Sometimes, life works in funny ways.
One of the most interesting (and time-consuming) things that sports fans can do is look through trade trees and trace certain players back to teams via various trades, signings and the like.
This is why Alex Petrovic being signed to a one-year, two-way contract by the Boston Bruins is such an interesting move.
On paper, Petrovic is just another depth defender who will likely spend the 2019-20 season with the Providence Bruins and serving as a last-ditch call-up option if injuries strike at a comical level for the third-consecutive season.
What makes the Petrovic signing so interesting, though? Well, it goes back even further than the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup victory (which is deeply intertwined in this story in general).
Petrovic’s Journey to Boston
In 2009, the Bruins made a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning that saw Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums head to Tampa in exchange for Mark Recchi and a second-round pick in 2010.
The Bruins would later flip this second-round pick tot he Florida Panthers in 2010, along with Craig Weller and Byron Bitz, to acquire defenders Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski.
The pick, originally owned by Tampa Bay and moved to Boston before finally ending up with the Panthers, would be used to select Petrovic 36th overall.
While Petrovic would never become the defender that the Panthers hoped he would become, he did spend the first 254 games of his career in Florida. He’d also garner a spot on their protection list for the 2017 Expansion Draft before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers in 2019 for Chris Wideman and a conditional third-round pick.
Unfortunately, injuries would limit Petrovic’s time in an Oilers’ uniform
Fast-forward nine years and Petrovic would find his way to the Bruins after the team captured the Stanley Cup in 2011 due largely in part to that trade tree.
Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup Win
As mentioned, the Bruins would acquire both Recchi and Seidenberg in trades that involved the 36th overall pick in 2010.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the Bruins Stanley Cup victory in 2011 would have been unlikely without both of those players on the roster given their contributions on the ice and in the locker room during this unlikely run.
In the case of Seidenberg, it’s pretty clear why he was such an important piece for the Bruins. A top-pairing blueliner who would play in a shutdown role alongside Zdeno Chara, Seidenberg became one of the most crucial and arguably underrated pieces of that team.
Thinking back on that year, it’s easy to remember the heroics of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in Game 7, David Krejci’s unbelievable showing, Chara playing the best hockey of his career and Tim Thomas standing on his head (figuratively and literally) to help bring the Cup home to Boston.
There were so many storylines to follow that it’s hard to really put emphasis on all of the important members of that team. Included in that is Seidenberg who would average 27:38 of ice time during that Cup run, scoring one goal and 11 points as well as blocking 72 shots in the process.
Without Seidenberg, the Bruins don’t win the Stanley Cup.
Recchi’s role in the Stanley Cup isn’t as easy to claim as Seidenberg’s. Even though the veteran wasn’t playing in a top-pairing role like his defensive counterpart, though, that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t an integral cog nonetheless.
Recchi, along with Shawn Thornton, were the only two members of the Bruins to have already won the Stanley Cup prior to 2011. This experience and his experience in the league in general helped him motivate the Bruins in all the right ways.
“The biggest thing is just embracing it. This is what we dream of,” Recchi said prior to Game 7 in 2011. “It’s come down to one game. No pressure. Go play. You can’t let it grab you. You can’t let it bite you.”
This was just part of the advice that was given from one of the all-time greats to his then-teammates.
Reminding them of the legends that did it before them and even giving them a glimpse into what it was like to be a Stanley Cup Champion, Recchi’s contributions to that team went far beyond production on the ice.
That said, the on-ice production was nothing to shake a stick at either. He’d average 16:09 of ice time during that playoff run and score five goals and 14 points in 25 games at the age of 42.
While Petrovic may or may not ever actually suit up for the Bruins in Boston during a meaningful game, his journey to Boston features various branches, twists and a Stanley Cup victory.
Again, sometimes life works in funny ways.