May 19, 2024

The case for the Bruins making Mason Lohrei off-limits at the NHL trade deadline is clear. Lohrei’s pivotal goal against the Vegas Golden Knights helped the Bruins secure a much-needed victory, ending a three-game losing streak and maintaining their position atop the Eastern Conference standings alongside the Florida Panthers.

NHL trade deadline: The Bruins might not be able to fix their issues

Since being called up to the Bruins in February due to Hampus Lindholm’s injury, Lohrei has showcased his skills during his third NHL stint of the season. Coach Jim Montgomery commended Lohrei’s solid performance, particularly highlighting his resilience and response to challenges.

With the NHL trade deadline looming on March 8, the Bruins are in need of defensive upgrades to bolster their playoff aspirations. However, trading Lohrei, despite his value as a trade asset, would be ill-advised. He stands out as one of the team’s top defensive prospects, essential for a roster lacking in defensive depth.

Lohrei’s potential as a top-four defenseman is evident, given his impressive attributes such as his size, skating ability, offensive instincts, and defensive contributions. Moreover, his entry-level contract through the 2024-25 season provides valuable salary cap flexibility for the Bruins.

While acquiring a player like Noah Hanifin might seem enticing, Lohrei’s development and long-term potential make him a more valuable asset for the Bruins. Hanifin, while talented, may not offer the same upside as Lohrei, and his acquisition would require sacrificing valuable trade assets.

With Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort’s contracts expiring, Lohrei could see increased playing time on the Bruins’ blue line next season. Furthermore, the possibility of acquiring Hanifin in free agency this summer presents a more favorable option for the Bruins, allowing them to retain Lohrei without sacrificing future potential.

In summary, prioritizing Lohrei’s development and potential over short-term gains is crucial for the Bruins’ long-term success. Trading him at the trade deadline, even for a player like Hanifin, would be a short-sighted decision.

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