Johansson Good for Bruins, but Better Options Were Available

With the 2019 trade deadline now history, the Boston Bruins acquired Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick. In addition to the previous trade for Charlie Coyle, this rounds out the deadline moves made by general manager Don Sweeney.

With Johansson and Coyle, the Bruins have added much-needed secondary scoring help. Coyle has 28 points in 61 games and Johansson has 27 points in 48 games. Each can be solid third-line options for the team.

However, as the rest of the trades around the league came in on Monday, there are some names out there that seemed to have gone for the same or less value than Johansson did. So while Johansson will now be donning the black and gold, there were a few better options out there that the Bruins could have theoretically been able to bring in instead of Johansson.

Bruins Miss on Gustav Nyquist

Nyquist was traded from the Detroit Red Wings to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night and in return, Detroit received a 2019 second-round pick and a conditional 2020 third-round pick. It was rumored that Boston was the biggest competitor in the Eastern Conference for Nyquist, according to Bob McKenzie.

Comparing the two trades, they are quite similar. Almost identical in fact, except for the fact that Detroit received a third-round pick, not a fourth-round pick. However, the difference in value of each player seems to be much greater.

The San Jose Sharks acquired Gustav Nyquist from the Detroit Red Wings (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

This season alone, the scoring stats are much higher for Nyquist than Johansson. Nyquist has scored 16 goals and 33 assists, while Johansson only has 12 goals and 15 assists. Nyquist is three assists away from tying his career high and in terms of points, he’s on pace to easily break his career high of 54. He’s having his best season since 2014-15 when he scored that career high in points, while Johansson may not even break 40 points.

The fact is, if it was as simple as making a fourth-round pick into a third-round pick, I don’t see why that offer wasn’t presented and the trade made. The kicker is Nyquist did have a no-trade clause in place, which meant he had control of where he could go. That might’ve made the difference between going to San Jose and going to Boston.

Nashville Receives Mikael Granlund

Let me start off by saying I think the Minnesota Wild got absolutely fleeced in the Mikael Granlund deal with the Nashville Predators. It was a one-for-one deal with Granlund going to Nashville and Minnesota receiving Kevin Fiala.

Granlund put together a 69-point season in 2016-17 then a 67-point season last year. He has 49 points this year in what you can consider a “down year” for him, given his last two seasons. Fiala had 48 points last season and only 32 points this year. If Nashville had to send some draft picks or prospects, I could see this making sense. But with a one-for-one, I don’t see how it does.

Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild send Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

With that being said, why couldn’t the Bruins have put together a deal better than this? A one-for-one probably would not work. They would have to give up someone like Jake DeBrusk or Brandon Carlo.

Normally I would say getting Granlund would have been out of the question. But given what Nashville gave up, you can’t tell me that the Bruins couldn’t have put together a package of a couple draft picks and a middle-of-the-road prospect for Granlund. If they don’t make the deal for Johansson, and use those two picks along with one of Anders Bjork/Jeremy Lauzon/Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson to put together a package for Granlund, it should be the equivalent or even better value than Fiala.

Bruins Can’t Land No. 1 Target in Wayne Simmonds

As the deadline got closer and closer, a name that kept flying around Boston media was Philadelphia Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers were asking for a first-round pick and a prospect for Simmonds and the Bruins felt it was too high of a price. It is reasonable to think an upcoming free agent on the declining side of his career is not worth that much.

So when the Bruins did not pull the trigger on Simmonds on Monday, it could have been completely fine. Let someone else overpay for him. But that wasn’t the case.

Philadelphia Flyers Forward Wayne Simmonds
Wayne Simmonds was traded to the Nashville Predators (Josh Smith/THW)

The Nashville Predators received Simmonds in exchange for Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick, a package far from the Flyers’ original asking price. It seems as though the asking price was not going to be fulfilled and the Flyers did not want Simmonds to walk away for free at the end of the year.

The question is, if Nashville was able to negotiate a deal and lower the asking price, why could the Bruins not? Simmonds was supposedly their No. 1 target, yet they weren’t able to grab him. Maybe the asking price was still too high considering the declining production Simmonds brings, but his style of play would have fit in a lot better in Boston than Johansson’s.

While Johansson does make the team better, with all of the other deals that happened, you have to wonder if the Bruins could have gotten a better player in the form of Nyquist, Granlund, Simmonds or someone else. It will be hard to tell until Johansson plays, but at a quick glance, it was an underwhelming trade deadline for the Bruins.