With the NHL Trade Deadline rapidly approaching on April 12th, teams are looking for possible trade partners as they assess whether their team is a buyer or a seller. This year, there is no question that the Boston Bruins are buyers as they have a dwindling window of opportunity to bring home a Stanley Cup with their current core. Here is a look at some potential players the Bruins could potentially bring in, as well as some assets they could look to move on from.
- Desperately need depth scoring, guys that can score during 5-on-5 play
- Bottom 4 defenseman, especially if guys like Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller can’t stay healthy
- Maybe a goalie if Tuuka Rask’s back issues linger, but this shouldn’t be top priority
Who They Could Add:
Kyle Palmieri – Right Wing, New Jersey Devils
Palmieri is a guy that brings energy and scoring to a young New Jersey lineup that is looking to build towards the future. 30 year old Palmieri is a good asset to move in order to bring more youth to the Devils young roster. In Boston, Palmieri would slide in nicely alongside David Krejci or Charlie Coyle on the second or third line. He has 8 goals this season which would put him above all Bruins players except the perfection line and Nick Ritchie. Boston has struggled mightily scoring 5-on-5 with the 5th fewest goals scored in the league and Palmieri is certainly someone who has the potential to bring goals to the lineup especially with an underperforming middle 6 group of forwards. The Bruins are thin on the wings with a rotating mashup of guys playing in the bottom 6 most nights. It would be good to see the Bruins solidify four lines instead of moving guys around every night. Ideally with Palmieri, the Bruins could create something of a permanent third line consisting of him, Coyle, and Trent Frederic.
Taylor Hall – Left Wing, Buffalo Sabres
Another possible solution for the Bruins depth scoring issues is Taylor Hall. Hall is a former #1 overall draft pick who has had a down year while playing for the worst team in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres. Although he has only two goals this season, he has far more upside than he has shown to this point. The left winger has six 20+ goal seasons in the NHL and is a former league MVP, so he clearly has the ability to be a dynamic scorer when needed. There are plenty of concerns to consider before bringing him in though. Hall hasn’t played a full season in a few years, hasn’t scored over 16 goals since 2018, and has played for 4 different teams in his career. His attitude is definitely in question as most number 1 overall picks tend to stay in the same place for the brunt of their careers, so the fact that a player with so much skill has moved around so often is definitely something to think about when considering adding him to a team that one would hope has decent chemistry already.
Mikael Granlund – Center, Nashville Predators
Mikael Granlund is a player with a high offensive upside who plays a speedy style of hockey. The center has 8 goals and 7 assists for Nashville so far this season, and he would definitely bolster the middle six of the offense with some much needed scoring. The problem with Granlund is that he is a center, a position the Bruins are relatively deep at with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Charlie Coyle, and Sean Kuraly, as well as a few other guys who have been playing wing for the team this year. Granlund would almost certainly have to play the wing in Boston which is a huge factor Don Sweeney will have to look at when considering bringing him in. Along with the question of whether he can play on the wing is the question of whether Nashville wants to trade him this year. After a slow start to the season, the Predators have played well of late and find themselves in a playoff spot as of April 6th. They will need to make the decision of whether they want to buy or sell at the deadline, and if they continue their solid play, it is possible that they decide to keep potential trade assets like Granlund in order to make a playoff push.
Mattias Ekholm – Left Defense, Nashville Predators
Mattias Ekholm also plays for the Nashville Predators who, as we discussed with Granlund earlier, may not necessarily be sellers this year. If the Predators do decide to sell this year however, the Bruins should be all over Mattias Ekholm. Ekholm is a defenseman with a complete profile who has size and skill. The 6’4, 215 pound left shot D-man has 5 goals and 10 assists in 32 games this season, as well as carrying a plus-minus rating of +9. He is a sound player positionally as well, who can be more of a defensive defenseman if needed. The Bruins could use more strictly defensive guys as they have speedy, offensive defensemen like Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, and Jeremy Lauzon already. With defensive defenseman like Miller and Carlo out right now, Ekholm can provide the team with sound defensive play that the Bruins have been missing lately. Although he is more of a two-way defenseman he would stabilize what has been a top heavy defensive unit lately and help limit turnovers and sloppy plays that lead to goals against.
Shayne Gostisbehere – Left Defense, Philadelphia Flyers
Shayne Gostisbehere is another guy who could help out on the defensive end for the Bruins. The 27 year old defenseman has 5 goals and 6 assists for the Flyers this season in 27 games. He has garnered attention of late as he was placed on waivers by the Flyers last week. After spending some time on the taxi squad, he has made his way back into the lineup but it is clear that the Flyers are looking for flexibility on their roster and Gostisbehere is someone they could look to move. Gostisbehere has a great deal of offensive upside for a defenseman as he has 4 seasons with 30+ points with his most productive season being 2017-18 when he had 65 points and was at almost a point per game by season’s end. He could be a guy who could help with the depth scoring from the defensive end as well as fill a spot on the second or third pairing depending on the health of Kevan Miller and Brandon Carlo. Money could be an issue with Gostisbehere however, as he has a cap hit of $4.5 million this season, while the Bruins only have $8.4 million to spend. If they want to acquire more depth offensively, it would be difficult to take on Gostisbehere’s contract as well.
Possible Trade Assets:
Jake DeBrusk – Left Wing
Jake DeBrusk has been one of, if not the most disappointing player on the Bruins this season. The left winger only has 3 goals and 7 total points this season. He is a guy that could benefit from a change of scenery as he has shown the potential to be a really solid second liner in the past, but just hasn’t found his groove this year. DeBrusk could be appealing to teams looking to add young talent and maybe move on from some older pieces. He could be a big piece of a trade to Buffalo or New Jersey who are both in the midst of rebuilds and looking to add young talent like DeBrusk.
Anders Bjork – Left Wing
The Bruins have been looking for Anders Bjork to take the next step in his game for some time now and he just hasn’t been able to do it. With just 2 goals in 30 games this year Bjork has underperformed, but that’s not to say he still can’t turn it around. He has a lot of offensive upside as he showed in college, and could someday become a good top 6 forward. He has value in the trade market for sure as he is still young and has shown flashes of potential in his time in the NHL. He has reached his ceiling in Boston however and the Bruins should try to sell while he is young and his value is still high.
Jack Studnicka – Center
If the Bruins are indeed going to be buyers this year which they will be in all likelihood, every prospect will be on the trade block, and Jack Studnicka is no exception. The 22 year old center is the Bruins top prospect looking to take over the Bruins second line center role when David Krejci’s time eventually runs out in Boston, but if they want to win this year, he is definitely someone the Bruins should be willing to move. Studnicka holds a slightly more trade value than other Bruins prospects because he has gotten time in the NHL this year, showing off his potential to other teams. Although he has just 3 points in 19 games, his skill and speed is evident and he could be a significant piece in a trade to improve the team right now as opposed to keeping him for the future.
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