Bruins Trade Deadline Deals Paying Off

Making a deal at the NHL Trade Deadline is anything but a sure-fire bet. Oftentimes, buying teams are required to pay a significant premium to acquire a player who may or may not bolster their lineup for a playoff push, regardless of their contract status beyond the current season. Despite this, the Boston Bruins and general manager Don Sweeney decided to push their chips into the middle of the table and make some big-time moves that would ideally make the NHL’s top team at the time even better.

Boston Bruins Celebrate David Pastrnak Tyler Bertuzzi
David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins celebrates after he scored against the Florida Panthers during the first period of Game One of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

The gamble has paid off in spades thus far.

The Trade Deadline saw the Bruins add a top-four defender in Dmitry Orlov, a top-six forward in Tyler Bertuzzi and a bottom-six forward in Garnet Hathaway. Though the Bruins didn’t have any glaring holes that required filling at the deadline, this proved to be another aggressive deadline for Sweeney who, for better or worse, has done his best to make big-time additions around that time of year since taking over as general manager of the Bruins. Each of these three players proved to be worth the price of admission and gave the Bruins a series of additional lineup options that all appear to be matchup nightmares for the opposition when the Bruins are at full strength.

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Unfortunately, the “at full strength” part of that sentence has proved to be an issue for the Bruins this postseason. Though health has been a major concern for this team for the better part of the last half-decade, the 2022-23 season saw the Bruins play at relatively full-strength for much of the season, despite the concerns at the start of the year with Charlie McAvoy, Brad Marchand and Matt Grzelcyk, as well as to close out the season with Taylor Hall, Derek Forbort and Nick Foligno. Still, come postseason time, all of the names listed above were healthy and ready to go.

Still, injuries reared their ugly head in the worst way with the team playing all four playoff games so far without captain Patrice Bergeron, and the last two without second-line center David Krejci. For most teams, losing out on two future hall-of-fame players, as well as the top two centers on a team, would surely be an insurmountable obstacle. For the Bruins, though, depth has been the name of the game and this is largely in part due to the deadline additions Sweeney made to bolster his team.

Bruins Deadline Additions Shining in Postseason

Orlov, a player who would likely be a top-two defender on more than half of the teams in the NHL at the time of this writing, is the Bruins’ third-best option on defense behind McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm. He’s been electric for the Bruins to start the postseason and has become just the sixth defender since 1997 to record at least one point in each of his first four playoff games with a team. Orlov’s presence has made life easier for everybody around him since joining the Bruins, and his offensive contributions only begin to scratch the surface of what he brings to the table.

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It’s hard to imagine a player who enjoys playoff hockey more than Bertuzzi. The 28-year-old has been an NHL regular since the 2016-17 season but has never gotten to play in the NHL’s postseason before this season. Still, there was no question that he’d be capable of stepping up to the occasion given how he performed back during the 2016-17 postseason with the Grand Rapids Griffins. In that 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs run, Bertuzzi would win MVP, scoring nine goals and 19 points in 19 games, helping the Griffins to win the AHL Championship. He’s picked up right where he left off and has scored two goals and six points through the Bruins’ first four playoff games, and his contributions go well beyond the scoresheet, similarly to Orlov.

Tyler Bertuzzi Boston Bruins
Tyler Bertuzzi, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Like a broken record, fans will have to look beyond the scoresheet to see the contributions that Hathaway brings to the Bruins. Fortunately, they won’t have to look for too long before seeing him make some sort of impact play, be it a scoring chance, an energy-creating play or otherwise. Hathaway has recorded one assist through four postseason contests so far this postseason, but it’s the little things that he does over the course of a hockey game that adds up to him being a major part of this Bruins team’s success.

The Bruins will look to close out their first-round series against the Florida Panthers on home ice Wednesday night. A scary note for the Panthers is that Bergeron is a game-time decision with his fate being mostly in his own hands, with head coach Jim Montgomery saying that the captain would get the final say about his playing status. Whether or not Bergeron plays is one thing, but the Bruins’ three deadline acquisitions will likely make an impact one way or the other.

It’s always risky to bring in players at high costs and even risk hurting the chemistry of a locker room. Fortunately for the Bruins, these moves have been seamless, painless and all-in-all, a perfect match.