The Boston Bruins could have moved draft picks and other assets for short-term improvement to increase their chances of making the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring, but general manager Don Sweeney made the right decision to hold on to those future assets.
The Bruins’ lone move before Wednesday’s 3 p.m. ET NHL trade deadline was acquiring veteran forward Drew Stafford from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a conditional 2018 draft pick.
It’s a nice move at very little cost to add some scoring depth to the bottom-six forward group. Stafford gives the B’s another option if Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes continue to struggle offensively, or if someone suffers an injury.
But on the whole, Boston was right to keep its top prospects and draft picks. Why? Well, the Bruins are playing their best hockey of the season right now. They’re 7-1-0 since Bruce Cassidy became the interim head coach Feb. 7, which has vaulted them into a tie for second place in the Atlantic Division. Their goal scoring and quality of shot attempts improved nicely in February as well.
Breaking up the momentum and confidence the team currently is playing with was a risk, and Sweeney was smart not to take that chance.
The Bruins have built one of the better prospect pools in the league. Boston has made 16 selections over the last two drafts, including nine (!) in the first two rounds. Boston University defenseman Charlie McAvoy arguably is the class of that group, and he appears to be ready for NHL competition later this season when the Terriers’ campaign ends, or at the next training camp in the summer. Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril also could soon compete for a spot soon as defensemen with top-4 potential.
First-round picks Zach Senyshyn and Jake DeBrusk, along with 2014 fifth-round pick Anders Bjork, represent a good amount of skill at forward en route to Boston in the near future.
The Bruins are in a good spot. The team is playing well and there are plenty of quality prospects who will compete for roster spots over the next three years. Disrupting that process could have harmed the short and long-term success of the franchise, and Sweeney made the right call to hold firm.
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