TORONTO – There’s no doubt that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is engaged in an abundance of trade talks ahead of Monday afternoon’s trade deadline, and that other teams are trying to pry away some of Boston’s best and brightest young players. Don’t expect the Bruins to give any of those young NHL roster players up despite any urgency that the B’s might be feeling at this point, however, as Sweeney reiterated on Saturday that he’s “pretty protective” of young guys like Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy among others.
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Based on Boston’s draft-and-development mantra that’s worked so well over the last three years, that sentiment would seem to extend to their prospects in the AHL, Europe, junior hockey and the collegiate level as well.
"I've been pretty protective of our young players in general. We set on a path and plan a few years ago to grow it the right way and incorporate it with our core players. Our core players are having terrific years this year, but we’ve got a long way to go,” said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. “We’ve got a pretty difficult march, so it’s safe to say that some of our young players are going to go through a [tough] stretch. But it's safe to say we've been cognizant of not giving away our real good [young] players and to continue to grow with that.”
Clearly NHL teams have to give up something to get something, and if they want to be in the running for a Ryan McDonagh-type player then they’d have to give up one of those young players from their roster, with reports indicating it might be Brandon Carlo, or more unlikely Jake DeBrusk. If that were done to upgrade the NHL roster for both the short term and the long term then it would be an understandable price to be paid, but it sounds like the Bruins are a long way from making that happen with less than 48 hours to go until the trade deadline.
Much more likely is that the Bruins are waiting for the prices to go down a bit from young players they are unwilling to part with, and putting together some alternate plans just in case the right deal doesn’t come together ahead of Monday afternoon.
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Instead of a blockbuster deal, Sweeney indicated the Bruins were in the market for “one piece”, which would indicate that’s the heavy, veteran winger capable of potentially playing a top-6 role, and perhaps skating on a line with David Krejci while bringing a little more size and strength to a B’s team that could use more of that along their wing.
“Maybe something fits…we have to be pretty target-specific for us,” said Sweeney. “We're a club that maybe would like to add a piece, but we just don't know between now and [Monday’s trade deadline].”
This is by far the most important trade deadline of Sweeney’s three years running the Bruins where he could make a deal that could theoretically set the Bruins up for potential Cup runs, or possibly impact a team negatively that’s the best in the NHL over the last three months. It’s certainly not an easy place to be for the Bruins management group, but it also means the stakes are rising for the Black and Gold as they ascend back into true contender status.