Over the past couple of seasons, especially the current one, the Bruins have been missing a top-four left-shot defenseman to pair with young stud Charlie McAvoy. While this is an immediate need and an expensive one to acquire in a trade or free agency, there is always a critical need to have depth pieces. The Bruins have seen their fair share of injuries to their D-core, starting with the loss of Jakub Zboril back in October with a torn ACL. Lately, the Bruins have been dealing with a banged-up Matt Grzelcyk, who’s dealing with an upper-body injury and hasn’t played since March 5th. The other injury has been to Urho Vaakanainen, who is also dealing with an upper-body injury and just returned to practice the other day. This has led to the Bruins having young plays like Jack Ahcan making spot appearances and Connor Clifton playing 40 games this season on the third pairing with Derek Forbort. One thing that never hurts a playoff contender is having depth, especially on defense, when making a playoff push. When having a player that can eat up minutes, be highly effective on the penalty-killing unit and be a tough guy that will lay the body and defend his teammates, luckily for the Boston Bruins, they may acquire a player just like that at the trade deadline from the San Jose Sharks.
Jacob Middleton has been a name that has often appeared as the trade deadline rapidly approaches as we are now 11 days away from the league landscape changing. Not many deals have been made as the buyers are waiting for the cap space to become available as the deadline nears, leaving sellers impatient to get their possible future changing hauls. Luckily for the Bruins, Jacob Middleton won’t require a massive haul that strips away top prospects and high-end draft picks, making him an excellent fit for a team just needing a depth piece.
What Does Middleton Bring to the Team?
Middleton is capable of pairing on any line as he’s played with both Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns at times during this season, showing his versatility to rise to the challenge when called into action. Two things that make Middleton even more interesting are his ability on the penalty-killing unit that he has helped anchor in San Jose, which ranks second in the league, and the other is his contract. As he’s only making $725,000 this year, Middleton will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year, leaving him to be more than just a playoff rental at a low price. Middleton is only 26 years old and a staggering 6-foot-3 220-pound monster that loves playing that physical, enforcing brand of hockey that the bruins have been missing.
For those wondering how Middleton will look in Boston, he has been compared to Kevan Miller, just slightly bigger but able to bring that physicality and toughness that every Boston team has had throughout the years. Middleton will bring to this team the ability to play heavy minutes against quality competition, kill penalties, block shots, and especially clear traffic in front of the net for Swayman and Ullmark. This type of player on your roster only makes you a better, more versatile team poised for a playoff run. Keep a close eye on Middleton as the days continue to dwindle and the trade deadline rapidly approaches as Don Sweeney and company continue to do their due diligence in making this team better and more complete in the quest for the 2022 Stanley Cup.