Report: Bruins discussed Vrbata, Kulikov ahead of trade deadline

Report: Bruins discussed Vrbata, Kulikov ahead of trade deadline

The dust is settling on the NHL trade deadline, and the deals that never materialized are coming to the surface. For the Bruins, Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak was a player Boston kicked the tires on before Garth Snow decided he wasn’t going to trade the goalie to a club that his team is directly competing with for a playoff spot.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also confirmed in his 30 Thoughts what we had been hearing leading up to the deadline: Radim Vrbata and Dmitry Kulikov were also players of interest for the Black and Gold leading up to Wednesday afternoon’s NHL trade deadline. The Bruins had also expressed interest in Kulikov last summer before he was traded from the Florida Panthers to the Sabres, but he’s struggled with injuries while playing just 38 games for Buffalo this season.

Arizona GM John Chayka was reportedly holding out for a second round pick in exchange for Vrbata, and clearly the Bruins felt that was too much of a commitment in the rental market after shipping out a handful of draft picks for rental players Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles at the deadline last season.

Both Kulikov and Vrbata were rental trade targets and ultimately the price was too high for each of them as Boston instead shipped a conditional sixth round pick to the Winnipeg Jets for Drew Stafford instead.

“You recognize the team’s needs and how well they’re playing,” said Sweeney ahead of the deadline. “Do you have enough depth? But it’s always been with an eye toward the commitment to what we’ve put in place moving forward. Most of the conversations revolved around some of the particular prospects that we feel are going to be a big part of the organization. We’re not going to deviate [from the long term plan].”

The bottom line is the Bruins got a little something to help their forward depth with almost zero risk in the form of a draft pick sacrificed that won’t be higher than a fourth rounder. Sweeney made the right call in not investing too heavily with a Bruins club that should make the playoffs, or not make it, based on the merits of the talented enough roster in place prior to the deadline. 

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.

Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.

“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”

Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.

Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.

Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.


Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

File photo

Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.

*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.

*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.

*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.

*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.

*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.

*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.