The Boston Bruins announced that they have made their second trade of the day as they have sent forward Shane Bowers to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Reilly Walsh. The news comes on the heels of the Taylor Hall trade that the Bruins completed earlier this afternoon. Boston has a great deal of salary cap maneuvering to complete as they hope to retain much of the core that won the President’s Trophy this season.
The trade sees the swap of a couple of 2017 draft picks who have both played just one game in the NHL in their respective careers. Bowers was a late first-round pick by the Ottawa Senators and was dealt a few months later as part of the ill-fated Matt Duchene three-team trade that also saw Kyle Turris go to Nashville, and Bowers end up with the Colorado Avalanche. Bowers spent five seasons in the AHL with the Colorado Eagles before he was traded to Boston this past February for Keith Kincaid. He’s never been regarded as much of an offensive player as his career high in the AHL came in 2018-19 when he put up 27 points in 48 games. He was always a stretch to be selected in the first round and at 23 years old it appears he will likely be a career minor leaguer barring a turnaround in his play. This past year in 57 games split between the Eagles and Providence Bowers put up just 21 points.
Walsh on the other hand was a third-round selection by the Devils and has spent his entire professional career in their organization. He’s been a very solid offensive defenseman in the AHL putting up 23 goals and 76 assists in 174 career games. Walsh could potentially compete for a spot as the Bruins seventh defender depending on how their salary cap maneuvering plays out, but at this point it looks like an AHL shuffling of the furniture for both teams.
One must wonder what Bruins general manager has in store for his group. With his second trade of the day, it appears that he is setting up for something. Boston has several key free agents to sign and limited cap space to do it. Bowers was going to be eligible for arbitration but it’s unlikely he would have received much of an award given how little he has contributed at the NHL level. Reilly is also an RFA on July 1st so Boston will need to sign him to a new contract.