By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge
The NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching in this unusual shortened 2020-2021 season. The Boston Bruins currently find themselves in fourth place in the MassMutual East Division, sitting in a playoff spot with games in hand on all the teams above them. Don Sweeney and company will have their hands full of work to decide what to do before the April 12th, 3 pm deadline. So, that begs the question, how to the Bruins upgrade their roster.
In the offseason, both Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara found themselves wearing new colors and left a giant hole on the left side of the Bruins defense. We all know what the Bruins big problem is, and that is 5 v 5 goal scoring. It has been horrendous this season and needs help. However, with that being said, the defense has been inconsistent all season long. Jeremy Lauzon is in the midst of a huge slump, taking penalties night in and night out and getting beat on simple plays. Jarred Tinordi has been solid, but he isn’t the answer on the left side either. There are many pieces out there to acquire, and I think Sweeney needs to make a couple of moves, not just one.
Before looking at individual players, it is important to look at who can return from injury that will help the Bruins down the stretch. Kevan Miller and Ondrej Kase have resumed skating. Kase is a weird case as concussion problems are no joke, so he may be out for the season. However, he may return and would be a big boost. Kevan Miller will be a nice bottom pair addition as Connor Clifton has been struggling lately, and Brandon Carlo remains out with an upper-body injury.
Boston Bruins Trade Pieces
It is entertaining to look at all the players that the Bruins could get, but the fact of the matter is that the Bruins need to have trade pieces to give to those teams. The Bruins have one of the less appealing prospect pools in the league as they have been contenders for the past five or so years, and that is usually how it goes. Teams who are trading their “rental” players typically want prospects and draft picks, so Sweeney may have to get creative. Prospects that, in my opinion, are must “keeps” are John Beecher, Jack Studnicka, and Jakub Lauko. With the cup window closing rapidly, if a team asks for anyone else besides those three, I would think about it heavily.
Kyle Palmieri is a name that the Bruins have been drawn to for what seems like the last three trade deadlines. Palmieri would be a cheaper option this trade deadline as he is an older guy. This is an attractive option for Boston as they shouldn’t have to part ways with their first-round draft pick or a top prospect. Palmieri could fit on David Krejci’s right-wing or Charlie Coyle’s, depending on what Bruce Cassidy does.
Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg
There are a pair of Swedish players on the Nashville Predators that could soon be finding their way out. This one is a pipe dream for Bruins fans as this trade would not only likely require a first-round pick and top prospect, but a roster player or two. This would be a blockbuster trade if I ever saw one, and I do expect Sweeney to inquire about them, but I believe he will go with cheaper options. It is something to keep your eye on, though.
Conor Garland is a younger, energetic player for the Arizona Coyotes. He is a real pain in the rear-end type of player and fits really well with the Bruins culture. He can also score, which is something the Bruins need help with. This would also be a relatively cheaper option that I expect Sweeney to inquire about. I see Garland as a second- or third-line winger that could help on Krejci’s right side if Kase does not return. However, I could also see him as an electric right-wing for Coyle’s line as we have seen Coyle play very well with fast wingers.
Taylor Hall is a bold headline for a different reason. While he is a trade target this deadline season, he is one that I consider a keep-away. Hall is having a horrid season in Buffalo, and his price target would be too high for the production he is giving. Sweeney had the chance to sign him in the offseason while giving up no internal assets, so do not trade away any part of the future for a struggling Hall.
Rickard Rakell is my favorite trade deadline piece that may be on the move. I have loved this player since he broke into the league. He has tons of skill and can put the puck in the back of the net. He would be a welcome addition on either Bergeron’s or Krejci’s right-wing, depending on where Cassidy decides to play David Pastrnak. The Swedish forward is on a great contract through the end of next season at $3.789M. This is the guy Sweeney should be throwing his most valuable assets at.
No matter what Sweeney decides to do at the deadline, I think we can all agree that standing pat is not the answer. This current roster has too many holes in it to make a complete run for the Stanley Cup. A solid addition on the left side of the defense and a true top-six forward like Rakell can change that instantly. Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Rask, the core, are not getting any younger. The time is now.