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.