The Boston Bruins finally are getting involved in making trade deadline trades and improving their lackluster defensive core. The Bruins made a trade with the Ottawa Senators to acquire defenseman Mike Reilly. After suffering an abysmal 8-1 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals Don Sweeney went out and acquired exactly what the team needed. Mike Reilly is a defenseman that can immediately slide into the Bruins’s top six and help ensure a loss this bad does not happen again.
The completion of this trade symbolizes the opposite directions each franchise is going. The Bruins continue to add defensive depth as they gear up for a potential playoff run. Meanwhile, the Senators are currently sitting in the last place in the north division and are nowhere near contention for the playoffs. Trading away an effective player such as Mike Reilly will only increase their chances of improving their draft pick position.
Revamping the Defense
The Bruins had a surprising and saddening offseason when they lost two key players in Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara. Ever since Don Sweeney has been trying to find players within and outside the organization to try and fill the void left by the departures of Krug and Chara. The original idea was to have younger players such as Urho Vaakanainen, Jack Ahcan, Jakub Zboril, and Jeremy Lauzon step up and take a leap into a prominent role on the Bruins blueline.
Obviously, the plan hasn’t quite worked out as hoped as this season the Bruins have suffered from the injury bug and have had to use an astonishing 12 defensemen. Don Sweeney has had to acquire two defensemen to help aid the younger Bruins. His first move was when he made Jarred Tinordi a part of the team when he was claimed off waivers from the Nashville Predators. So far Tinordi has adjusted nicely to the lineup but he has dealt with some injuries that have kept him out of the lineup.
Tinordi alone has been unable to completely fix the Bruins defensive group entirely so Sweeney had to acquire Mike Reilly. The two-way defenseman is currently in the midst of his most successful season in the NHL. In 40 games this season with the Senators he has 19 assists but no goals. His offensive skill set and strong poise on the defensive end should set him up for success with the Bruins.
How Does the Acquisition of Mike Reilly Help the Bruins?
Obviously, the young and inexperienced Bruins defense needs some help to get to the level Bruins fans expect them to play at. The addition of yet another veteran defenseman should help and his added offensive skill should also get a struggling powerplay on the right track again. Also, fellow defenseman Kevan Miller is just returning from an injury and the Bruins are trying to ease him back into the lineup through load management. Mike Reilly will surely help the Bruins not rush Miller back into the lineup and potentially re-injuring his knee.
How Does the Trading Of Mike Reilly Help the Senators?
Despite losing the best and only player in the trade, the Senators may have gained some valuable things from the trade. First of all, they acquire another pick in the 2022 NHL draft. Rebuilding teams such as the Senators need as much draft capital as possible and that is exactly what Ottawa got in the trade. In addition to the added draft picks the Senators free up a roster spot. This roster spot is extremely valuable as it means that players such as Erik Brannstrom can now enter the lineup on a regular basis.
Brannstrom is a highly regarded prospect that was originally drafted 15th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL draft. He was then traded to the Senators in the Mark Stone trade. Since joining the Senators he has played 49 career games. In those 49 games, he has scored two goals and eight assists. With this newfound opportunity, the Senators are hoping he will fulfill the potential people thought he had at the top of his drafting.
Final Thoughts on the Mike Reilly Trade
Although the Senators gave up the only player in the trade, it is a mutually beneficial trade for both franchises as they both accomplish exactly what they set out to do. For the Senators, they open a roster spot and add to their draft capital. The open roster spot allows for new players such as Erik Brannstrom to try to prove themself at the NHL level. The Bruins continue to add depth to their roster as they gear up for a fight to enter the playoffs and what they hope to be a successful playoff run.
main image credit