The agitator with a history of suspensions will not make up for the loss of Milan Lucic, but the Bruins have taken him on nonetheless. What exactly is the master plan in Boston right now?
The Boston Bruins are by far the most fascinating team in the NHL right now. If you’re a fan of the venerable franchise, I apologize: car-crash fascinating is a lot different than the good kind. But here we are.
Milan Lucic is gone, yet some of his salary remains. Dougie Hamilton has been traded for assets that may or may not ever play an NHL game. And now, Zac Rinaldo acquired from Philadelphia for a third-round selection in 2017.
To be sure, this is a low, low price to pay for a roster player and Rinaldo can play on the fourth line. But his positive impact on the game has been minimal to date.
Best known for playing on or over the edge, Rinaldo is a fighter heading to a franchise that has always prided itself on toughness. But the erstwhile Flyer only won two of his five bouts this season (according to hockeyfights.com), so he’s not exactly a nuclear option. And at 5-foot-11, 169 pounds, he’s not replacing Lucic as a heavy threat, either.
On top of that, Rinaldo was one of the worst possession players on the Flyers this season, despite facing some of the easiest competition. And he has eight goals in 223 NHL games.
I’m not out to get the guy, I just wonder what the Bruins and embattled GM Don Sweeney think they’re getting and why youngsters such as Noel Acciari or Colton Hargrove couldn’t have been given a shot first (I suppose AHL experience, but really, we’re talking about limited minutes on a team that still has some impressive forwards doing the heavy lifting).
In isolation, this is a boring trade, but toss in the debacle that was the first round of the draft (though to be fair, I loved what the B’s did on Day 2) and the Dougie-Lucic departures and the Bruins fan base is ready to pick up the pitchforks.
What is troubling for me is that Boston won’t be that bad next season. The Bruins still have Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask, not to mention youngsters David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner, both of whom will look to build on this season’s growth.
So we’re not looking at contenders for Auston Matthews, but we’re also not looking at a playoff team, most likely. Perhaps the exodus is still to come? To be honest, I’ve stopped trying to anticipate what this team is going to do this summer.