Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Boston Bruins waited until the last second, but they indeed added to their group on deadline day, picking up forward Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and 2020 fourth-round pick.

Johansson, a 6-foot-1 forward with experience playing all three forward positions, comes to Boston having tallied 12 goals and 27 points in 48 games with the Devils this season, including six goals and 12 points in his last 13 games overall.

The deal sees the Bruins conclude their trade deadline week with the addition of Charlie Coyle, Lee Stempniak, and Johansson for Ryan Donato, a 2019 second-round pick, 2019 conditional fifth-round pick (converts to a fourth should the Bruins advance to the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs), and 2020 fourth-round draft pick.

Here are some quick thoughts in the immediate aftermath of the deal…

– I think people are going to like Johansson. Listen, he’s not Mark Stone or Artemi Panarin. But he’s a veteran that has experience playing left wing, right wing, and some center. He can play on your first line (he did that quite a bit during his seven-year run with the Capitals) or your third line without a significant drop in his three-zone game, can log some power-play time when necessary, and will help on generate o-zone time and chances with solid zone entries.

For a team that’s struggled to find a consistent lineup, giving Bruce Cassidy another option for his nightly tinkering seems welcomed, especially if it allows the Bruins to move Coyle into a top-six winger role if deemed necessary.

– I am extremely curious as to where they envision Johansson playing. It seems natural to move him to the right side of their second line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, allowing DeBrusk to continue to play on his natural left side, but perhaps he’s a third-line fit to help elevate Coyle’s offensive game more than David Backes or Joakim Nordstrom ever could.

– With all that in mind, though, I must admit I’m not crazy about the price the B’s paid to add Johansson to the mix.

At least when I compare it to some of the other mid-tier rental pieces traded in the last three days, anyway.

The Red Wings received a second- and third-round selection from the Sharks for Gustav Nyquist. The Avalanche acquired Derick Brassard for a third-round pick. Veteran Ranger Mats Zuccarello was sent to the Star for a second-round pick and conditional third-round pick, and Senators winger Ryan Dzingel went to Columbus for a pair of second rounders.

Of course, not every move is in simple black and white; Boston was really hot for Nyquist as late as Sunday night, but it’s believed that Nyquist would not waive his no-trade clause to move to Boston, essentially forcing a move to San Jose. The Zuccarello sweeps were likely too rich for Boston’s blood, as that aforementioned conditional third becomes a first-round pick should the Stars keep Zuccarello beyond this season (a potential future outcome that, though unlikely, is something the Rangers will gamble on every single time). And in regards to the Dzingel move, it feels worth mentioning that the Blue Jackets and Senators already had some established dialogue in the immediate aftermath of the Matt Duchene trade.

Still, it’s just a little much, especially when you look at some of Boston’s recent round two hits under Sweeney, from Brandon Carlo to Jack Studnicka. (I’d love to include Axel Andersson, but we’ll need another camp before we can officially do that.)

– The Devils retaining 40 percent of Johansson’s salary may seem odd considering Boston’s available deadline space, but consider this: The Bruins still have a ton of impact players on their entry-level contracts, which comes with a bunch of bonuses that could hurt the Bruins should they succeed as individuals or as a team for that matter. Making sure you have as much end-of-year cap room as possible to ensure that bonus overages won’t eat up some of your 2019-20 space is a big move for the Bruins, especially with the Charlie McAvoy contract looming over the club.

– This feels more 2016 and 2017 than it does 2018, to be honest.

It was in 2016 that Sweeney added Lee Stempniak for a pair of draft picks (a deal Sweeney made with the Devils, ironically enough) and John-Michael Liles, and added Drew Stafford for a conditional low-end pick the following deadline. You get the sense that the Bruins tried to target some of the high-priced pieces — like Stone, and even Eric Staal’s — but were either unwilling to match the desired asking price or unwilling to spend the trade capital to get the other team to bite.

– The elephant in the room: Brad Marchand ended Johansson’s 2017-18 regular season with a downright vicious and dirty elbow to the head. Johansson, of course, was not happy with that, and made it known.

“It was stupid,” Johansson, who missed 35 regular-season games and New Jersey’s first two postseason tilts in total, said in his first interview after the hit. “There’s nothing else to say about it. There was no point in doing that. There was no hockey play whatsoever. It’s sad to see there are still guys out there trying to hurt other guys. It’s sad. It’s stupid.

“I hoping it doesn’t come to him ending someone else’s career before it’s enough.”

How will this play in the Boston room? I’d like to think they’re both professionals and will be able to let it go with a good talk. Marchand will definitely initiate that conversation to apologize and move forward. And Johansson, for what it’s worth, apparently told Sweeney that he’d much rather player with Marchand than play against him. It’s a good start.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.