Understandably, there weren’t many people in the Boston Bruins’ orbit talking about the Mike Reilly trade Monday.
That’s nothing against Reilly, of course; most players would play second fiddle to Taylor Hall.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney had himself a busy weekend. He capped things off by acquiring Hall from the Buffalo Sabres early Monday morning, but that was actually Boston’s second move of the night.
A few hours earlier, the Bruins were able to swing a deal with the Ottawa Senators to get Reilly, a puck-moving defenseman in his sixth NHL season. Reilly doesn’t come with the same fanfare as Hall, a former Hart Trophy winner, but Reilly certainly can improve the Bruins down the stretch.
The 27-year-old is no stranger to the Bruins, having spent parts of three seasons with the Canadiens before Montreal traded him to Ottawa last January. He’s an offensive-minded defenseman who comes in with 19 assists in 40 games for the Sens.
Ottawa deployed him differently than Montreal and the Minnesota Wild had before that, with nearly 60 percent of his shifts starting in the defensive zone. That’s a pretty sharp change from even a year ago, when the Habs started him in the offensive zone more than 55 percent of the time.
It is Reilly’s offensive prowess that seems to be his biggest strength, though. Multiple scouting reports laud the Illinois native’s skating ability and mobility, as he fits the profile of a true puck-moving defenseman.
He also has a little touch of his own around the net.
“I think I can help break the puck, and first and foremost, defend and play hard,” Reilly said Monday on a call with reporters. “Then work itself out from there and try to be the fourth guy in the rush, make plays and be supportive with these skilled forwards. I’m definitely excited for that. I was killing some penalties and playing power play a bit in Ottawa here, so whatever’s asked of me, I’m excited to do.”
Reilly, who expects to be ready to play as early as Tuesday against Buffalo, could be a pivotal addition to the Boston blue line. To say the Bruins’ D-corps is banged up right now would be an understatement. With 244 games under his belt, he’s also one of the more experienced blueliners head coach Bruce Cassidy has at his disposal right now.
“I think it’s gonna be a good opportunity here,” Reilly said. ” ? I’m excited to get to work, hopefully just help break the team out here and whatever Bruce is asking me to do, I’m ready to do. Hopefully, I can play a lot of situations to help this team.”