By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12
Here we sit on January 19th with the NHL Trade Deadline over a month away on February 25th. While it may seem a long ways off, the deadline creeps closer with each passing day, and there has been plenty of buzz-generating as the trade winds stir with a number of moves and rumors this week.
So, with all of that in mind, here is a look at all the options on the table for the Boston Bruins as 3:00pm on February 25th looms:
Make a big splash for a bigger name:
This is what many fans and talking heads have been calling for all season long. It’s no secret that the Bruins have had a gaping hole at right wing on the second line, and it seems like they have been looking for a guy to play next to David Krejci (and now Jake DeBrusk) for about three years or so now. The Bruins have been mentioned in the same breath as guys like Michael Ferland, Jeff Carter, Charlie Coyle, Wayne Simmonds, and Brayden Schenn who play productive, heavy, and sound two-way games that have historically complimented David Krejci’s style.
Obviously, acquiring one of these players can solve this team’s problems at second line right wing (all four of them), or third line center (in the case of Coyle or Carter, potentially). Plugging these holes could be just what this team needs in order to solidify itself as a serious contender.
While it would be very exciting to see the Bruins go out and make a big splash to aid their scoring woes outside of their top five forwards (Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Krejci, DeBrusk), there are so many questions that come up.
First, are the Bruins really contenders this year? They’ve shown on a few occasions this year that they may be more than just a winger away from being a real threat. There have also been issues at third line center as well. If the Bruins are not contenders this year, after all, they may seem best-suited to ride out the season and make their moves over the summer.
Another question is, what would the price be for a bigger name? Trade Deadline season always drives prices up no matter what, especially for rental players, like Wayne Simmonds. So, the Bruins would have to be careful if they make a move, especially for a rental, given what they gave up for Rick Nash last season.
Make smaller depth moves:
General manager Don Sweeney has made his fair share of depth acquisitions in recent years whether it was Lee Stempniak, Tommy Wingels, Nick Holden, Drew Stafford, or John-Michael Liles.
These types of moves can be double-edged swords. On the one hand, you can give up basically nothing for someone that ends up providing solid production, like Stafford or Wingels, who the Bruins gave up conditional late-round picks for.
However, on the other hand, you can overpay for a depth rental who does not play very well or contribute much at all, like Nick Holden, who was disappointing, overall.
So, this could be an option for the Bruins, if they feel that internal solutions, like Peter Cehlarik, are the fix for the second line. If that were the case, then the Bruins could look for guys to bolster their forward and defense depth since the Stanley Cup Playoffs have proven time and time again that there is no such thing as too many defensemen.
Stand pat, ride out the season, and take their chances in the offseason:
At times, it seems as if the Bruins are more than just one or two pieces away from being serious contenders. The young kids like Danton Heinen, Ryan Donato, and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson haven’t been able to show that they are what we’d hoped they be for long stretches of time. There’s also the constant worry of the revolving door on Krejci’s right, which may be far too expensive to fix by February 25th.
So, if the Bruins like what they’ve seen from Peter Cehlarik on the second line, feel confident in the kids on the current third line, and feel they have the adequate organizational depth to account for injuries.
With the most recent hot streak this team has been on, and a floundering Toronto Maple Leafs team, the Bruins may like the way things are shaping up for them and choose to wait it out. If that’s what Sweeney decides, the Bruins will take their chances when the playoffs come before making their big moves to put them over the top over the summer, either via trade or free agency.
Don Sweeney and the rest of the Bruins’ brass certainly have a lot of options they can look at that go down several different routes, whether they be trades or betting on the current team. Regardless of which course of action is taken, Sweeney has to be sure of his long term plans for this team and must be very wary of overpaying in a trade, especially for a rental.