The beat continues to go on for the Boston Bruins in 2022-23. In the last seven days, they have played two games and won them both at home following a four-game, six-day road trip that they swept. They currently are sitting on a 10-game winning streak and an NHL-best 49-8-5.
In this edition of Bruins Weekly, we look back at the 2023 trade deadline, a prospect who is making the case for more playing time in Boston, and more.
Lauko Continues to Impress in the NHL
It was only one game last week, but it was an impressive one for prospect Jakub Lauko. Called up after Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno were injured on the road trip and placed on Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) on March 2, he was slotted into the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres that night on the fourth line with Tomas Nosek and Garnet Hathaway.
Related: Bruins Prospects Report: Poitras, Merkulov, Lysell, Bussi & More
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Lauko scored two goals, one in the second and one in the third. He scored on the rebound of a Brandon Carlo shot from the point in the second period for a 2-0 Boston lead, just 1:26 after Dmitry Orlov opened the scoring on the power play. In the third period and with the game well in hand, he scored on another rebound, this time on a Charlie Coyle shot with 52 seconds left in the game and to cap off a five-goal third-period outburst in a 7-1 win.
In 12 games this season, the 77th overall pick in the third round of the 2018 Entry Draft has three goals and five points. He was bumped from the lineup against the New York Rangers in a 4-2 win on March 4 when Tyler Bertuzzi made his Boston debut. There is a compacted schedule coming up for the Bruins from Thursday (March 9) until the end of the regular season on April 13. Coach Jim Montgomery will more than likely give some of his veterans a night off, which would allow Lauko more time this season.
2023 Trade Deadline Review for Bruins & Eastern Conference Contenders
The 2023 trade deadline was one of the more active ones in recent years, especially when it comes to the Eastern Conference contenders. Several teams made moves, some big ones and some before the 3 o’clock ET deadline on March 3. Let’s take a look at the moves made by the other contenders in the East.
Boston Bruins: General manager (GM) Don Sweeney made two impactful trades and really, two trades that nobody saw coming. He acquired Orlov and Hathaway from the Washington Capitals on Feb. 23 and he was able to unload Craig Smith as part of the return. Then on March 2, he acquired Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings. Both moves provide grit, toughness, and depth they have been missing in past postseasons.
Toronto Maple Leafs: One of the most active teams in the weeks leading up to the deadline, GM Kyle Dubas went all-in for his team and made them much better. He acquired Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues to bolster depth at center and add some grit with Acciari. He was not finished there as he added toughness and grit on defense with Jake McCabe of the Chicago Blackhawks and Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks. Coming over with McCabe was Sam Lafferty for more forward depth. Those moves are going to make Toronto a very tough and talented team to play against in the postseason.
Tampa Bay Lightning: GM Julien Brisebois made a move as he always does to give his team a chance in the playoffs and make a deep run. He acquired Tanner Jeannot from the Nashville Predators to bolster his team’s depth at forward.
Ottawa Senators: Currently not in a playoff spot, the Senators became buyers and have put themselves in the conversation for a wild card berth and a possible matchup with the Bruins. Jakob Chychrun has been at the top of everyone’s trade bait list for over a year now, but Ottawa was able to acquire the left-shot on March 1 from the Arizona Coyotes. With veteran Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat playing well, the Senators went in at the deadline, and don’t be surprised to see them grab a spot in the playoffs. They have been a thorn in the side of the Black and Gold this year, winning two of the first three meetings.
Carolina Hurricanes: GM Don Waddell did not make a “big splash’’ at the deadline, but he did add some very nice pieces that make his team tougher to play against and more dangerous. Carolina acquired Jesse Puljujarvi from the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 28, then added depth on defense with veteran Shayne Gostisbehere. The Bruins know how good the Hurricanes are to play against in a seven-game series and they are going to be again this spring.
New Jersey Devils: For the first time in a long time, GM Tom Fitzgerald was a buyer instead of a seller at the deadline. He acquired one of the biggest forwards available when he got Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 26 to bolster their already talented top-six. He added one depth piece in former Bruin Curtis Lazar who is going to be a key fourth-line contributor and penalty killer. Acquiring Lazar could be one of the more underrated depth moves by anyone at the deadline.
New York Rangers: Last season, GM Chris Drury watched his team get to the Eastern Conference Final, take a 2-0 lead, only to lose the last four games to the Lightning. This season, he went all-in at the deadline. First, he acquired Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola from the Blues, then he reacquired Tyler Motte from the Senators on Feb. 19, but on Feb. 28. Drury closed out the deadline by acquiring Patrick Kane from the Blackhawks.
New York Islanders: Of course, the first big domino to fall well before the deadline on Jan. 30 was Bo Horvat and GM Lou Lamoriello made the splash before anyone else did. It was a hefty price to pay for the Islanders, but it needed to be done. With good goaltending, they will be an extremely tough out in the playoffs if they get a wild card spot.
Whoever survives three rounds in the Eastern Conference when the playoffs start is certainly going to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. The top six teams in the East are as good as any team and the two wild card teams are going to be very good and push the top seeds in the opening round. Sweeney’s moves were critical and now everything is all about health until the postseason begins.
Bruins Week Ahead
- Thursday: vs. Edmonton Oilers, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday: vs. Detroit Red Wings, 1 p.m.
- Sunday: at Detroit Red Wings, 1:30 p.m.
- Tuesday: at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m.