The Boston Bruins did not trade pending unrestricted free agent Loui Eriksson at the deadline, but general manager Don Sweeney did acquire forward Lee Stempniak from the New Jersey Devils and defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Boston sent a 2016 fourth-round pick and a 2017 second-rounder to New Jersey. The Bruins sent third- and fifth-round picks, along with minor leaguer Anthony Camara, to the Hurricanes.
It's the fourth time Stempniak, 33, has been traded at the deadline. It will be interesting to see where Bruins coach Claude Julien inserts Stempniak into the lineup. He could play on the line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
In 63 games, Stempniak has 16 goals and 41 points. Liles has six goals and 15 points in 64 games.
"Lee's versatility, the type of year he's having, I think will complement our group very well. He can play in a bunch of different positions for us," Sweeney said. "And John-Michael Liles is another player that brings a lot of versatility to our group. I think we will have the ability to have a guy with experience that can move the puck and complement again some of the hard and heavy guys that we have and go in and play an important role hopefully going forward.
The Bruins have two first-round picks this year, and may end up with two second-round picks as well because Edmonton must send Boston its second-rounder in either 2016 or 2017 as compensation for hiring former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli as president and general manager last year. Because of that stockpile and a nice stable of prospects, Sweeney said it was easier to part with draft picks to add to this season's team.
The 30-year-old Eriksson is tied for second on the Bruins in points (48) and goals (23) and is third among Bruins forwards in average ice time (19:38) while playing a major role on the power play and penalty kill. The Bruins are currently in a playoff position as the third-place team in the Atlantic Division, one season after failing to make the postseason for the first time in eight years. With that in mind, Sweeney said he was willing to hang on to Eriksson.
Eriksson projects as one of the most coveted unrestricted free-agent forwards this summer along with the crown jewel, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and David Backes of the St. Louis Blues. Sweeney still thinks the Bruins can prevent Eriksson from reaching the open market.
"We made a significant offer, there's a gap there," Sweeney said. "I'm not really concerned with leverage at that point and time. If the player believes between now and the end of the year that this is where he wants to be and if we find the right deal that fits, then we're going to be able to find common ground."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.