Why The Devils and Bruins Would Make Good Trade Partners

(Photo Credit: The Streamable)

By: Joe Todd | Follow me on Twitter @heyjoetodd

The NHL Trade Deadline is officially three weeks away. The Bruins have been heavily involved in trade rumors given the very public trade requests of both Jake DeBrusk, and to a lesser extent Zach Senyshyn. Both players were involved in the not-so-good (to say the least) 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and both players are looking for a fresh start and freeing themselves from this history. With DeBrusk struggling to see eye-to-eye with Bruce Cassidy, and Senyshyn struggling to make an impact outside the AHL, the former first-rounders are eyeing a change of scenery.

Given this is the final year of Patrice Bergeron’s contract, the Bruins are in a tricky spot. Going all in this year is a must to give Bergeron and Marchand another shot at the Cup, but this should not come at the expense of the future. For this article, the only untouchable prospects are Fabian Lysell, Mason Lohrei, and the 2023 first-round pick. These are your most valuable pieces to protect your future, and any deal involving these three pieces should not be pursued in this writer’s opinion. However, I believe the Bruins and Devils would make good trade partners because the Devils have buy-low options that should not require these three pieces.

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Deal with the Devils

The last time the Bruins and Devils made a deal was in 2019 when the Bruins sent a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick for forward Marcus Johansson. Johansson would play a total of 32 games across the regular season and playoffs for the Black N’ Gold scoring five goals and nine assists for 14 points. However, this trade would prove to be critical as the success of the Johansson – Coyle – Heinen line would help the Bruins reach the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. We can only hope that a similar trade with the Devils leads to similar success.

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images )

Devils defense

The Devils are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. They are currently last in the Metropolitan with 41 points and 28th in the league with an 18-29-5 record. The Devils will be looking to acquire players to improve upon their young core of 1st overall picks, including Jack Hughes (2019) and Nico Hischier (2017), as well as their rising stars in Jesper Bratt, Dawson Mercer, and Ty Smith, all who are under the age of 23.

On TSN’s Trade Bait List, they have forward Pavel Zacha at ten and defenseman Damon Severson at 29. Additionally, around the league, names such as Tomas Tatar, Andreas Johnsson, and P.K. Subban have been discussed as possibilities to be traded. The Bruins priority, and arguably the player who will cost the most, is defenseman Damon Severson.

Severson’s player card per The Athletic

I have already written about how the Bruins need to stay away from left-shot defensemen and instead improve their right-side. Forbort is an effective third-pairing, shutdown/penalty-killing defenseman. Having a reliable puck-moving defenseman like Severson to his right that excels at breakouts from his own zone, playing against top competition, and suppressing chances will make the Bruins defense even more formidable than it already is.

Given Sweeney’s history of acquiring players with term, Severson would come to the Bruins with a $4.1 million contract which expires in 2023. DeBrusk’s qualifying offer next year just so happens to be $4.4 million, so if included in the deal, the money would equal out for both sides. Severson will surely cost the Bruins their 2022 first-round pick, along with a young defensive prospect in Jakub Zboril or Urho Vaakanainen, two players who would fit the age group of the Devils core.

The more expensive option in terms of the salary cap, but less expensive asset-wise, would be P.K. Subban (gasp!). With an expiring $9 million contract, the Devils would surely have to eat half the salary for the Bruins to stomach a $4.5 million hit. The Devils retaining salary will be expensive, but it should not be first-round-pick expensive for the Bruins to acquire the veteran Subban. Perhaps being paired with Forbort will allow Subban some more offensive freedom and improve on his 18 point season to date. He would just need to stay away from the slew foot’s and avoid putting the Bruins on the penalty kill.

https://twitter.com/CamandStrick/status/1453177438444392452
Subban is still an effective offensive defenseman. Just needs to clean this up.

Devils offense

The Bruins have a couple of holes on offense they need to fill, depending on who you ask. However, I believe that the first line right-wing is the most significant need, especially when you consider that the player currently next to Marchand and Bergeron is the player who has requested a trade out. Pavel Zacha, despite being listed as a center on NHL.com and hockeydb.com, has spent most of his time this year on RW, according to moneypuck.com, with some success. In over 125 minutes of play, the line of Tatar – Hischier – Zacha has an expected goals percentage of 54.1, a respectable amount to go along with his 12 goals and 12 assists in 49 games.

Pavel Zacha shares many similarities to Jake DeBrusk that it makes sense for this to be a perfect one-for-one trade. Zacha was drafted sixth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft; eight picks ahead of DeBrusk. Both players have failed to reach their draft potential, and both players have been passed over on their team’s depth chart. Both players are an RFA at year’s end; however, Zacha’s qualifying offer is only $3 million comparatively.

Zacha player card per The Athletic. Produces at a middle-six rate, something the Bruins could use.

What interests me the most about Zacha is his versatility. He has a Charlie Coyle-sized frame at 6’3, 220lbs can play center, but is also left-handed, which leaves the possibility of filling in at left-wing. He could flourish next to Marchand and Bergeron or fill in for Haula or Frederic at their respective positions, depending on what Cassidy wants to do with his lines. Most importantly, is he is from the Czech Republic, and the Bruins LOVE their Czechs.

There will be suitors for both players, and the Bruins will have to give to get. Given that defenseman like Klingberg and Chychrun, along with forwards like Giroux and Miller, are bound to get the team’s best offers/prospects, it is possible that the returns on Severson and Zacha are more palatable for the Bruins. Ideally, the Bruins could acquire both players for a package including DeBrusk, Vaakanainen/Zboril, 2022 1st round pick, 2023 2nd/2022 3rd. Hopefully, Devils GM, former Bruins, and Massachusetts native Tom Fitzgerald would prefer dealing with Don Sweeney over 31 other GMs.

The Trade Deadline is March 21st. Do you think this trade is realistic? Do you pull the trigger on this deal?

It should be an interesting month to be a Bruins fan.

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One thought on “Why The Devils and Bruins Would Make Good Trade Partners

  1. I disagree, why would the Bruins ever need another middle forward?! They have nothing BUT middle forwards on their entire roster….Foligno, Smith, Haula, Coyle Frederic….

    Severson would be a great third line D Forbort replacement but he isn’t going to move the needle enough where it counts, as a 2D McAvoy partner.

    Boston NEEDS a 2C and a 2D to have any shot at a lengthy playoff run. Trading for anything else just makes no sense.

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