It’s unclear where defenseman Nick Holden will fit into the Bruins’ lineup, if and when he gets in there. But Boston’s newest trade acquisition will certainly give the B’s added depth on the blue line. And GM Don Sweeney realized their need for it as far back as last year’s playoff series.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in the wake of the trade, which sent Rob O’Gara and a third-round pick to the Rangers for Holden, Sweeney essentially described it as a depth move – but also indicated that Holden will see regular ice time at the NHL level.
“We’re going to incorporate him into our lineup and see where we go,” said Sweeney. “I think you have to acknowledge the need for the depth.”
“We Needed To Address It”
As you may remember, the Bruins dealt with a rash of injuries on the defense during last season’s first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators. It forced the team to call up Charlie McAvoy from Providence as a 19-year-old with no NHL experience.
Sweeney is looking to have the Bruins better prepared for a potential situation like last spring. In other words, he’d rather call up a guy like Holden (or even Paul Postma – remember him?) than an inexperienced prospect like Jakub Zboril or Jeremy Lauzon.
“We were on our 10th defenseman last year when we got into the playoffs, so if we’re fortunate enough to get back in there now this year, then I think we needed to address it,” said Sweeney.
Based on Sweeney’s comments and the assets he gave up for Holden, the defenseman won’t necessarily be that depth player who will sit out games as a reserve. He would presumably slide into the regular lineup once he’s ready. That could mean he supplants Matt Grzelcyk on the roster, and could even play alongside Brandon Carlo on the second pairing while moving Torey Krug to a third-pairing role.
Either way, the 6-foot-4 Holden gives the Bruins some added size on the left side. And Sweeney sounds comfortable holding nine NHL-ready defensemen on the roster ahead of the playoffs, in attempt to avoid the problems that faced the team last season.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.