The Boston Bruins are going all in for a Stanley Cup in the way that they are approaching the rest of the 2022 to 2023 season. General manager Don Sweeney had fans calling for his firing only seven months ago after a lackluster season, lack of clarity for the direction of the franchise and the unpopular decision to fire head coach Bruce Cassidy. Since then he has put together a team that is on pace to potentially have the best regular season ever. The 1976 to 1977 Montreal Canadiens had 132 points and the current Bruins are on pace for 135 with 22 games to go. Even with all the early success, Sweeney still looked to add at the trade deadline in acquiring defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway from Washington, as well as Tyler Bertuzzi from Detroit.
In acquiring Orlov and Hathaway, Boston gave up forward Craig Smith, a 2023 first-round pick, 2024 third and 2025 second. Smith has relatively underperformed in his two-and-a-half years in black and gold, only having 10 points in 42 games this season. Replacing him is the hard-hitting defenseman Orlov who has two goals and three assists in his first three games for the Bruins. Hathaway does not contribute much to the score but adds size, defense, and grit to a team that needs it as well as bottom-six forward depth come playoffs. He is also a native of Kennebunkport, Maine. Both players are on expiring contracts so it remains to be seen if they will stay after the season ends.
The other player they acquired, also on an expiring contract is Bertuzzi. They sent a 2024 first-round pick and a 2025 fourth to Detroit to acquire him. Bertuzzi has battled injuries this year, only posting 14 points in 29 games this year. Last season he had a 30-goal and 30-assist stat line, so the talent is there. These acquisitions come at the perfect time because the Bruins just put Nick Foligno on injured reserve and Taylor Hall on long-term injured reserve. If they keep both of them out for the remainder of the regular season, it saves the club $6 million against the salary cap, which will allow them to get under the $82 million mark and have them back for the playoffs a la 2021 Tampa Bay Lightning.
Boston made another announcement right before the deadline, as they re-signed all-star right wing David Pastrnak to an eight–year contract worth $90 million. Pastrnak was set to be a free agent at the end of the season and has spent his entire playing career for the Bruins and will remain here for the rest of his prime. This seems to be an appropriate contract for someone who is currently No. 2 in NHL goals and has been a constant 30-50 goal scorer for the last seven years.
The message that the Bruins front office is sending to its fans and around the league is that they are going for it all this year as well as looking to still be good long term. Many players are being added at the expense of draft capital, but this is a good thing for the Bruins because they have not had the best reputation at drafting and developing talent recently. If you can’t draft anyway, then why not use it to try to improve in the short term with as much depth and talent as possible?
Another reason why they are looking to go all in this year besides the pressure of having an amazing regular season is the age of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Both are free agents at the end of the year and at 37 and 36 years old respectively, who knows if they will have an opportunity this good ever again. The rest of the roster is stacked with experienced talent such as Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Jake DeBrusk and Hall. To go along with Vezina trophy front runner Linus Ullmark in net, who leads the NHL in every goaltending statistic, even scored a goal in a victory over Vancouver last week — a truly epic feat. The pieces are all there for Boston to get its second championship in the last 12 years; now we can only wait and see how the cards play out.