects. With David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Tuukka Rask all signed to long-term contracts, cap space will be limited when it comes time to sign young players. Charlie McAvoy will be up after next season since a year of his contract was used during last years playoffs. The Bruins are not sending him anywhere. You would also think that guys like Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen, and Jake DeBrusk will want to be kept around after already being key contributors on a good team.
Having so many prospects make some of the expandable. It would be impossible to keep all of them. GM Don Sweeney built up these prospects for this exact reason. It is already paying dividends, why not cash in more by using those assets on a guy who can help lead you to the ultimate goal? Not in three years, but right now.
Any transaction is always a risk. A deadline move would require the Bruins to judge the group of prospects, and make a decision on their potential. I am not a fan of trading a current prospect who is already helping. If you are getting back a veteran presence that can help win you a Stanley Cup, and not giving up any of the present, it’s worth it.
I don’t want Sweeney to completely erase the farm system like Dave Dombroskwi did to the Red Sox. However, losing a couple of prospects to add a guy like Ryan McDonagh is worth it. The Bruins will need another talented veteran presence if they want to make a Cup run. If you have such a talented group of prospects, cash in on them before you realize you can not keep them all and they walk.
The Bruins have been rumored to be in on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh by NHL Network Insider Elliot Friedman.
McDonagh is a tough-nosed captain worthy defenseman that could fill a missing piece alongside Brandon Carlo. The Rangers have struggled so far and are sitting out of the playoff structure. In a deal for him, Torey Krug and prospects would be what I am willing to give up. I think that’s a no brainer.
McDonagh’s contract goes into next season with a 4.7 million cap hit. The Bruins currently have limited cap room, but it is rumored to be going up next season.
If the Bruins were to deal prospects, it is anyone’s guess as to who they would give up. It would likely be someone not currently on the team since no one worth giving up would be wanted by the Rangers or another team. Someone to keep an eye on is current Harvard forward Ryan Donato. Donato has scored 21 goals in 23 games for the Crimson Tide. Donato made the US Olympic team with NHLers no longer being allowed to participate. If Donato has a good Olympics, it could be at the perfect time for the black and gold.
If Sweeney can get a deal that does not limit the Bruins cap flexibility moving forward, I think he does it. It would require the right contract at the right length. They need the flexibility to sign some of their young talent moving forward. I think the Bruins acknowledge their chances of a Cup Run, and make a move for a legitimate veteran talent on or before February 26th.