Those who follow my rambling pontifications with any sort of regularity know I’m prone to three things:
2. A propensity for using big words, often in the wrong context, to try and make myself look smart.
3. An over-reliance on clichés.
And I have never been one to let a good trend just die, so here is one more: “Don’t quit your day job.”
This little writing gig of mine does not pay the bills. I gave up on that dream a long time ago and that is probably a good thing as this has not quite been my season when it comes to being right about predictions for the 2011-2012 Boston Bruins.
I started the year saying Buffalo and Boston would duke it out for the top spot in the division, while Ottawa would be a punch line, still a few years away from competing. Well, Buffalo is barely in the playoff picture and Ottawa is just three points back of the Bruins for the Northeast lead.
I said Joe Corvo would be a big addition to the Bruins, a good fit for the system and a boost to their power play, while the emerging Zach Hamill would pay huge dividends for the Bruins as either a depth piece or trade bait. Corvo has produced all of one power play goal and is fitting to be the odd man out of the Bruins defensive corps once all are healthy, while Hamill’s play became stagnant and he did not get a sniff from another team as he passed through waivers for the second time this season en route back to the club’s AHL affiliate.
Last week, I laid out what I thought would be the best plan of attack for the Bruins and who they should target. Two forwards and a depth defensemen, with their sights set on Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu or Phoenix’s Ray Whitney. Turns out it was a depth forward and a pair of defensemen the Bruins sought after, while Ruutu was pulled off the market after signing an extension with the Hurricanes and Phoenix became buyers, not sellers.
My only silver lining is I did also say the play of goaltender Tuukka Rask would be one of the biggest keys to the Bruins success this season, a prediction that may end up proving true as the young Fin was put on the shelf for the remainder of the regular season with a groin injury, suffered on Saturday afternoon versus the New York Islanders. Even still, looks like my street cred as a writer would be best served sticking to recapping things rather than putting myself on the line with predictions.
With that said, were the Bruins winners at this year’s trade deadline?
With what general manager Peter Chiarelli gave up in his two deadline deals, it cannot be said that the Bruins were losers at the deadline. Two mid-level prospects not to be missed were sent to the Islanders for forward Brian Rolston and defenseman Mike Mottau. There are some that say sending prospect Steven Kampfer and his positive offensive upside to the Minnesota Wild for the aging defenseman Greg Zanon, an impending unrestricted free agent, was a deal that favored the Wild and not the Bruins. After two years in the system, however, Kampfer was never able to have any real staying power in the Bruins line-up. Despite his upside and potential, he was proving to be too good to play for Providence, but not good enough to play for Boston, making him a movable piece to bring in a player like Zanon, who should be a key contributor for the Bruins for as long as they can keep this season alive.
Just because they did not give up much and did not lose at the deadline, however, does not mean they were really winners either. The Bruins were in desperate need of help at the deadline and the question is was this enough?
While it may not be their fault, nor is it the biggest of sample sizes, the Bruins are1-3 in their four games played since the acquisitions. Only Rolston has played in all four games and is the only one of the three with a point after recording an assist against his former team in Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Islanders. Zanon, who on deadline day was proclaimed to be the player who would have the most influence on the Bruins the rest of the way is -3 in his three games played, while Mottau has suited up for just one game, playing just under 11 minutes since being acquired by his hometown team.
Should he be able to live up to his durable, reliable, hard-nosed reputation, Zanon’s play should certainly turn around and he should become a solid play on the Bruins backend down the stretch as he adjusts to life in Boston and both he and the team straighten their play out. Defense, however, was not the Bruins problem at the deadline. It was their offense that needed to be addressed and it is hard to say that was done by the addition of Rolston. Once one of the most prolific players wearing Black-and-Gold when he first played in Boston from 2000-2004, at 39-years old, Rolston’s days as 30-goal threat are long since gone. Rolston should still prove to be effective, however, as a depth piece in the Bruins last six forward spots as well as potential power play candidate should the Bruins be able to return to health and get their full complement of players back, but nothing more than that.
The Bruins were in desperate need of bringing in a player to help replace the offensive pop they were missing with the injuries sidelining both Rich Peverley and Nathan Horton. Rolston is a player brought in to add to those two, not replace either of them. Even if he were to be just filling in for Peverley on the Bruins’ third line as opposed to the spot on the second line his is currently taking, Rolston would be a step back from what the Bruins should have in play. He will end up contributing more than the one power play assist, -2 rating performance he has put up since coming back, but it is hard to think he will ever put enough on the stat sheet to score the Bruins a winning grade on the Rolston trade, regardless of how little they gave up for him.
It is now approaching the two month mark since the Boston Bruins have won back-to-back games (January 10 and 12) and with just 18 games remaining on their regular season schedule the time to turn their once seemingly dominant season around is more than upon them. It is difficult to say the trades Chiarelli made were enough if they intend on making another impactful run this season. As a result, even if there were no better trades out there to be made for the Bruins, it is hard to really label them as winners at last week’s deadline. The Bruins are going to need more than for Rolston to find the Fountain of Youth in the next month and are going to need their help to come from within.
I am not about to close this out, however, by telling you who that help is going to be.
About the Author
Written by Matt Preston
I'm no Heminway or Haggerty, but keeping the dream alive, even if I'm pretty sure my Nana is my only follower. Self-deprecation is key, grammar is optional.