The Boston Bruins ship winger Reilly Smith and the rights to Marc Savard to the Florida Panthers for forward Jimmy Hayes. The Montreal Canadiens traded forward Brandon Prust to the Vancouver Canucks for winger Zack Kassian and a fifth-round pick in 2016.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney has certainly taken his share of flak for his recent moves, but Bruins fans should like the fact he shed the remainder of the all-but-retired Savard’s contract. They should like what the 6’6″, 222-pound Hayes brings to the rink. He tallied 19 goals and 35 points on an offensively anemic Panthers club last season and has power-forward potential. He’s also a restricted free agent and should be an affordable signing for the Bruins.
The Panthers are getting a good return in Smith, who’s tallied 40-or-more point seasons in the past two years. He could prove to be an excellent addition to the young, rebuilding Panthers. He’s also under contract for the next two seasons at $3.425 million annually.
Canucks fans tore Canucks GM Jim Benning apart for trading away a young forward and a fifth-rounder for a veteran fourth-liner like Prust. However, Kassian failed to develop into the power forward he was projected to be. The 24-year-old winger went through three coaches in Vancouver and showed some promise but not much else.The Canadiens needed size and grit up front and Kassian will provide that. It’ll be interesting to see if Canadiens coach Michel Therrien has more success in bringing out his scoring game.
Prust, 31, is entering the final year of his contract. He’s got some miles on him, but he’s an experienced energy forward who doesn’t shy away from a challenge and often plays through pain. At least with Prust, the Canucks know what they’re getting, and it’s only a short-term pickup. If he doesn’t pan out, they can replace him next summer via free agency.