Bruins acquire bottom-six forward Drew Stafford from Winnipeg.

Bruins acquire bottom-six forward Drew Stafford from Winnipeg.

BRIGHTON -- Bruins general manager Don Sweeney gave every indication it was going to be a mostly quiet trade deadline for the Black and Gold, and it was . . . right up until the 3 p.m. deadline.

Then the B’s dealt a conditional sixth-round pick to the Winnipeg Jets for forward Drew Stafford. The trade was announced shortly after Wednesday's 3 p.m. deadline.

Stafford, 31, is having a down year due to injuries and ineffectiveness and has four goals and 13 points along with a minus-2 rating on the season, and has played in only 40 games this season after being dealt two years ago to the Jets from Buffalo along with Tyler Myers. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound Stafford was a bit of a Bruins killer during his time in Buffalo and topped out with 31 goals and 52 points n the 2010-11 season. He scored 21 goals and 38 points in 78 games for Winnipeg last season, but compiled a whopping minus-23 mark.

This is a no-risk move for the Bruins, who surrender very little for a player who will give the B’s an option at wing should one of their younger players begin to struggle, or who could potentially replace someone like Jimmy Hayes among their bottom-six forwards.

Other than Stafford, the Bruins stood pat and watched as players like Radim Vrbata, Jaroslav Halak, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog didn’t move ahead of the deadline. The B's weren’t about to move their top prospects and blue-chip assets while in a rebuilding phase, and they were smart to stick to the low-risk/high-reward type move. Sweeney and Company are clearly betting on the group they’ve put together to finish up strong and power into the postseason in the final 19 games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy. 

Chris Long announces on Instagram he won't return to Patriots in 2017

new-england-patriots-chris-long-110516.jpg

Chris Long announces on Instagram he won't return to Patriots in 2017

The marriage between the Patriots and Chris Long worked beautifully for one season, but that's where it will end. 

Long announced on Instagram Wednesday afternoon that he'll be hitting the free-agent market at the start of the new league year on Mar. 9.

Long signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after enduring two injury-riddled seasons at the end of his tenure with the St. Louis Rams. With the Patriots he was active for all 19 games last season, including playoffs, and played in 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps. He also played more snaps on the defensive line than any other Patriot aside from Alan Branch. 

While he was used extensively early in the season, particularly with Rob Ninkovich suspended for the first four games of the year, Long eventually became more of a sub-rush specialist. He made one of the key plays in the Super Bowl -- drawing a fourth-quarter hold that knocked the Falcons out of field-goal range -- but he played just 15 snaps in the game. 

He indicated in his social-media announcement that he'll pursue an opportunity that will allow him to get back to the kind of role he had with the Rams when healthy, when he was more of a three-down player. 

"Thank you Pats Nation. As a player you've given so much support to, I owe you an explanation as to why I'll be moving on in FA... even if it isn't a big deal. 

This year and this opportunity gave me a ton. I made lifelong friends in a great locker room and became a champion. I'm so thankful that Coach B (the GOAT) took a chance on me and allowed me the opportunity to play a small part in this wonderful year. 

This has zero to do with money, etc. It's the right move in my heart because I want to get back to being the player I was before. I'm thankful for my role this year, but as a competitor, I'm itching to do what I do best.

It was important to say thank you personally. You may not remember me much, but I'll always remember y'all!! #driveforfive #missionaccomplished"

The Patriots could be without two of their rotational defensive ends next season as Jabaal Sheard is also set to become an unrestricted free agent.