Never one to show his full hand, Don Sweeney hinted on Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena that perhaps Boston’s scoring woes could still be alleviated by in-house candidates, especially if Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk can get on a bit of a roll.
“We’ve been consistently a top-10 team all year long,” Sweeney said. “Areas of the game where we’ve been consistent, on the power play, goals against, things that we take pride in. And areas where we’ve been deficient in, we’ve tried to find internal solutions and they haven’t necessarily materialized.
“Whether or not they will between now and then? I don’t know. Maybe that’s beating my head against the wall, but I’d like to think some of our players will continue to grow and get better.”
Still, given Boston’s already established issues with secondary scoring and production during 5v5 play, it seems as though the writing is on the wall when it comes to Sweeney and the Bruins pulling the trigger on a deal ahead of the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
Even if he covets his pipeline of prospects and draft capital, it seems as though Sweeney doesn’t have many options at this point other than to bring in some reinforcements, especially with David Pastrnak set to miss at least two weeks due to a thumb injury.
While Sweeney said Pastrnak’s absence doesn’t change his overall approach to the trade deadline, it looks as though Boston’s GM was already engaged on multiple fronts before Pastrnak even went on the shelf. At this point, Boston’s weaknesses are well-documented, as are the club’s needs — a third-line center and/or a top-six wing.
But given how potential targets such as Panarin, Simmonds, Micheal Ferland and others are set to cash in this summer as unrestricted free agents, are the Bruins and Sweeney better served staying out of the rental market?