How much stock should the Boston Bruins put into a lesson they learned 25-plus years ago?
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski on Thursday identified the Bruins’ worst NHL trade deadline move as the 1994 swap, which sent forward Joe Juneau from Boston to the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Al Iafrate. The trade failed to spur the Bruins to a higher level, and the New Jersey Devils eliminated them in the second round of the NHL playoffs that season. Furthermore, Iafrate’s contributions in Boston paled in comparison to Juneau’s in Washington.
“The Bruins were correct that Juneau wouldn’t get back to the 103-point heights of his best season,” Wyshynski wrote. “They didn’t know that Iafrate would see his career cut short by injuries. But the fact remains that they flipped a player who’d go on to put up decent numbers for the next decade. (For the record, this one runs neck and neck with the Rick Nash deal.)”
That was then, but this now.
The Bruins held their No. 2 spot in ESPN’s NHL power rankings, following a Thursday to Thursday ranking week, in which they defeated the Arizona Coyotes, lost to the Detroit Red Wings and bounced back with a victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
NHL.com also pegged the Bruins No. 2 in its NHL power rankings for the second consecutive week. Dan Rosen highlights Tuukka Rask’s fine form and Boston’s mysterious struggles against Detroit in his “hits” and “misses” segments.
Hit: Tuukka Rask is 8-1-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in 11 starts since Dec. 23.
Miss: The Bruins have lost their past five games against the Detroit Red Wings, including four straight in regulation. They play them Saturday and again March 24.
The Bruins trail only the Tampa Bay Lightning in NHL.com’s and ESPN’s NHL power rankings. However, Boston tops the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings by a three-point margin over second-place Tampa Bay, which has a game in hand.
The Bruins’ schedule for this NHL power-ranking period includes Saturday’s home tilt with the Red Wings and visits to the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers on Sunday and Wednesday, respectively.