By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)
This year the Boston Bruins have had their fans on a roller coaster of emotions with most recently the firing of long-time coach Claude Julien. The trade deadline is on March 1st, and they’re going to need to decide if they’re going to be buyers or sellers. This year’s trade deadline will be an interesting one because some teams will be trading away assets even though they’re in a playoff spot because of the expansion draft. Teams will be making deals based on the fact they might lose this player for nothing to the team from Vegas.
Last year the Bruins decided to bring in players like John Michael-Liles and Lee Stempniak, didn’t trade away Loui Eriksson and ended up not making the playoffs for the second year in a row. Eriksson left the team this summer for Vancouver, and the Bruins didn’t get anything in return, while Stempniak signed with Carolina. Below are my thoughts as to what options I believe the Bruins have this year if they were to be buyers or decide to be sellers.
With the recent coaching change, the Bruins might be looking to change up the roster regardless if they have a playoff spot or not. We have only seen one game with the new-look Bruins, and it’s too early to tell, but coach Cassidy looks as though he wants to play a more up-tempo game. They seem to be taking more chances in the offensive zone and defensive zone which is a very different look from the Bruins that we have known for the last 10 years.
1. Scoring on the wing
2. Top pair defensemen (puck mover)
3. Backup Goalie (anybody is better than what they have)
Top 3 Wingers that the Bruins could make a trade for:
Currently on the Colorado Avalanche and on a team looking to shake things up in a big way. He is 24 years old and presently the captain of his hockey team as well as being known as one of the best young two-way forwards in the league. His salary is 5.5 million a year and expires in 2020-21 with the last three years having a modified no-trade clause. He is currently having the worst statistical year of his career but has potential and could use a change of scenery. Several media sources are claiming that the current asking price is steep and that they’re looking at the Bruins young defense, with a particular interest in Brandon Carlo. A trade for him would change the franchise because the pieces that would go back wouldn’t be minor and could have an impact on our future. If we could make the deal without giving up either Carlo or Mcavoy, then we should seriously consider making this move.
A physical player that can score, just what Bruins fans are looking for in a player. Two-way forward with a great vision on the ice and is a solid skater with a finisher’s touch. Eaves will be a UFA at years end and is only making 1 million this year. He will be looking for a raise next year because he has 19 goals, 14 assists for 33 points. He could be that winger that Krejci has been missing since the departure of Lucic. With Eaves already playing a similar system to what the Bruins new head coach is looking to play, he could adjust faster and could make an immediate impact.
(Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)
He will be the cheapest of the three and more than likely only cost a third round draft pick. He seems to be the name that gets mentioned every year at trade deadline. Parenteau has a knack for scoring as long as he is not in a top six role. He could be that low-cost boost for the Bruins that will pay off. Currently, has 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points which make him sixth on his team in scoring. His salary is 1.25 million and will be a UFA at seasons end. He would be a rental type deal and we wouldn’t get to see him in a Bruins jersey long but would add scoring depth to our roster for a playoff push.
Top 3 Defensemen the Bruins could make a trade for:
Long been rumored to be traded to the Boston Bruins for the last two seasons and has made it clear that Boston or New York would be teams he is willing to move to. The Blues would like to do a sign and trade deal since he is a UFA at season end and knows they would get a higher return by doing so. His current salary is 4.25 million, but the rumor in the media suggest that he will be asking for somewhere in the range of 7 million per season. He is currently fifth amongst NHL defensemen in scoring with 38 points. He has left off team USA this year for the World Cup of hockey, and it was considered a big surprise. He would be a great addition to the Bruins blueline and add that skilled puck moving defensemen, the likes we haven’t seen since Ray Bourque. Now before we get ahead of ourselves, I’m not saying he is Ray Bourque but does show flashes of offensive skill that Bourque had while playing for the Black N’ Gold.
Could be the best option of the three because he is just what the Bruins are looking for which is playing on the left side. With Chara only having one year remaining on his contract, the Bruins will be looking to find that left side defensemen that can eat up those minutes and Fowler would be a good fit. He is puck-moving defensemen that’s a smooth skater and not a liability in his own end. He is 25 years old with a 4 million a year cap hit and a contract that expires in 2017-18. Fowler would be a significant upgrade that wouldn’t cause a log jam on the right side with the prospects we have in our system. The Bruins would be able to stick to the plan with Fowler, and for that reason, I feel he is our best option on the backend.
He is a UFA at years end and currently makes 4 million a year. Plays the right side and is underperforming on a struggling team. He plays a physical style but is not used correctly in Phoenix, as he has the potential to be a puck-moving defenseman. With Phoenix in a complete rebuild mode, he could benefit from a change. Stone could end up to be just a rental player so I would be cautious with what they ask for in return to get him.
Back Up Goalie that the Bruins could trade for:
Has an unorthodox style while making saves which makes him unpredictable and hard to scout against for opposing teams. He is a UFA at years end and is currently making 725,000 a year. With Cory Schneider having a no-trade clause, New Jersey will have to leave him unprotected in the expansion draft. He has six wins and six losses with a 2.59 GAA and a .920 SV%. He has been playing in a system that has allowed goalies to excel in the past and has shown flashes of brilliance. He would be a low-cost high-reward trade in the long run.
The former Bruin is playing in a three-goalie system in Winnipeg, and with the expansion draft coming next year, he looks like the odd man out. He has good size, excellent quickness and reads and anticipates plays. UFA at the end of the 2017-18 season and is making 1.15 million a year. The Bruins have had him in their system and know what he has to offer; he would be the safe trade.
He is the oldest at 31 and costs the most with a 4.5 million price tag. He is the type of goalie that usually buckles down under pressure and rises to the occasion. He struggles with rebound control from time to time and has proven to be inconsistent in the NHL. He has six wins, eight losses, 3.23 GAA, and a .904 SV%. He would fit the need, but he would be a big hit on the cap when we have Pastrnak to sign next year. This trade would garner the biggest impact but have the greatest risk based on his contract and term. The Bruins should be very apprehensive about making this deal if it presents itself.
- Center position
- 3rd pair defense
- Defensemen prospects
If the Bruins became sellers at this year’s deadline, they would try and move players like Jimmy Hayes, Anton Khudobin, and Malcolm Subban. These players would be left unprotected in the expansion draft and maybe even taken by the expansion team from Vegas.
The players’ that teams would be most likely to inquire about are Ryan Spooner, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Kevin Miller, and Colin Miller. Not to say that these players would get moved and Sweeney has already stated the Carlo is untouchable. With the majority of their top forwards all having no-trade clauses, it would make them difficult to trade if the right offer came along. The players I have mentioned above would draw interest from teams that want that power play specialist or two-way defensemen. Carlo would not be traded, but those other names could be for the right offer because some of them will have to be left unprotected in the expansion draft and we could lose them for nothing.
As much as we want Hayes traded, it will be highly unlikely unless he is thrown in on a deal that the Bruins are taking money back on or giving up more value to get a player. Dominic Moore is a name that could draw interest from a team that needs that one piece for their penalty kill and could bring in a second round pick to a desperate team.
If the Bruins did receive an offer for either Krug or Spooner, it mostly likely would be in a larger trade with the Bruins using those two players to get a bigger piece. Teams would inquire about those two, but Sweeney would ask for a lot in return. I personally wouldn’t want to give up either player unless you’re getting a puck moving defensemen in return.
Even if they’re sellers at the deadline, we could still see them making a move for pieces like Landeskog or Fowler but would have to give up some youth to bring them in.
If Joe Thornton or Tyler Seguin can be traded then anything is possible, you should never feel like your favorite player is safe. Sweeney seems committed to sticking with the youth and developing within so let’s hope that doesn’t change between now and March 1st.