Reilly Smith Quickly Becoming a Steal for Boston Bruins
From the second after the Boston Bruins traded away former No. 2 draft pick Tyler Seguin, along with Rich Peverley, to the Dallas Stars for Loui Eriksson and prospects, the debate of who won the trade has been raging on. Dallas found themselves a potential superstar whom Boston had grown tired of due to his defensive issues and rumored immaturity. The Bruins received a proven NHL vet just entering his prime in Eriksson, a two-way forward who would ideally fit perfectly with Selke Award winner Patrice Bergeron. They also were given a handful of young players they could groom for the future. But, the question remained, just who exactly won the deal?
Well, when comparing the two marquee names in the trade, it looks like Dallas is pulling away. Seguin leads the Stars in scoring, with 15 goals and 27 points overall. He had two hat tricks in the span of a month, including one four-goal performance. On the other end of the spectrum, Eriksson is having trouble staying on the ice. It took him a few games to get going, but once he finally did, a concussion at the hands –or elbow– of Buffalo Sabres forward John Scott put him on the disabled list. He eventually returned, but a month later was concussed again, this time by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. He was placed on IR yesterday as a result.
Obviously, you can’t blame these injuries on the player himself, but the Bruins have to be upset about the fact that the prize piece of their blockbuster trade now has very serious health concerns.
However, there’s one reason the Bruins are still hanging in there in terms of saving face in the Stars trade, and that’s winger Reilly Smith.
Originally tabbed as an additional piece to the deal, Smith has slowly but surely made a name for himself in New England. At 21 points, he’s third on the team in overall scoring. He’s a big reason why the Bruins’ third line has maintained a solid efficiency for most of the season. The chemistry he’s developing with Swedish forward Carl Soderberg is undeniable, resulting in both players becoming consistent scoring threats. Due to his early season success, Smith has been seeing a good amount of power play time as well, and has had a big hand in helping the unit become more successful this year.
He certainly showed what he could do last night during Boston’s bout with the Calgary Flames. Tied 1-1 heading into the final minutes of the third period, Smith broke into the Flames zone with the puck, self-passed to get around a defender and beat Flames goalie Reto Berra with a bad-angle shot that became the game-winner. It was definitely one for the highlight reel.
Is Smith becoming the real gem of the Dallas trade? It’s a little early to jump on that bandwagon at the moment. At the same time, I highly doubt Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli executed this deal thinking, two months into the season, Smith would be amongst team leaders in points.
There’s no way you can determine a winner of the Stars-Bruins trade this early into the year. Yes, Seguin is lighting it up right now, while Eriksson is recovering his second concussion in a little over a month. Regardless, we’re a long way from a completed season, which will be needed in order to get a good look at how the deal is pacing for each club.
At the same time, while Eriksson’s health issues are of great concern for Chiarelli and the front office, he has to be thrilled with the results of Smith, who’s gone from “complimentary piece” to one of the team’s biggest bright spots.