The NHL trade deadline has made the Boston Bruins the team to beat, according to one expert.
NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin argued Thursday the Bruins’ recent trades for Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase have made them the league’s “best post-trade deadline team.” The Bruins already were sitting atop the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings when they acquired Kase and Ritchie from the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and Monday, respectively.
Benjamin explains how their arrivals in Boston might help the Bruins emerge from a hyper-competitive Eastern Conference playoff landscape and reach the promised land this spring.
” … The Bruins came off a disappointing Game 7 home loss to the Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final but have come back just as good as the team that got them to that point,” Benjamin wrote. “They are the stingiest team in the NHL, allowing 2.45 goals per game, and have a goalie (Tuukka Rask) who lost in regulation at home for the first time all season on Tuesday — and it’s the last week of February. They made a couple of additions before the deadline and though I’m not convinced that forward Nick Ritchie, acquired from the Anaheim Ducks, is the answer. I’m intrigued to see the debut of Ondrej Kase — a forward who came in a separate trade with the Ducks, likely as the latest option to fill the always-open void next to David Krejci. This is a team that came as close as you can come to a title last season, returned with largely the same cast and knows that its championship window is closing. It won’t be easy to get back to the Cup Final, with a stacked Eastern Conference (Lightning, Penguins, Washington Capitals), but right now, my money is on the Bruins.”
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has received high grades for the Kase and Ritchie trades, with ESPN among the outlets counting the Bruins among the NHL trade deadline winners. Benjamin shares these opinions, although she stresses how good the Bruins were before Kase and Ritchie joined the team.
Of course, the newest Bruins must gel with their teammates in order to make the expected impact in Boston over the final month-plus of the regular season and beyond. Time will tell, whether they prove Benjamin and Co. correct.