By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
With the NHL Trade Deadline rapidly approaching, the Boston Bruins could use some help, specifically in the Defensemen category. As of March 20th, the Boston Bruins are 16-8-4, which puts them fourth in the division and just one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are in third place. This season the Bruins have been riddled with injuries, especially their defensemen. The Bruins currently have five defensemen on the injured list. Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller, Jarred Tinordi, John Moore, and Brandon Carlo.
Luckily, all of them are expected to make a return for March 25th, but who says they’re not going to get injured again? As a Bruins fan, I hope they don’t, but injuries can happen at any time and are always unexpected. Also, as a Bruins fan, it would be nice to see Bruins general manager Don Sweeney make a couple of moves before the trade deadline. So, on that note, here are three defensemen that the Bruins should target before the trade deadline.
First up, Mr. Alex Goligoski. Goligoski is a 13-year veteran who has played for the Pittsburgh Penguins (4 years), Toronto Maple Leafs (1 year), Dallas Stars (6 years), and currently is on the Arizona Coyotes going on his sixth year. He also has plenty of playoff experience, including 43 games in the playoffs. Last year, he had 32 points in 70 games, which included 4 goals and 28 assists. His offensive stats aren’t impressive, as he only has two points in 30 games this season, but he makes it up in the defensive department.
He leads the Coyotes in defensive zone starts at five-on-five ranks and ranks just second on the team in penalty kill ice time per game at 3:22. Goligoski can also play on the left side of the blue line, which is an area that the Bruins are hurting in. However, if the Bruins choose to trade for him before the trade deadline, he will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Our next candidate, David Savard. Savard has spent his entire career playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets (10 years). The Blue Jackets are currently 12-12-7, fifth in their division, and just two points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for a playoff spot. Typically, the Blue Jackets are known to be aggressive during the trade deadline but, this year, they could be sellers. If that’s the case, then David Savard is a hell of a candidate for the Bruins to pursue. Savard is known to be a tough, gritty defender.
Standing in at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, he would be lethal for Boston to add to their blue-line. Savard has also played 23-25 minutes per game in the playoffs for the Blue Jackets in recent seasons. Although, if Boston decides not to make a push to trade for him before the trade deadline, then the 30-year-old veteran will become an unrestricted free agent and have a $4.25 million cap hit.
Last but certainly not least is Mattias Ekholm. Ekholm is certainly the most eye-pleasing player on this list. This year, Ekholm currently has 13 points, including five goals and eight assists. Mattias Ekholm is a two-way defenseman who excels in a top-four role against top competition. The Nashville Predators have accounted for nearly 54% of all shot attempts and 63% of all goals when Ekholm is on the ice during 5-on-5 action this season. But something must go in Nashville, especially when they have a loaded blue line that will likely be separated with the expansion draft coming up.
Ekholm would address a huge need for Boston and a steady veteran presence for the left side of the blue line. You thought David Savard would bring some size, well how about Ekholm. Ekholm stands in at 6-foot-4 215 pounds and would bring excellent size to the blue line. Along with size, Ekholm would bring plenty of playoff experience, including a total of 65 playoff games played. Other than size and playoff experience, one of the best reasons for acquiring Ekholm would be his contract. Ekholm is currently signed through the 2021-2022 season and has a very pleasing $3.75 million salary-cap hit.