After watching all of their Atlantic Division rivals add pieces this week, Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney was able to stay true to his goal of not overpaying this deadline, as he did last year, but still added some quality depth by bringing in Winnipeg Jets winger Drew Stafford for a conditional 2017 sixth-round pick. The return becomes a 2017 fifth-round pick if the Bruins make the playoffs and a fourth-round pick if the Bruins win at least one playoff round and Stafford plays in 50% of postseason games.
Stafford is having the worst season of his NHL career, yes. However, that is also due in part to only playing in 40 games due to injury. Stafford is just one year removed from a 38-point season and scored 40 points or more four times earlier in his career. The Bruins are certainly familiar with his body of work with the rival Buffalo Sabres and were able to bring the scoring winger in at a very low cost. Boston has been rolling lately with a 7-1 record under new head coach Bruce Cassidy, but rookie winger Peter Cehlarik and streaky Jimmy Hayes have also been playing in top-nine roles nearly every night. If Sweeney had gone through the deadline without adding any additional depth to banged-up Matt Beleskey, he would have been risking the Bruins’ good momentum falling apart if either Cehlarik’s or Hayes’ play fell off. Stafford adds some excellent insurance for Boston down the stretch, as they look to return to the postseason for the first time in three years.