By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn
It may not feel like it, but the NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching. While the Bruins continue to win games, including both legs of a back-to-back against the Rangers and Islanders, winning a Cup in June may still require reinforcements to the current roster. There have been some massive names floating around throughout the season, like Patrick Kane, which I evaluated a while back.
Most recently, the name that has been thrown around and attached to the Bruins is Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks. Since being drafted ninth overall in 2013, Horvat has spent his entire career in Vancouver and currently serves as their captain. He has amassed over 400 points and recently scored his 200th goal for the Canucks, also giving him a 30-goal season for the second straight year.
Horvat would be an incredible addition by Don Sweeney if he’s somehow able to acquire the Canucks center. It would be the third straight automatically successful trade deadline after landing Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm under improbable circumstances in each of the past two seasons. If Sweeney finds a way to secure a third huge name in a third consecutive season, he’ll make many fans eat their words, myself included.
Horvat’s 30 goals make him an intriguing target, but on a team with David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall, Patrice Bergeron, and Jake DeBrusk, a player needs to provide something else in order to fill a need. Horvat is also an excellent two-way player who could kill penalties and reliably take faceoffs for the Bruins down the stretch and into the playoffs. In seven of his nine NHL seasons, he’s accumulated more takeaways than giveaways despite being on a team that has struggled to succeed.
On the surface, there’s not a lot of reason to argue against trading for Horvat. He’s a captain and would bring leadership qualities, he’s a two-time 30-goal scorer, and he has a full 200-foot style of play. However, the biggest problem with this potential deal would be the price of getting Horvat or a player of similar quality. When I heard that the Bruins were interested in Horvat, I immediately thought that the team does not have the assets to go out and get him reasonably.
With a farm system that is already depleted, the Bruins don’t have many attractive prospects that the Canucks would take for Horvat in a one-for-one trade. If they were to give up a prospect, my first instinct would be to assume someone like Fabian Lysell or Mason Lohrei would be shipped out. Dealing one or more of those guys would tank the Bruins’ farm system for the foreseeable future, but it might be the extra push this team needs to win a Cup. If the Bruins really want to make this trade, they can gather up the assets to make it happen, but not without depleting the organization further than they already have.
My biggest concern with these rumors is not what the Bruins would have to give up or even what Horvat would offer. The biggest issue with this trade, as far as I’m concerned, is how Horvat fits the Bruins’ plans at all. This is a player who can slot into either of the top two lines at center and be an anchor for a team. The Bruins already have a world-class center in Bergeron, one of the great playmakers in NHL history as their second-line center in David Krejci, and one of the best third-line centers in Charlie Coyle.
No matter what, Horvat would greatly disrupt a forward core that is playing the most productive hockey we’ve seen in a long time. Is that worth risking? I would say no, but I can understand people who would say the production Horvat brings is too much to resist. After two consecutive trade deadlines of completing arguably the biggest trades in the league, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Bruins step back from this one and focus on acquiring smaller pieces that can fine-tune a team that is already a juggernaut.