By: Dan Anderson | Follow Me On Twitter @DanAnderson5970
In a series of articles looking at trade possibilities for the Boston Bruins, the focus turns onto the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights, who had made a run in 2018 to the Stanley Cup final, looked well-armed to reach them again this season. I had them picked as the second most likely team to come from the west behind the Colorado Avalanche. Las Vegas has depth at most forward positions, two excellent goaltenders in Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, and sufficient depth at defense, but couldn’t get past the Dallas Stars to reach the Stanley Cup Final.
What about Las Vegas makes a good fit or a bad fit for a trade? I am currently focused on western conference teams, as I think it is easier for eastern conference teams such as the Boston Bruins to send a player to the other conference rather than face them on the ice more frequently. I am also skipping over organizations that aren’t good fits whatsoever. This list includes the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, St Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, and Chicago Blackhawks. I see the possibility of a deal happening that could help both teams.
The Bruins need secondary scoring, but most of what Vegas has wouldn’t fit for salary cap reasons, have no trade or modified no-movement clauses, and one is named Max Pacioretty. The Golden Knights could use center depth, but if the Bruins are serious about winning a Cup now, I can’t see Krejci, Bergeron, or Coyle moving unless the offer was overwhelming. The Bruins desperately need left defensive help; this is where I see the most likely scenario working out. I also see the possibility of the Bruins helping Las Vegas with their center needs, but not with any of the players named above.
The main target for the Bruins would be Shea Theodore, the former first-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2013. Shea has a reasonable contract of $5.2 million through 2024-25. This contract becomes a more team-friendly deal as it ages. He is currently twenty-five; this deal ends at age thirty. Las Vegas has the services of a 6’2, one hundred and ninety-five pound left defenseman with offensive upside. In fact, with seven goals in twenty playoff games, Theodore might have priced himself off the market. GM Kelly McCrimmon, brother of former Bruins defenseman Brad McCrimmon, is left with little room currently against the salary cap, but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to move Theodore if I was in his position. McCrimmon is also working on trading Fleury to sign Lehner, who is an unrestricted free agent to be, but would then need a backup goaltender, furthering his salary cap dilemma.
Another target for the Bruins might be thirty-three year old Alex Martinez. Martinez scored the double-overtime Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. Alex plays left defense; having a veteran presence to pair with youngster Charlie McAvoy and or Brandon Carlo for a bridge year might be a great way to push for the Cup. Younger players such as Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen would have at least one more year to develop. Martinez’s contract is for $4 million this, his last season under contract. With draft picks or prospects as the asset heading to Las Vegas, Alex could become a Boston Bruin. As well, it could be part of a more substantive deal involving more assets.
As mentioned prior, center is the Golden Knights’ weakest forward position. They have William Karlsson and Paul Stastny, son of former NHL great Peter Stastny, as the pivot on their first two lines, but the quality drops off after that. Paul is also going into his last year under contract at age thirty-four. Might the Bruins be willing to trade top prospect Jack Studnicka to improve their defensive position? The Knights do not need Ondrej Kase or Jake DeBrusk, so this is the asset the Knights are most likely to want. I do not think this next proposal would be enough to entice the Knights to part with Shea Theodore, but has the makings of a potential deal.
The Bruins part with their best prospect in natural center Jack Studnicka and defenseman John Moore for Theodore and Martinez. In so doing, the Knights gain salary cap flexibility and their replacement for Stastny along with an NHL caliber defenseman. The Bruins solidify the left side of their defense and replace Torey Krug for a total dollar value of what they would have been paying Torey if he was to stay in Boston. It might be advantageous for the Bruins to remove Martinez from the mix, as having him as part of this particular trade likely means the end of Zdeno Chara’s playing days in Boston. Would they want to pay $4 million for Martinez or $1 million for Chara? Studnicka and Moore for Theodore. Is McCrimmon ready to make this gamble?