As of the printing of article, the Boston Bruins find themselves sitting in 7th place in the Eastern Conference, tied with the 8th seeded Maple Leafs with 69 points. Boston is one of seven teams battling for the last 2 playoff spots. To make things more interesting, they also sit just a point behind the division-leading Senators with 2 games in hand. They find themselves in a position that are equal parts motivating and filled with pressure.
In an effort to alleviate that pressure, the team made 2 trades leading up to the February 26th deadline. 48 hours prior, they acquired defenseman Karl Alzner from the Florida Panthers in exchange for pending UFA Taylor Fedun and LA’s 4th round pick in 2018. Alzner, a UFA in his own right this coming summer, is a significant defensive upgrade and should aid with the team’s recent struggles in their end of the arena. He’s also a veteran of 600-plus games in the NEFHL, plays a disciplined game and can play top minutes for the team.
The following day, Boston pulled the trigger on a trade that brought talented scorer Richard Panik to the team in exchange for Washington’s own 2nd round pick this summer. It was a steep price to pay, however he brings a lot to the table that Boston is looking for, namely scoring. He is still under contract for another 2 years at only $850,000 and will be a controllable asset when his contract expires.
Having only played 3 games with the Bruins, it is hard to say if these moves have, or will pay off. Alzner potted an assist in his last game while Panik is pointless in 3 contests so far, however generated chances and was a plus-2 playing with his new centreman Brayden Schenn. Coach Hynes hopes that they’ll be able to capitalize on some chances by using their speed and puck control.
Boston will look to take the division lead again today when they play the New Jersey Devils. The team has struggled against those rivals, losing tough games to Toronto, Buffalo and Philadelphia. Of Boston’s fifteen games remaining, 6 are against fellow playoff rivals including a matchup against the Buffalo Sabres on the team’s last game of the season in early April.