Bruins

Sweeney's trade deadline history as Bruins GM should give fans hope

Bruins

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney isn't afraid to make moves at the NHL trade deadline. 

In fact, he's made at least one pre-trade deadline deal in each of his first seven seasons in this job. There are a few areas that Sweeney has struggled in as GM. Signing external free agents and the draft are two of the best examples. But to his credit, the trade market is one place where Sweeney has consistently thrived.

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Most of his trade deadline moves have worked out.

Here's a look at Sweeney's previous trade deadline activity with the Bruins.

2016

  • Acquired: Lee Stempniak, John-Michael Liles
  • Sent out: Anthony Camara, 2016 third-round pick, 2016 fourth-round pick, 2017 second-round pick, 2017 fifth-round pick

2017

  • Acquired: Drew Stafford
  • Sent out: 2018 fifth-round pick

2018

  • Acquired: Rick Nash, Nick Holden, Tommy Wingels, 2018 third-round pick
  • Sent out: Frank Vatrano, Ryan Spooner, Matt Belesky, Ryan Lindgren, 2018 first-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, Rob O'Gara, 2018 third-round pick, 2019 fourth-round pick

2019

  • Acquired: Charlie Coyle, Marcus Johansson
  • Sent out: Ryan Donato, 2019 second-round pick, 2019 fourth-round pick, 2020 fourth-round pick

2020

  • Acquired: Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase
  • Sent out: Danton Heinen, David Backes, Axel Andersson, 2020 first-round pick

2021

  • Acquired: Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, Mike Reilly
  • Sent out: Anders Bjork, 2021 second-round pick, 2022 third-round pick

2022

  • Acquired: Hampus Lindholm, Kodie Curran, Josh Brown
  • Sent out: Urho Vaakanaien, Zach Senyshyn, John Moore, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick
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Acquiring center Charlie Coyle and winger Marcus Johansson provided the 2019 Bruins with much-needed depth up front, and that team finished one win short of a Stanley Cup title. The Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm trades in 2021 and 2022, respectively, also have turned out to be home runs. Even the Rick Nash deal in 2018 was a smart move. No one could have predicted that a concussion would prevent Nash from making a strong impact. 

Not only has Sweeney done a good job identifying the right players to bring to Boston, his track record of figuring out which prospects to trade away has been impressive as well.

None of the prospects Sweeney has dealt have become star players for other teams. Ryan Donato was a 2014 second-round pick and the centerpiece of the Coyle trade, but he's a third-line player at best. Anders Bjork was the prospect given up in the Hall trade, and he has been unable to crack the Buffalo Sabres' roster this season. Urho Vaakanainen was a 2017 first-round pick who once had top-four defenseman potential, but he has tallied just four points in 37 games for the Ducks since going to Anaheim as part of the Lindholm trade.

 

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Which players should Sweeney target in 2023?

The Bruins were linked to Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat before he was dealt to the New York Islanders last week. They've also been rumored to be interested in Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn and Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. A physical, stay-at-home defenseman and a bottom-six forward with some scoring punch would be ideal upgrades for the B's.

The Bruins own the league's best record at 39-7-5 entering Wednesday. Boston ranks No. 2 in goals scored and No. 1 in goals against, while also having the No. 5 ranked power play and No. 1 ranked penalty kill. This is a well-balanced roster with very few weaknesses. That said, it would be unwise for Sweeney not to bolster his team's depth up front and on the blue line.

This Bruins team has a tremendous opportunity to win another Stanley Cup, and these players -- the veteran core, in particular -- deserve a meaningful addition(s) to the lineup for the playoffs.