In this week’s edition of Bruins Weekly, general manager Don Sweeney makes two trades to fill areas of need, David Pastrnak’s goal-scoring slump continues, and more.
Two Trades Fill Two Needs
Going into the trade deadline Monday afternoon, there were two needs that the Bruins had. They needed a top-six forward and a left-shot defenseman was also needed to help a defensive group that has been devasted with injuries. Following an 8-1 loss at the TD Garden to the Washington Capitals Sunday night, Sweeney worked late into the night and was able to pull off two trades, less than an hour apart to add depth to his roster.
The first trade brought in defensemen Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators for a 2022 third-round draft pick. An offensive defenseman, Reilly had a career-high 19 assists in 40 games this season in Ottawa with 67 shots on net. In his seventh season, the 27-year-old is playing for his fourth team and should find himself on the second pairing with Brandon Carlo when Carlo returns to the lineup from his concussion.
Less than an hour later, Sweeney acquired left wing Taylor Hall and fourth-line center Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres for Anders Bjork and a 2021 second-round draft pick. Boston also got Buffalo to retain 50-percent of Hall’s $8 million salary for this season. Hall did not live up to expectations with the Sabres this season, scoring just two goals three years removed from winning the Hart Trophy after scoring 39 for the New Jersey Devils. The last three seasons have been a struggle scoring for Hall who has 27 goals over that time, but the Bruins are hoping that putting him on the second line with David Krejci can help him find his goal-scoring touch.
Pastrnak’s Slump Continues
Pastrnak missed the first seven games of the season for the Bruins recovering from hip surgery over the offseason. Since his return, he has averaged just under a point-per-game with 16 goals and 16 assists in 33 games. In his last 13 games, however, the 24-year-old had just two goals, both on April 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 7-5 victory. His lack of production in the other 12 games is a cause of concern for the Bruins.
Pastrnak was recently moved down to the second line by coach Bruce Cassidy and Craig Smith was moved up to the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. In what was most likely a move to try and get Pastrnak going offensively with David Krejci and Nick Ritchie, he scored both of his goals against the Penguins on the second line and had five assists during that time. Sunday night against the Capitals, Cassidy moved Pastrnak back to the first line with Marchand and Bergeron. It was been four straight games since Pastrnak has registered a point.
Despite adding Hall at the trade deadline, the Bruins are going to need production from Pastrnak, who shared the Maurice Rocket Richard Award with Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals last season with a league-high 48 goals, if they are going to survive the final 16 games in the MassMutual East Division and finish in the top four to get into the playoffs.
Cassidy Coaches 300th Game for Boston
When the Bruins fired Claude Julien in February in 2017, they replaced him with Cassidy, who was an assistant coach under Julien, for the remainder of the season. Cassidy led the Bruins to an 18-8-1 record that season and they finished in third place of the Atlantic Division, only to lose in six games to the Senators in the first round of the playoffs. Following the season, Sweeney hired Cassidy full-time for his second NHL head coaching job after he spent a year and a half coaching the Capitals in 2002 and 2003.
Sunday night, Cassidy coached his 300th game for the Bruins in their loss to the Capitals. In his fourth full season as head coach, he is 183-78-40 behind the Boston bench. This has been one of the more frustrating seasons for Cassidy who has had to deal with injuries to four of his top six defensemen, as well as playing the last six games without his top two goalies. Despite all of that, he has the Bruins in the fourth and final playoff spot, four points ahead of the New York Rangers.
The Week Ahead
- Thursday: vs. New York Islanders, 7 p.m.
- Friday: vs. New York Islanders, 7 p.m.
- Sunday: vs. Washington Capitals, 12 p.m.
- Tuesday: at Buffalo Sabres, 6:30 p.m.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.