How Taylor Hall, Mike Reilly make Bruins better

Bruins dealt with 3 crucial locations in Hall, Reilly trades initially appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins lost 8-1 to the Washington Capitals on Sunday night, however that awful efficiency rapidly ended up being a footnote as the group made several trades to attend to a couple glaring lineup weak points.

The very first trade sent out a 2022 third-round choice to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Mike Reilly. The next trade supposedly includes the Bruins obtaining left winger Taylor Hall and center Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres for a second-round choice and forward Anders Bjork. Buffalo supposedly will maintain half of Hall’s wage, too.

Let’s take a look at 3 locations that B’s basic supervisor Don Sweeney dealt with by making the Hall and Reilly trades.

More ability, accelerate front

The Bruins have actually struggled to score beyond the very first line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. These 3 super star forwards all have at least 16 objectives. Nick Ritchie is 2nd on the group with 10, however just 2 have actually been available in his last 18 video games. Craig Smith is 5th with 8 objectives thanks to a current hot streak. No one else on the lineup has actually scored more than 5 times.

Second-line center David Krejci has 2 objectives in 35 video games. Third-line center Charlie Coyle has 5 objectives in 38 video games and absolutely no in his last 18. Jake DeBrusk has 4 objectives in 26 video games.

For the Bruins to have a possibility at winning several playoff rounds in the spring, the front workplace needed to obtain a middle-six winger with speed and ability, plus the capability to create offense off the rush and increase the shift video game with puck-carrying ability. Hall has the possible to supply the Bruins with those characteristics.

How about this for Boston’s 4 lines when healthy?

Excusable.

It requires to be kept in mind that Hall had a hard time offensively for the Sabres with simply 2 objectives and 19 points in 37 video games. Nevertheless, his shooting portion is a ridiculously low 2.3 percent — well listed below his profession average of 10 percent. 

Hall is due for some puck luck, to say the least, and there’s a good chance it’ll turn in his favor playing for a Bruins team that will surround him with much better players than he had in Buffalo, New Jersey and Arizona over the last four-plus years. Hall also gets to play the last-place Sabres six times in Boston’s final 17 regular season games, giving him plenty of time against awful competition to build chemistry with his new linemates.

He’s just three years removed from a 93-point season for the Devils in 2017-18 that earned him the Hart Trophy as league MVP. Injuries derailed his 2018-19 campaign, but he did bounce back with a respectable 52 points in 65 games between the Devils and Coyotes last season. He also has six seasons of 20-plus goals since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Oilers in 2010. His playmaking ability is underrated, too.

Bruins fans shouldn’t expect a Hart Trophy-caliber Hall coming into Boston. He’s not that type of elite player anymore. But the Bruins had to make this move to inject much-needed offensive talent into a veteran core that probably will be making its last run at a Stanley Cup title in the spring.

The potential upside of Hall is far greater than the cost was to acquire him. Therefore, it’s a worthy gamble by the B’s.

Left-shot defenseman

The Bruins’ top priority at the trade deadline needed to be finding a veteran defenseman to play the left side of the blue line, and Reilly fits the bill.

The B’s defensive corps has been hit hard by injuries this season, and the unit was missing four regulars — Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller — on Sunday night. 

In addition to much-needed left-side depth, Reilly also improves the Bruins at 5-on-5, where they’ve struggled all season.

The Senators accounted for 52.2 percent of all shot attempts (608 for, 557 against), 52.6 percent of all shots on net (348 for, 314 against) and 52.2 percent of all scoring chances (286 for, 262 against) during 5-on-5 action with Reilly on the ice. In fact, he ranks second behind Avalanche star Cale Makar in 5-on-5 assists per 60 minutes (1.27) among the 134 defensemen with 500-plus 5-on-5 minutes played in 2021. And it’s not like Reilly is getting easy offensive-zone starts, either. His o-zone start portion is just 35.6.

Reilly’s offensive skill set will help the Bruins in all three zones. He also gives Boston a more reliable option on the left side than the younger and more inexperienced Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. A Reilly-Carlo second pairing is better than a Lauzon-Carlo duo.

The B’s didn’t give up much to get Reilly, and if he ends up not being a good fit, the group can let him walk in free agency this summer. It’s a low-risk move with the potential for a very nice reward. 

Try to win and preserve best future assets

The Bruins acquired a quality left-shot defenseman and a top-six forward without giving up a first-round draft pick, which, to be fair to Sweeney, is pretty impressive. A couple deals made over the last few days involved first-round picks being dealt for rentals — Kyle Palmieri, Nick Foligno and David Savard. 

Boston was able to preserve its 2021 first-rounder, which is important because the team has traded away two of its last three first-round selections. Giving up those picks largely contributed to the Bruins currently having the worst prospect pool in the league.

The Bruins likewise didn’t give up any of their top prospects (Jack Studnicka, Jeremy Swayman, etc.) or young NHLers who were long-term fits. Bjork showed flashes of potential however couldn’t stay healthy nor produce offensively on a consistent basis.

Trying to balance winning in 2021 while not gutting an already bare cupboard of assets wasn’t going to be an easy task for the Bruins entering the trade due date, but they have actually done a good job of it over the last 24 hr.

All statistics through Natural Stat Technique

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.