With the NHL trade deadline now less than a week away let’s take a look at GM Don Sweeney. With trades already being made for the players the Bruins were reportedly interested in it's only a matter of time till Sweeney pulls the trigger. But the question remains, why wait in the first place if we are going to make a move? To find that answer we are going to look back at some past deadline deals.
During the 2019 deadline the Bruins made some key additions that are still helping the team now. First Charlie Coyle was brought to the Bruins for prospect Ryan Donato and a 5th round pick in that year's draft. The other big move was moving a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick for Marcus Johansson. Both of these players were a huge part of the team making it to the Stanley Cup finals, with Coyle now being locked up for many years to come.
The 2018 deadline was a busy one seeing the Bruins make three additions. Tommy Wingles was the smallest move made sending out a 2019 conditional 5th round pick which became a 4th round pick in the same year. The biggest move of Sweeney’s tenure was the Rick Nash trade. The Bruins acquired the power forward for Ryan Spooner, Matt Belesky, prospect Ryan Lindgren, and two draft picks (a 2018 first-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick). The final addition that year was bringing in defenseman Nick Holden for defenseman Rob O’Gara and a 2018 third-round pick. This was the first and only time Sweeney moved a first-round pick. Nash’s concussion issues forced his early retirement, and that could be contributing to why Sweeney has yet to move a first this year.
The 2017 deadline was rather quiet, with the Bruins only adding depth forward Drew Stafford for a 2018 conditional sixth-round pick. 2016 saw two moves made, including trading a 2017 second-round pick and a 2016 fourth-round pick for Lee Stempniak. The other trade was acquiring defenseman John-Michael Liles for Anthony Camara, a 2016 third-round pick, and a 2017 fifth-round pick.
This Year and Future Deals
So far this deadline two players the Bruins reportedly had an interest in have been moved. Blake Coleman was traded to Tampa for a 2020 first-round pick and 2019 first found pick, defensive prospect Nolan Foote. So Tampa gave up two first-round picks essentially for a depth forward with some term left on his deal. The second player was Tyler Toffoli, who was traded to Vancouver. Toffoli was moved for a 2020 second-round pick, Tim Schaller, 2018 third-round pick Tyler Madden and a 2022 conditional pick. To Sweeney, both of those prices may have been too steep for the impact each player may have had here.
As I said earlier Sweeney has only moved a first-round pick once, and it did not have the long term payoff he was hoping for. While other teams are scrambling to outbid each other for their targeted additions, Sweeney seems content to sit back and let the dust settle before making a move. With the Bruins currently having the most points in the league, it's hard to blame Sweeney for wanting to make sure any trade is the right trade. An NHL locker room is a fragile entity. Sending out the wrong player, or bringing in the wrong player, could have severe consequences. Teams are selling players for a reason. Either they will soon be free agents walking away for nothing, or they no longer fit the team's plans. Sweeney knows this, and as the deadline draws closer prices may drop as teams fear losing a player for nothing in the summer. That's not to say this isn't a dangerous game, as a team could come in and not care about overpaying. With several potential fits still on the market it looks like a game Sweeney is willing to play.
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