Boston Bruins Build for the Playoffs

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Rick Nash
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: Rick Nash #61 of the New York Rangers high fives teammates in the second period against the Buffalo Sabres during their game at Madison Square Garden on January 18, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins added some big-name players before the trade deadline ends for this season in hopes to help their run in the playoffs. Early Sunday morning, the Bruins finalized a trade with the New York Rangers that gave them forward Rick Nash. Then, hours later, the Bruins signed Brian Gionta despite him being out of the league this entire season. Just prior to the trade deadline, the Bruins traded a 5th round draft pick for Chicago Blackhawks center Tommy Wingels.

Boston Bruins Build With Their Eye on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Nash is in his 15th season and was a popular name at the trade deadline. The value that Nash has is that he is a goal scorer. He currently has 18 this year and his highest-ever total of 42 goals came only three seasons ago. Nash has made a name for himself on the score sheet, making him a perfect fit for the Bruins right now.

The Bruins, although they have 22 games remaining, have the playoffs on their mind. In order to get Nash, Boston had to give up some long-term players. Ryan Spooner was the big name to leave the black and gold and had nine goals to his name this season. Despite his low goal total, the Bruins had a lot of promise with Spooner, which leads to some confusion as to why he was dealt. Spooner played well with his now-former linemates, which included 18 assists, and fit into the system that head coach Bruce Cassidy put into place.

Boston also gave up Ryan Lindgren, a University of Minnesota product, and a draft pick in 2016 who had not touched the ice for the Bruins. The Bruins also gave up a 2018 first-round draft pick as well as a 2019 seventh-round pick. Without many big names in the upcoming draft, the first-rounder almost seems insignificant considering where the Bruins may place at the end of the season.

Along with the deal went Matt Beleskey, who came to Boston from Anaheim as a free agent a short time ago. Beleskey, although no longer a long-term player, was highly anticipated when he first arrived but didn’t produce numbers that were expected of him. In 14 games this season, he had no goals or assists.

Adding Brian Gionta

Aside from the trade with the Rangers, the Bruins also picked up Brian Gionta after the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Gionta captained Team USA and drew their attention despite the disappointing run by the team. Gionta was only signed through the remainder of the season – a rather obvious sign of the Bruins intentions.

The former captain of the Montreal Canadiens will have to warm up to the team he rivaled for five years. In the 2011 series between the two teams, Gionta scored three times, including the game-winner in Game 6.

Trading for Tommy Wingels

The Bruins seem to have no worries about who their eventual draft picks may be – and adding Wingels suggests that the Bruins are satisfied with their younger players. Adding Wingels gives them a player with some experience, but is not at the end of his career. He has only played for eight seasons, mostly with the San Jose Sharks. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Wingels has only had two breakout seasons in his career and, this season, has only scored seven goals in 57 games for the Blackhawks. What Wingels does provide, however, is more of a long-term presence, as he fits as a solid fourth-line center who has experience in the league.

What’s Next for Boston

Nash and Gionta have both played in the league for 15 seasons. Any idea that these are long-term players is almost non-existent. They are both additions to the team in order to add reliable depth and league experience because they want to make a deep run for the Stanley Cup. It is a move the Bruins have used before, specifically 2011. That year, the Bruins added forwards Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly, both veterans who could give them the extra push for the cup, either in goals or leadership. The trades paid off that year and they lifted the Cup in Vancouver.

 

Main Image Credit: NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 18: Rick Nash #61 of the New York Rangers high fives teammates in the second period against the Buffalo Sabres during their game at Madison Square Garden on January 18, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

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