The trade deadline has come and gone with the Bruins making a pair of trades. Were these the trades everyone was looking for? Did they improve the team enough to make a cup run? Let’s take a look at what the trades we’re and how they affect the team moving forward.
The first trade the Bruins made sent David Backes, prospect Axel Andersson and their 2020 first-round pick to the Ducks for Ondrej Kase. The Bruins retained 25% of the salary on the Backes contract ($1.5 Million). The second trade would see the Bruins send Danton Heinen to the Ducks for Nick Ritchie. This was just a straight one for one deal with no salaries retained.
The first an most obvious way these moves affect the team moving forward is the increased cap space. With the Backes trade freeing up just under $2 Million even with the $1.5 Million in retained salary. The Ritchie deal also freed up $1.3 Million in space, for a total of about $3.2 Million. Now 3.2 million might not seem like a huge savings against the cap, but when we take into account that the Bruins also added two top 9 forwards to the roster and saved that amount of cap it’s a pretty impressive accomplishment. That money could be enough to sign Debrusk to a bridge deal for the next few seasons. It could be used to keep Bjork and Grzelcyk as both are restricted free agents this summer. Moving the Backes contract also means the Bruins can move some of the smaller contracts like John Moore’s, and it will have a noticeable impact.
The next aspect to look at is the new players impact on the ice. Ritchie looks to be the more straight forward player to analyze. Drafted 10th overall back in 2014, Ritchie was supposed to bring a blend of size, speed, and skill making him one of the premier power forwards in the league. To this point that hasn’t happened. However for the Bruins Ritchie fills a need, that being the need for another big-bodied forward who could handle the more physical nature of the playoffs. Ritchie likely isn’t going to be the second coming of Neely, but if he can pitch in 10-15 goals and be a physical force while also protecting our star players he will be well worth the price it cost to bring him in
Ondrej Kase is the wild card. A former 7th round pick, also in the 2014 draft, Kase has shown flashes of immense skill but has also struggled to stay in the ice. With two concussions and a shoulder surgery Kase has had his fair share of bad luck. When he has been on the ice he has already had a 20 goal season. Kase even scored twenty points in thirty games sandwiched between one of those concussions and the shoulder injury. Ondrej will likely play on the second line with Krejci and Debrusk, giving him ample opportunities to flash his speed and scoring prowess. If and it’s a big if Kase is healthy he could be a thirty goal scorer for years to come finally solidifying the second line.
Both of these trades addressed a major need for the Bruins. First depth scoring with Kase, and then the lack of physicality in the forward group with Ritchie. Coming from the Ducks a team in full rebuild mode, a chance to play for the cup might see both players take their games to new heights. The best part of these deals is netting the potential that Kase brings to the second line. Kase was a huge part of the Ducks offense according to advanced metrics, and now on a much more balanced offensive team, he will have the opportunity to shine. If Ritchie can even realize half the potential that made him the 10th overall pick in his draft the Bruins third line should be one of the best in the playoffs and next season. I can not wait to see both of these players in the lineup and am hoping they are big parts of the bright future this team has. As always keep checking back for all the latest Boston sports news on all your favorite teams.
Featured image courtesy of NBC Sports.com