Another trade deadline had seemingly come and gone for the Bruins when the clock struck 3:00 PM, presumingly standing pat for the first time since 2008. But, about fifteen minutes past the trade deadline, a prime time for random trades to ooze out into the open in any given sport, ESPN reported that Boston traded a conditional sixth round pick for F Drew Stafford from the Jets.
Like myself, you were probably wondering who in the hell this guy is. Stafford was a notorious Bruins killer in his previous nine seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. Though, the former first-round pick out of Milwaukee was traded to Winnipeg last season, due to his expiring contract. The 31 year old is known for his inconsistencies and his number of injuries over his lengthy career, but considering the fact that the Bruins gave up virtually nothing for the guy, there’s not much to complain about.
Stafford is a year removed from a 21-goal season, and is a four-time 20-goal scorer. He’s known for his pure offensive ability, despite tallying a measly four goals and 13 points in 40 games with the Jets this season. He possesses a notable size factor, standing at 6’2”, weighing just over 200 pounds, and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves if he has to.
Believe it or not, this guy can actually help out the B’s quite a bit if he stays healthy. Boston has a problem on the right side past David Backes and David Pastrnak, with guys like Tim Schaller, Riley Nash and Jimmy Hayes just not getting the job done. Stafford is a right winger and could potentially, at least temporarily, fix that issue down the stretch. He can be moved up and down the lineup, when and if need be. It’s never a bad idea to have some depth, and Stafford gives you just that. The Bruins are more than perfectly fine at center, so this gives Stafford the chance to bounce around and relax, then creating a domino effect, so the other wingers can do the same.
Stafford can be a decent secondary scoring option for the B’s on either the third or fourth line, depending on what Cassidy decides to do with Hayes or Nash on the given day. Hayes would probably be the one scratched in favor of Stafford, which is music to probably every Bruins fan’s ears. At this point, anything is an upgrade over Hayes, especially as every game is a must-win inching towards the playoffs in an uncertain Atlantic Division.
At the end of the day, this is an automatic win-win for Boston. They gave up literally nothing for him, and Winnipeg will eat up the rest of his contract. This is the epitome of the phrase "low-risk, high-reward." Who knows how much of an impact he will actually have, but he’s a great Plan B or C. He can keep his end clear and score you some goals when he has to, and can provide some amount of help towards a desperate Bruins third line. He’s pretty much guaranteed gone after this season, too. A decent rental for nothing at all is nothing to complain about, given Boston’s current needs.