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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Happy Trails to a Great Bruin: Johnny Boychuk

Everyone knew that the Bruins had too many defensemen going into this campaign and worse, they were coming dangerously close to the salary cap so somebody had to go sometime soon. Unfortunately, that was finally sorted out this afternoon as veteran Johnny Boychuk was traded to the Islanders for a pair of second-round draft picks and a conditional third-round pick.

He'll never be an All-Star or on the Canadian national team but Boychuk is the type of guy that you love when he's on your favorite team. He's smart, tough, dependable and always seems to step up in the postseason (13 goals, 14 assists, +20 in 79 career games). He is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer so after five years in Boston, he's gone.

In the prime of his career at age 30, Boychuk is coming off the best season of his NHL life: 5 goals, 18 assists, +31 in 75 games. As always, the Islanders are rebuilding and looking for leaders, particularly on defense where they've employed numerous turnstiles for years. It's ironic that he landed there since the same two teams played last night in a preseason game and watching the Islanders' live stream from their website, their announcers mentioned Boychuk trade rumors repeatedly. I guess they knew something that we didn't.

Bigger picture for the B's, this means that shaky Matt Bartkowski has likely "earned" a spot for 2014-15. I think most fans wanted him off the team but clearly, Boychuk had more trade value to the Isles and could bring a better haul in return. Boychuk won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 and he will always be remembered fondly in these parts for his huge hits and booming shot (Johnny Rocket!). In many ways, he was an ideal Bruin for this very successful era under Claude Julien.

UPDATE 10/7: The Bruins' roster was set for the opener with Matt Fraser, Bobby Robins and Ryan Spooner all making it while David Pastrnak will start in Providence with Jordan Caron. The biggest news is that David Krejci starts on IR with an undisclosed injury. Malcolm Subban and Brian Ferlin were recalled, Marc Savard went on long-term IR then Gregory Campbell and Anthony Campbell are on non-roster IR. Got all that?

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