Monday, February 27, 2012
The Boston Bruins Make Two Trades Right Before The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline
Just like last season, the Boston Bruins swooped in at the last second to make two minor moves before the NHL trade deadline ended at 3 p.m. ET this afternoon. Let's hope that today's deals can have an impact like last season's (Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly) and the same end result: another Stanley Cup in June for the Black and Gold.
The B's acquired forward Brian Rolston and defenseman Mike Mottau from the New York Islanders in exchange for prospects Yannick Riendeau and Marc Cantin (neither of whom I'd ever heard of).
In the other trade, the Bruins dealt defenseman Steven Kampfer to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Greg Zanon.
Non-Pink Hat Bruins fans will remember Rolston fondly. He previously played in Boston from 1999-2004 (338 games) and he has scored 20+ goals seven times in his career. At 39-years-old and in his 17th NHL season, he is quite long in the tooth but he can still skate (always one of his biggest assets) and he's an excellent penalty killer capable of playing all three forward positions.
A native of Flint, Michigan, Rolston has played in 1235 NHL games on five teams (Devils, Avalanche, Bruins, Wild, Islanders). In his career, he's totaled 339 goals and 407 assists with his best season coming in 2005-06 with the Wild: 34 goals, 45 assists (both career-highs). Good piece of trivia: he was part of the Ray Bourque deal to Colorado with Rolston going the other way-to Boston.
With Peverley out with a knee injury, I think you can count on Rolston basically taking his spot. He provides veteran leadership and experience plus he won a Cup with the Devils back in 1995. This year, he has four goals and five assists in 49 games on a garbage team.
Mottau is also familiar to hockey fans in New England since he's from Avon, MA (he must be one of the only pro athletes from Avon) and he went to Boston College. He was a stud for the Eagles, winning the Hobey Baker award (top college hockey player) in 2000 under Jerry York.
At 33-years-old, Mottau's pro career never took off like most expected with him bouncing between four teams (Rangers, Flames, Devils, Islanders). He's dealt with concussions and numerous injuries. This season with the Islanders, he had two assists in 29 games (he was activated on Sunday).
Zanon is the possible gem of the bunch, in the Dennis Seidenberg mold of a defensive defenseman. He was second in the NHL last season in blocked shots (212) so he figures to play right away with Johnny Boychuk out with a minor concussion. Both him and Mottau are left-handed shots which is something Boston had coveted for the playoffs when Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara will certainly be reunited. In 432 career games between Minnesota and Nashville, Zanon has 11 goals and 43 assists.
Kampfer was a victim of a number crunch and bad luck as far as injuries go. He showed promise last season but when this one started, he could never get on track (he kept getting hurt) and other guys passed him. He's young, mobile and a good player so hopefully he finds his place for the Wild-a more middle of the pack franchise. If nothing else, the original Bruins tweeter will be missed for his social media aptitude.
To make room for these three new players, who are all expected to suit up tomorrow night as the Bruins host the Ottawa Senators, Boston sent down three players to Providence: defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk and forwards Carter Camper and Max Sauve. Of the three, I thought Bodnarchuk was sent down yesterday and I didn't know Sauve was around. Camper made a nice first impression in a very short first taste of NHL life. He'll be back.
In the NHL as a whole, there were no big trades made. Columbus swapping Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson from Los Angeles last week went down as the biggest move while today was especially slow and tedious. By staying the course and believing in what they've built the last few seasons on Causeway Street, the Bruins have set themselves up for another memorable spring. All three of these new players were very low risk and odds at least one or two of them will fill a hole and prove valuable almost immediately.
UPDATE 2/28: Rolston and Mottau are expected to play tonight for the Bruins vs. Ottawa while Zanon should make his B's debut on Thursday vs. New Jersey.