The good news for the Boston Bruins is they have the NHL’s best record and didn’t really have to add much at Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
The bad news, if you want to call it that, is that Don Sweeney and his team weren’t able to land a game-changing talent like, say, Chris Kreider.
The Bruins didn’t steal the headlines on deadline day, but they didn’t keep quiet, either. Boston acquired power forward Nick Ritchie from the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, a follow-up to its Friday afternoon deal with the Ducks in which it acquired speedy winger Ondrej Kase.
Neither of those moves are the sort of jaw-dropping blockbuster trades we all hope to see ahead of a deadline, but they certainly do address some needs for the Bruins. Not only that, the two moves actually freed up a healthy chunk of salary cap space for Boston, which could be especially valuable this summer when the Black and Gold tries to re-sign defenseman Torey Krug among others.
Really, the Bruins’ moves at the 2020 deadline rival those made a year ago: under the radar and kind of out nowhere. Sweeney and Co. hope Ritchie and Kase will come in and help the team on a deep playoff run in the way Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson did a year ago.
Judging by some of the reactions from around the league, there’s some belief Sweeney has done it again. The Athletic’s Craig Custance gave the Bruins an A-minus for their deadline dealings, but it’s the feedback Custance got from a couple of people inside the sport that stands out.
“(Kase) is a very effective player,” an NHL head coach told Custance. “Competitive. Average to above-average skill. Strong on loose pucks. He will help Boston.”
Meanwhile, Ritchie’s size gives the team an added element that the Bruins didn’t necessarily have with Danton Heinen, the player for whom Ritchie was traded.
“He has different attributes, different size,” a source told Custance. “It gives them some capable heaviness and size, and a guy who can play higher up in your lineup if you choose to put him there.”
The new members of the B’s will hit the ground running. Five of the Bruins’ next six games come against teams currently in the playoff field, including a pair of matchups against a red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning team that sits just five points behind the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings.