The Bruins said “arrivederci” to one of the two Massachusetts natives on their roster yesterday when they shipped Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers for a 2018 3rd rounder. The left-winger, who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of ZooMass, had just two goals in 25 games after finding him self at the bottom of the depth chart on the left-side.
He hadn’t suited up for the Bs since February 6th when he got 4:53 of ice time and likely wasn’t going to find himself back in the line-up unless there were injuries. Vatrano burst onto the scene three seasons ago looking like a potential diamond in the rough after some early success. He clearly had an NHL-caliber shot.
But the rest of of his game never quite caught up to his shot during his time here. He could be a liability in his own end at times and he had a particularly rough playoff series vs. Ottawa last spring. This season, if he wasn’t firing away from anywhere (not a criticism at all—pucks on net is a good thing), then you didn’t notice him doing much else.
The pending RFA may find more success in Sunrise with a clean slate and fresh opportunity. But given the plethora of more talented prospects in the Bruins pipeline and his current role (or lack thereof), he became expendable to the Bs and they risked losing him to waivers if they assigned him to Providence.
Instead, Don Sweeney turned an undrafted LW5 into a 3rd rounder. That’s a pretty solid move. Combined with the earlier acquisition of Nick Holden, the team essentially improved their 2018 3rd round draft position (for now, anyways) while swapping out Rob O’Gara and Vatrano for Holden. And Sweeney isn’t done yet. Sit tight.