To the shock of many, myself included, the Bruins failed to come up with a trade partner for pending UFA Loui Eriksson and will ride or die with the Swede who was acquired in the landscape-altering Tyler Seguin trade (probably die). The team also failed to land a top-four D-man to help settle what has been an oft-disastrous back end. Instead, the Bs added the expected veteran depth in obtaining NJ’s point leader Lee Stempniak, the modern day Brent Ashton, and 35-year-old defenseman John-Michael Liles from Carolina.
Stempniak cost the Bruins their 4th round pick in this year’s draft and their 2nd rounder in 2017. His 16-25–41 in 63 games was leading the Devils in points. Nobody is ever gonna confuse him with Brett Hull but he’s a decent pick-up that will help solidify the forward group. He’ll certainly improve the bottom six (until he usurps Brett Connolly’s spot, which may have already happened) and should chip in with the odd goal or two. The price tag wasn’t too bad but you do have to give up something to get something.
In order to land Liles, they had to part with their 3rd rounder this year, a 5th rounder in 2017, and forward Anthony Camara. Per ace scout Kirk Luedeke, a must-follow on Twitter for Bruins fans, Camara’s future prospects here weren’t very high and he doesn’t project to be much more than a 4th-liner/journeyman at this stage of his development. I’m not too concerned with a 5th rounder next year and can live with a 3rd this year. A little steep for Liles, perhaps, but certainly bearable.
But the big news is that they stood pat on Loui. The front office must feel that they have a decent shot at getting to the Wales final if they’re willing to hang onto him (or Sweeney’s price was too high to potential suitors). Hopefully they’ll table any contract chatter til after the season so player and team can concentrate on the playoff push and, ideally, a Cup run. Whether that run is 3-foot drunken stumble or a marathon remains to be seen. But this is it, Bs fans, for better or worse. Cup or bust.