By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Before I get started, this is in no way me campaigning for certain players to be traded. Rather, it’s an idea of what I think a home run offseason could look like for the Bruins. There’s a chance none of it pans out exactly this way, maybe some of it does. Dollar amounts could be different, trade packages could be different. It’s fun to take a hypothetical look at things. Shoutout to CapFriendly for their awesome Armchair-GM tool.
I used nearly every last dollar. If you’re wondering where Nick Ritchie is, he is in Providence to help the team get under the cap. Don Sweeney gets all of his priority RFA’s back, but doesn’t keep them all in this scenario.
When it comes to UFA’s, I think Joakim Nordstrom finds a market for himself and signs with a team that needs a bullet train that hits everything in sight, blocks six shots a game, and can improve their penalty kill. When it comes to Kevan Miller, I’m not sure what his future holds. So in this scenario, I didn’t re-sign him for that very reason.
Don’t freak out. Like I said, this isn’t me campaigning for certain players to be traded, but what I feel these trades could realistically look like. When it comes to Nikolaj Ehlers, I imagine Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will want a talented left-winger to fill the void (Jake DeBrusk), and then some in return. Ehlers, to the surprise of many was ranked 12th on TSN’s trade bait list that came out on September 1.
Trading DeBrusk would hurt to see, but in this hypothetical scenario, it may have to happen. John Moore gives Winnipeg defensive depth they need, and allows the trade to work cap-wise for the Bruins. The future fourth-round pick is a sweetener. Acquiring Ehlers would give the Bruins a bonafide second-line scorer under team control at $6 million per year through 2025. Which is a big reason he would cost so much to acquire in a trade.
Trading first-round picks in back-to-back years might sound crazy for Sweeney to do, but if you want to make a big move like this, a first-round pick more likely than not has to be included. Ideally, the Bruins win a Stanley Cup with this veteran core still intact, and Sweeney may need to make a big move like this to help make that happen.
Although in a much different scenario, look what shelling out big assets has done for the Tampa Bay Lightning. They are four wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals with a very deep, revamped roster – and without Steven Stamkos. Sometimes gambling can pay off.
The case for Josh Anderson is much different. After playing just 26 games last season due to injury, his trade value is hard to pinpoint. Given that he amassed 27 goals and 47 points in 82 games during the 2018-2019 season, I think it’s fair to assume he has some solid trade value despite his abridged 2019-2020 season. Like Ehlers, Anderson appeared on TSN’s trade bait list, ranked third.
Given his abridged season, as an RFA, I gave him a similar contract to his previous deal. When it comes to trade value, I felt as if two solid, young players like Karson Kuhlman and Jakub Zboril could be of interest to Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Along with Anderson, the Bruins get a 2020 sixth-round pick in return as well. Anderson would then form a brutish fourth line to the right of Trent Frederic and Sean Kuraly – a physical, high-tempo trio that could make life hell for anyone in their path.
A revamped, balanced group of forwards with Par Lindholm and Chris Wagner on reserve duty, plus a sturdy, new-look top-six on defense that we are all familiar with. This team would put the Bruins in a great position to compete for and potentially win a Stanley Cup. Not only that, this team would be in a great position to succeed for years to come.