Why the Bruins should’ve traded Loui Eriksson
By Peter Santo
The Boston Bruins currently sit at 34-23-6, good enough for fourth place in the Atlantic Division. I would say they have overachieved largely due to the play of Brad Marchand and the coaching of Claude Julien.
The Bruins are third in the league in goals per game behind only Washington and Dallas. However, they are just 11th in goals against per game. It is clear that their biggest need right now is a top four defenseman. While only trading only Eriksson would not land them the player they desire, it would go a long way to acquiring assets for a future trade.
Reports surfaced yesterday that the Bruins were “working hard” to move Eriksson, they were unable to reach a deal before yesterday’s deadline. Now Eriksson is likely to leave the Bruins as a free agent this summer, netting the Bruins nothing in return.
The Bruins did make two moves on Thursday, but neither move had much significance on the Bruins chances this season or in the future. After spending most of the day reportedly in talks with teams for top four defensemen like Dan Hamhuis and Kris Russell, the Bruins settled for a defenseman much farther down the totem pole.
The B’s acquired D John-Michael Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a third round pick, a fifth round pick, and a prospect.
After Kris Russell was acquired by the Dallas Stars for the insane price of Jyrki Jokipakka, a pick and Brett Pollock, a trade for Patrick Wiercioch of the Ottawa Senators made sense as a backup plan, requiring only a second round pick in return.
However the Bruins opted to give up more for Liles, who is ten years older then Wiercioch. How do they compare stat wise?
While Liles looks to be the much better player, he does not fit into the Bruins future nearly as well as Wiercioch would have. And the trade looks even more suspect considering the price the Bruins had to pay.
In addition to adding to their defensive core, the Bruins also added to their offense by trading for Lee Stempniak. Stempniak was the Devils leading scorer at the time of the trade and should slide onto the Bruins second line.
However, this is another example of poor asset management by GM Don Sweeney and Team President Cam Neely. Stempniak is a guy the Bruins rejected in tryout camp in the preseason, and now they’ve given up a second and fourth round pick to acquire his services.
Bruins projected Future Lineup:
The bottom line is that these are excellent trade deadline moves for a contending team, but for a team like the Bruins that is really on the fringes of contending and is unlikely to make a run at a Cup this season, they have not done much to help themselves long term.
The Bruins still remain a mystery long term, they failed to lock up Eriksson to a contract extension and didn’t cash in on their biggest asset when they had the chance.
These moves give the Bruins a chance of making a cinderella run in a weak Eastern Conference, but I wish they had looked more towards the future yesterday.