The Boston Bruins continued to wheel and deal prior to Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline, as they sent forward Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers for a 2018 3rd-round pick on Thursday afternoon.
The 23-year-old appeared in 25 games with the Bruins this season, notching two goals with a -3 rating. The East Longmeadow, MA native skated in just seven games since late December, and was currently out of the lineup with a lower-body injury. He was on the ice in Toronto today with newly-acquired defenseman Nick Holden, with both players getting in some practice time alone while the B’s rested prior to Saturday’s contest with the Maple Leafs.
Vatrano made a name for himself during the 2015-16 season, tearing up the AHL for 36 goals and 19 assists with a +21 rating in just 36 games in Providence. He added eight more goals and three assists in 39 appearances with Boston, and looked like the young scoring threat that the Bruins desperately needed. A foot injury prior to last season hampered his progress, and he failed to make the Opening Night roster out of camp this year. A plethora of injuries at the start of this season gave Vatrano plenty of chances to earn a permanent spot, but he just couldn’t replicate his tremendous output from two seasons ago.
It wasn't exactly a secret that Frank Vatrano was looking for a move elsewhere after falling behind other wingers on the Bruins depth chart this season. He'll get that second chance in Florida
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) February 22, 2018
Adam’s Take: With Boston excelling over the past two months, and several younger players stepping up on both ends of the rink, the writing was on the wall for Vatrano. He was out of options, and has been the extra forward for a large portion of this season. The B’s did not want to risk placing him on waivers, knowing that he would undoubtedly get claimed by another team, so flipping him for a third-round pick was a solid move. Boston had just given up their own third-round pick in the Holden deal, so getting back into that portion of this year’s Draft was clearly a high priority for Don Sweeney and the B’s front office. Vatrano will have a chance to kick-start his career in Florida, and Bruins’ fans will keep their eyes on him, but it was more and more evident that his time in Boston was up and there was no room on this exciting, young roster for him.