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The Mass Media

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March 4, 2024
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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Trade Deadline Woes

Minutes+before+the+February+29+deadline%2C+the+Boston+Bruins+acquired%26%23160%3BJohn-Michael+Liles+from+the+Carolina+Hurricanes+in+exchange+for+a+third+round+draft+pick%2C+a+fifth+round+draft+pick%2C+and+prospect+Anthony+Camara.

Minutes before the February 29 deadline, the Boston Bruins acquired John-Michael Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a third round draft pick, a fifth round draft pick, and prospect Anthony Camara.

The NHL trade deadline came and went for the Boston Bruins, as well as most teams with the big players like Andrew Ladd and Eric Staal changing hands before the February 29 deadline. The week before, Andrew Ladd went from the Winnipeg Jets to his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks. Also, the weekend before the deadline, Eric Staal was traded from the only team he’s ever played for, the Carolina Hurricanes, to the New York Rangers to play with his brother Marc. Those were the two real big names on the market this year, and after they were gone most buyers were left without anything to buy. The Boston Bruins were a team that desperately needed an upgrade, especially on defense, if they wanted a chance to win in the playoffs; however, the Bruins, once again, took an outside-the-box approach to the deadline, and the question is how they fare heading into the final push for the playoffs.
At the deadline, Boston did the same thing many other teams did until the last 10 minutes before the deadline… nothing. Boston kept its fans on the edge of their seats. We all knew something needed to happen at this trade deadline, but there was just nothing going on trade-wise. The biggest trade to occur was the Dallas Stars acquiring Kris Russell. Finally, word came out that the Bruins had made two trades just before the deadline. The first one was acquiring 35-year-old defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a third round draft pick, a fifth round draft pick, and prospect Anthony Camara. Liles was a -1 rating at the time of the trade as well as 15 points on the season. That is a pretty steep price for that kind of production. The other acquisition was Lee Stempniak from the New Jersey Devils, for whom they gave up a second and a fourth round pick to get. A little pricey, but Stempniak was leadingthe Devils in points so it’s not ridiculous at least. The real problem is that the Bruins brought in Stempniak to training camp last September and cut him. This means if they had only saw him in their team’s plans then, they could have had him on a one year deal and those picks. Not the greatest talent assessment from the Bruins here. The big surprise is the Bruins not being able to trade Loui Eriksson. Eriksson is a pending free agent in the offseason, and many thought the Bruins would not be able to re-sign him. Eriksson is in the middle of his best season in Black and Gold, so there should have been an unwillingness to trade him unless the trade was perfect. It is also possible the Bruins overestimated his market heading into deadline day, which could work in their favor come negotiations this summer.
The deadline is too fresh to know if it was a success for the Bruins yet. My gut says it’s not going to make a major difference, as it is always great to have extra bodies for the stretch run. But really, only Stempniak can make an impact when the Bruins really need help on the blue line, and Liles really is not a capable defenseman. The picks and prospects won’t amount to much so no loss there. Really this deadline will be a missed opportunity. The Bruins wanted a guy like Dan Hamhuis to shore up the blue line but couldn’t get him due to his No Trade Clause. It was possible they could have made something happen before the deadline, but who knows what was available. Ultimately, we have to look at this Bruins team and see that they are actually in a good spot in the division, and trust that going to battle with this team can lead to a meaningful playoff run.