Keeping up with the 617: The Bo Horvat dilemma

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With the “dog days” of the NHL season in full swing, the Boston Bruins are continuing their incredible start. After their win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday, they became the second fastest team in NHL history to reach 35 wins — an absurd statistic. While their great play continues to puzzle hockey pundits, the foundation was there for years before head coach Jim Montgomery took the helm; since the Bruins have adopted Montgomery’s offensive-minded system, the team has achieved their full potential.

Currently, the Boston Bruins lead the NHL with 74 points through 44 games, 12 points clear of the Carolina Hurricanes who sit second in the NHL. They’ve only been defeated in regulation five times, and goaltender Linus Ullmark is the front runner for the Vezina Trophy. Still, Bruins fans believe this team is not complete and in need of another offensive piece for a deep playoff run. One name that continues to circle the trade rumor mill is Bo Horvat, who is second overall in points on the struggling Vancouver Canucks with 49. Currently lining up as the center for either Vancouver’s first or second line, Horvat has versatility on both ends of the ice and could offer goal-scoring depth for Jim Montgomery and the Bruins.

While Horvat would be a spectacular deadline addition, doesn’t the cost and risk seem too steep for this team? Given that Horvat has top-six forward potential and the Canucks are inevitably headed for a long rebuild, a large pool of young prospects would be the minimum for Vancouver to accept a deal. As talented as the Bruins current roster is, their prospect pool is remarkably weak, with Fabian Lysell and Johnny Beecher being the top picks of the litter. 

Additionally, breaking up this current forward core might be detrimental to the Bruins’ playoff chances. The top three centers on this team — Patrice Bergeron, David Krejčí and Charlie Coyle — are thriving in their respective roles. With the addition of Horvat, Coyle would bump down to the fourth line with A.J. Greer and Nick Foligno. Not to slouch the talent of Greer and Foligno, but they serve as enforcers, something that isn’t part of Coyle’s game; he’d stick out like a sore thumb and his impact on the pace of play would drastically decrease. Sure, with Horvat, the Bruins’ power play unit would receive a slight upgrade, but given that the Bruins currently have the third best unit in the NHL, a new addition could thwart their progress.

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To keep my opinion blunt, an addition of Bo Horvat to the Bruins roster seems to not have the biggest impact as others think. Instead of finding the biggest fish on the trade market, Don Sweeney should be looking to grab depth pieces for the fourth line. Although they don’t provide much of an offensive spark in the postseason, a productive fourth line is able to shut down offensive juggernauts and grind out scoring chances. Keep this team intact Don, because they have a special swagger and talent that will translate to a deep playoff run come spring.

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