Are The Bruins Showcasing A Defenseman?

lauzon

( Photo Credit: Paul Rutherford )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

Another day, another Bruins trade rumor.  Elliotte Friedman is a seasoned hockey reporter for Canada’s Sportsnet and NHL insider.  He is known to have credible sources and news when it comes to NHL rumors.  Friedman is a weekly guest on the “Oilers NOW with Bob Stauffer” podcast, where he piqued Bruins fans’ interests with the latest story.  “Tyler Toffoli is a name that’s been out there a while.  Boston has expressed interest.  The price for Toffoli is a second-rounder and a prospect.”

It’s no secret the Bruins have been searching for years for their top-six forward to pair with David Krejci.  They have plenty of in-house options, but most haven’t been consistent enough for the opportunity.  Some have even had the misfortunate of untimely injuries (Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman).  When nothing in the system works, teams look for outside help.  Don Sweeney, current Bruins General Manager, has reportedly been on the phone since day one of the 2019 season.  He recently sent David Backes and Brett Ritchie down to the American Hockey Leauge for cap relief, which will help in a potential future trade.

The Bruins also recently called up Jeremy Lauzon from Providence.  The current Bruins defensemen are not hurt, so it’s reasonable to think Lauzon’s call up is to showcase his skills for a trade.  If Tyler Toffoli genuinely nets a second-round pick and a prospect, Lauzon could fit the mold.

Jeremy Lauzon, a left-handed shot defenseman, was the Bruins’ 52nd overall draft choice in 2015.  He was coming off of a career year as captain of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 50 points and a plus-40 in 46 games.  He was drafted for his size (6’1, 205 pounds), his physical presence, and offensive ability.  In his four years in the QMJHL, he finished with a plus-81 rating and 130 points in 200 career games.  He made his AHL pro debut in the 2017-18 Providence season.

In Providence, Lauzon had a tough time finding the same scoring touch he had in the QMJHL but was able to continue his defensive tenacity.  Through the first 15 games in his rookie season, he was among the top defenseman in plus/minus with a plus-8 rating.  Unfortunately, he sustained a concussion and missed the majority of that season.  He returned at the end of January 2018 and made a lasting impression on the Providence Bruins fans and writers.

He would only finish the year with seven points but looked to regain some of his confidence, which is immense for a young defenseman.  A year later, he would receive the call up to the Bruins for 16 total games, one of which he will remember forever.

Lauzon has the makings of a solid NHL defenseman because he is useful in all three zones.  He has the scoring ability but has been untapped up to this point.  He’s nearly doubled his first two seasons point total this year in Providence and still has a plus-rating.  The Bruins may be showcasing him to the Los Angeles Kings to help with their depleted blue-line.  The Kings have been heading toward a massive roster rebuild for over a year.  They’ll need to unload some of their aging stars (Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown) and expiring contracts (Tyler Toffoli) to jump-start the rebuild.  A second-round pick and Lauzon could be great a complimentary piece for the Kings’ future plans.

Tyler Toffoli is a 27-year old right-winger for the Los Angeles Kings.  He has been with the Kings organization since the 2010 draft, where he was selected 47th overall.  He made his NHL debut in 2012, where he scored five points in 10 regular-season games and six points in 12 playoff games.  He was even part of Los Angeles’s 2014 Stanley Cup-winning season.  Toffoli has surpassed the 30-goal total once and currently has 27 points on an abysmal Kings team.  Bruins fans may remember Toffoli for his heroic game-winning goal in overtime in the 2017 season.

Toffoli has the resume to play alongside Krejci for the remainder of the year, but will that be his only time in a Bruin uniform?  Tyler is an unrestricted free agent after this season.  Rentals are a significant trade risk because their future is uncertain.  Sweeney and the Bruins may show Toffoli the benefits of playing in Boston, but players’ mindsets are always unknown.  He has the pedigree and the fantastic shot release to be a long-time contributor for Boston.  At 6’0, 197 pounds, Toffoli has Stanley Cup experience and currently plays on the top line of the Kings with Anze Kopitar and Alex Iaffalo.

Backes and Ritchie’s demotions to the AHL also fit a trade mold because the Bruins are trying to clear cap space for a potential player.  The Bruins started off the year with thousands of dollars in cap space, but have since been able to move money around for a current-day $1.3M in cap space.  If the Bruins wait to trade for Toffoli until the February deadline, his in-season cap hit would be much lower than it was at the beginning of the season.

The second-round pick is probably the hardest ingredient to send.  Sweeney has been very mindful and frugal with his draft picks.  He has been on record saying he wants a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. He won’t part ways with a high draft selection unless it nets him an unbelievable long-term player. He would have to be quite confident to send a draft pick that Toffoli will help his team get over the hump to a Stanley Cup win or that Toffoli would sign long-term.

It’s a risky business, but in this day and age, NHL teams need to give the talent to receive the talent.  It just so happens, the Kings have plenty of it and require a new direction.  Toffoli would be a beneficial addition to the Bruins, who are searching for the last few puzzle pieces for their seventh Stanley Cup.

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One thought on “Are The Bruins Showcasing A Defenseman?

  1. Pingback: The Latest Bruins Trade Buzz | BLACK N GOLD HOCKEY PODCAST

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