By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney says that Charlie Coyle will likely have a primary role on the third line. But he also hinted that the B's are done making moves ahead of the NHL trade deadline.
Coyle is likely to slide in at the No. 3 center spot, which will be an immediate upgrade over the inexperienced Trent Frederic. The latter needs more seasoning before he's ready for the NHL stage so Coyle's presence will mark a clear improvement at what's been an area of need all season.
The B's have addressed their No. 2 need. But what about the No. 1 need - secondary scoring for the top-six? Sweeney isn't exactly hinting at fireworks.
"I don’t know if we’re going to necessarily do anything else," Sweeney told reporters on Thursday. "We'll continue to look at the marketplace and see what may or may not fit with our club. We’re going to cross our fingers that we stay healthy ... and improve positioning if possible as we get down to the last 21 games."
Boston has been linked to prominent trade deadline targets like Senators winger Mark Stone and Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds. Sweeney doesn't have to promise anything, but if he truly feels Coyle is the piece that elevates the Bruins to a top Stanley Cup contender he's being quite optimistic.
Perhaps Sweeney feels the B's can get their second-line scoring boost by simply putting David Pastrnak in that spot when he returns from a thumb injury. Danton Heinen has played his best hockey of the season in five games since moving up to the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.
If Sweeney and the Bruins really are done making moves, that's probably their best recourse. But to lean on Heinen for the rest of the season as a reliably productive top-line wing would be a major risk for a team that has a limited window to contend for a Cup while guys like Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask are still playing at a high level.
The Bruins may not actually be done yet, but either way Sweeney sounds comfortable with what his roster will look like come mid-April.
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 protected].