Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins not missing much from their 2017-18 departures

Matt Kalman
November 27, 2018 - 2:23 pm

The Bruins’ lineup has been decimated by injuries, especially to their defense corps, but they’ve plowed full speed ahead.

They’re the first wild card in the Eastern Conference with 30 points, just four points back of Toronto and Buffalo for second and third in the Atlantic Division.

Despite their success, their depth has sometimes come into question. Did they let go of someone during the offseason that could’ve helped them now?

With that in mind here’s a quick look at the players from the 2017-18 Bruins that were let go and how they’re faring in their new environs this season:

Riley Nash, C

Left for Columbus for $2.75 million through 2020-21

Nash is the player most Bruins observers wonder about because even before the Bruins were hit by injuries they were struggling to find a third-line center replacement for him. Well there’s no telling how he’d be doing if the Bruins had given him his money but his stint with the Blue Jackets has been a disaster. He has two assists in 23 games and is averaging just 12:05 of ice time, down from 15:25 last season.

The Bruins thought they had strength in numbers in terms of young centers to replace Nash; they were wrong in the present, but might be right down the road. The Bruins still believe in Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Trent Frederic and Jack Studnicka, they’re just going to need more patience.

A reunion with Nash even if Columbus was willing to deal and retain some money would be counterproductive because the Bruins can’t block the way for their prospects. A rental would make more sense when the Bruins are ready to solidify the third-center spot if internal options don’t eventually pan out.

Do the Bruins miss him? Barely and not at the term he signed for with the Blue Jackets.

Anton Khudobin, G

Left for Dallas for $2.5 million through 2019-20

The best $750,000 the Bruins spent was the money they threw at Jaroslav Halak, who has been near the top of the save percentage and goals-against average charts all season while establishing a true 1-1A goalie situation with Tuukka Rask. Khudobin has a .905 save percentage and 3.07 GAA and he has recently struggled playing every night in place of an injured Ben Bishop.

Do the Bruins miss him? His personality, maybe; his goaltending, no.

Tim Schaller

Left for Vancouver for $1.9 million through 2019-20

Even before he started the season with no goals (and three assists) in 23 games for the Canucks the Bruins knew Schaller would be the easiest departure to replace. Joakim Nordstrom has played up and down Boston’s lineup and given them a little bit of everything. Chris Wagner has been a solid fourth-line wing.

Schaller has spent time on Vancouver’s top line but he’s clearly struggling to be more than a grinder now that he’s out West.

Do the Bruins miss him? Nope.

Adam McQuaid

Traded to the New York Rangers on Sept. 11 for Steven Kampfer and draft picks

Ironically the Bruins traded McQuaid because they didn’t want to have to scratch him and then the injuries would have opened up playing time. But the twist is, of course, McQuaid is injured. He hasn’t played in a month. The Bruins miss his grit but they did the right thing by him and Kampfer was a decent placeholder during the peak of the rash of injuries until he finally became exposed by ice time and wound up in the press box.

Do the Bruin miss him? When healthy no one played harder than McQuaid but odds are he’d be on the sidelines with the rest of the injured D if he was here instead of New York.

Nick Holden

Left for Vegas for $2.2 million through 2019-20

Holden’s averaging almost 19 minutes a night and has eight points in 25 games. Sure he’d fit in on Boston’s blue line but the Bruins couldn’t promise him ice time and John Moore looks like a solid upgrade.

Do the Bruins miss him? Between Moore’s signing and Matt Grzelcyk’s improvement the Bruins have Holden’s role covered.

Austin Czarnik

Left for Calgary for $1.25 million through 2019-20

Czarnik couldn’t regularly crack the lineup in Boston and became an unrestricted free agent because of his lack of playing time. He’s become a bottom-six favorite with the Flames, averaging 11 minutes a game. He has one goal and three assists in 15 games.

Do the Bruins miss him? Technically yes because he’d clearly be a better option than what the Bruins have had at third-line center. But one can’t blame the Bruins for not wanting to commit to the 5-foot-9 Czarnik making their lineup smaller.

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