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    The cap-strapped Bruins didn’t add a marquee name this time around. But they didn’t entirely sit this year’s trade deadline out.

    Don Sweeney added some needed grit up front, acquiring three-time Stanley Cup winner Pat Maroon from Minnesota for Luke Toporowski and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2026. He then turned his attention to the back end, adding a right-shot D in Andrew Peeke from Columbus for Jakub Zboril and a 2027 third-round pick.

    Maroon’s prime days may be behind him, too, but the veteran winger remains a reliable option in an 8-10 minute role on Boston’s fourth line once he returns from a back ailment.

    Peeke adds a physical, shot-blocking presence as a potential third-pairing option. But even on a lowly Columbus bunch, overall defensive inconsistencies stood out more than most on a depth-lacking blue line.

    The Bruins know what they have in Maroon. They hope Peeke can develop into a well-rounded blue-liner akin to Parker Wotherspoon, who signed a one-year extension worth $800,000.

    To make room for Maroon and Peeke, the Bruins sent the struggling Derek Forbort on LTIR. With at least one surgery on the docket, the veteran blue-liner will likely miss the remainder of the season after enduring two separate nagging injuries this season.

    Linus Ullmark reportedly declining to waive his no-trade clause and Jake DeBrusk remaining in Boston for the rest of the season capped off Boston’s Deadline Day.

    Here’s a deeper dive into all of Sweeney’s activity from Friday.

    The Bruins will ride the season out with the Ullmark/Swayman tandem.

    Trading Ullmark’s cap hit might have given Sweeney enough financial flexibility for a potential upgrade on the left side of the blue line or down the middle of Boston’s top six. But the Bruins weren’t going to deal the other half of their dynamic goaltending tandem just for the sake of adding any first or second-line center or first or second-pairing defenseman.

    Sweeney wouldn’t delve into the specifics of Ullmark potentially waiving his no-trade clause in a potential deal with Los Angeles. Nor would he address any other rumor from the last few days involving the 2023 Vezina winner.

    They’ll have more flexibility to address Ullmark’s future during the off-season, even as his no-trade list slightly shrinks from 16 to 15 teams during the final year of his contract.

    So, for at least one more postseason, the Bruins will try their hand at making a deep run with their prolific duo.

    “I like the tandem we have right now, and I’m happy that we did stand pat there,” Sweeney said. I made no bones that if I had to rob a real strength of this hockey club, it’s something we may have to do if it made our team ultimately better, and we didn’t move in that direction.”

    As it stands, Swayman has the upper hand to start Boston’s opening-round matchup. They shouldn’t deviate from rotating Ullmark into that spot, but as last year proved, Bob Essenssa, Jim Montgomery and the Boston coaching staff can’t wait too long if they decide to rotate their two netminders.

    The Panthers and Golden Knights provided a blueprint of rotational success during last year’s Cup run before settling on Sergei Bobrovsky and Adin Hill. Even after a somewhat disappointing deadline day, a similar route involving Ullmark and Swayman isn’t the worst development the Bruins could potentially encounter.

    DeBrusk is the last one standing from the 2015 first-round class.

    The wasted opportunity from Sweeney’s first turn at the 2015 NHL Draft will remain a sore spot on his resume. And now, only one member from that first-round trio remains.

    Merely two years after dealing Zach Senyshyn to Ottawa for Josh Brown and a conditional 2022 seventh-round pick, the Bruins officially cut bait with the 13th selection of that infamous Draft.

    Zboril’s trade came amid the heightened chatter and scrutiny toward DeBrusk, the most productive member of that first-round class. But nothing materialized on the DeBrusk front. Now, he’s a few months away from hitting the open market.

    DeBrusk entered Boston’s centennial campaign hoping to build off his career season in 2022-23. While his nightly efforts weren’t so much under question as it was under Bruce Cassidy, DeBrusk’s scoring production reverted to streaky form amid a transitional year under Montgomery. 

    Again, had the Bruins found a better option on the market, they could’ve entertained parting ways with DeBrusk.

    A mere two years after requesting a trade, DeBrusk publicly expressed an interest in staying in Boston for the long term. The Bruins, however, will want more scoring consistency from an engaged DeBrusk before committing to a potential long-term investment.

    “We’ll continue to talk. Last year, David [Pastrnak’s] deal got done before the deadline. Jake’s won’t. But that doesn’t mean we don’t value him,” Sweeney said of DeBrusk. “We clearly value Jake because he’s a big part of our hockey club, and the game last night is a great indication on how he can impact in a positive way. We like him as a player. Didn’t feel comfortable trying to — as I said with other players — make a switch, or make a change that we thought we’d be better without him.”

    Maroon’s championship pedigree will only benefit Boston’s Cup ambitions.

    During Thursday’s tense 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs, the Bruins showcased a healthy mix of grit and sticktoitiveness.

    Knowing they may need more sandpaper ahead of the playoffs, Sweeney addressed this need accordingly.

    “The guy is a winner. He’s been on a couple of different teams, won Cups,” forward Charlie Coyle said of Maroon. Those are the type of guys that can only help you in your room. The physical presence he brings, the veteran leadership, a guy, like I said, who has won multiple times — that can only help your dressing room, and I think he’s going to do that.”

    The Bruins encountered a firsthand account of Maroon’s bottom-six skillset, beginning with the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. A year later, the Tampa Bay Lightning, fresh off their record-breaking regular season, acquired Maroon to fulfill their fourth-line need for the stretch run. In turn, Maroon earned two more rings in 2020 and 2021 before departing for Minnesota this past off-season.

    Maroon and his league-leading 103 playoff games since 2019 will only provide another asset for Boston’s Stanley Cup ambitions. He’ll also have a former teammate from his Anaheim days to lean on upon his initiation with his new club.

    “He was always a good player for us, especially come playoff time. I think that’s where he always stepped up his game,” Lindholm said of his time with Maroon out west. “Great guy to be around and a great teammate who I’ve learned from playing with him — and against him. So, I’m super excited to have him here and be a part of the Bruins. And he’s excited as well, I think.”

    What do the Bruins see in Peeke?


    The Bruins know Maroon’s history well enough to make a low-risk, high-reward deal with Minnesota. But their second and final trade from Friday comes with a gamble.

    Sweeney and the front office hope the coaching staff will round Peeke’s game into form.

    Peeke encountered a steep drop off from his first few seasons in Columbus after signing a three-year contract with a $2.7 million annual cap hit during the off-season. The 6-foot-3 defenseman went from logging over 80 games averaging over 21 minutes a night from his prior two seasons to frequent healthy scratch status, resulting in just 23 appearances during his final stint with the bottom-feeding Blue Jackets.

    For a player labeled as a potential buyout candidate, the Bruins encounter a significant risk with Peeke, especially without the Blue Jackets retaining any of his remaining salary. His spot on Boston’s blue line is far from guaranteed, even with Forbort’s transition to LTIR.

    Perhaps Peeke works his way out of a potential rotational role with Wotherspoon and Kevin Shattenkirk on the right side of Boston’s third pairing and into a nightly regular. Maybe he’ll provide that needed muscle and shot-blocking element along the net front. Until then, the Bruins will proceed with caution.

    “He was in and out of the lineup, then he jumps in and plays 20-some-odd minutes against Edmonton. So that’s a pretty good challenge,” Sweeney said of Peeke. “That means there could be a way to get his own confidence out of him each and every night. He might be in the lineup every night, he might not. It’s merit-based. But we feel very good that he brings a different element, but he has to play very well if he’s going to go into that spot.”

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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