(Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis

If you’re a hockey fan, it’s the most wonderful time of the year: NHL trade deadline season. Rumors swirl, speculation runs rampant, and fans and media alike string together nuggets of information in desperate attempts to determine what their favorite team has planned. If you’re a Boston Bruins fan, you’re no stranger to the trepidation, delirium, and sheer excitement of the deadline. Now let’s examine the areas that this version of the Bruins needs to upgrade at most before the March 8th NHL trade Deadline.


In a story published yesterday by Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, Bruins President Cam Neely spoke about which areas he believes his team needs to improve ahead of March 8’s trade deadline. Neely candidly admitted to looking for ‘another stiff defender’ and ‘help on offense.’

As currently constituted, the Boston Bruins need a significant upgrade to the left side of their D-corps. Derek Forbort spent most of the first half of this season injured, and it seems like he hasn’t been able to regain his form since returning. The former Stanley Cup Champion has suited up for ten games in the month of February, failing to contribute a point in any of those contests and posting a -4 in those games. Forbort’s claim to fame has been his stoutness on the penalty kill, but even that has begun to falter. In February, the Bruins ranked 21st in the league in penalty kill percentage at a lowly 73.3 percent.

Forbort has been a disappointment, but he’s not the only culprit on Boston’s backend. Massachusetts native Matt Grzelcyk has taken a significant step back this season, producing only seven points in 45 games. The Boston University alum’s season has been riddled with uncharacteristic turnovers, defensive lapses, and mistakes that can’t come from a top-pairing defenseman.

Although Mason Lohrei has shown significant improvement since his last call-up, and Parker Wotherspoon has been a pleasant surprise, it’s abundantly clear that Boston needs an upgrade on the blue line. In a perfect world, Boston would package together draft capital and prospects for a top-four defenseman (Noah Hanifin, anybody?) who can slide into Grzelcyk’s spot and aid Charlie McAvoy on the team’s top-pairing.

Despite all the speculation surrounding a potential trade, I don’t believe the team has the assets to go out and acquire someone of that caliber. They can trade for an experienced, hard-nosed, and defense-first defenseman who can kill penalties, clear the front of his own net, and stifle opposing offenses late in games.

Scoring Winger

One of my favorite things (I’m being sarcastic) about the Boston Bruins is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It feels like the Bruins have been searching for a top-six-scoring winger for as long as I can remember. Although the team currently ranks in the top ten in both even-strength goals and total goals, one can’t look at this roster and say it wouldn’t benefit from an added scoring punch.

Trent Frederic and Charlie Coyle are the only Bruins not named David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, with over 15 goals on the season. Frederic has been a revelation this season, and his chemistry with veteran James van Riemsdyk has been a pleasure to watch. The flip side of that coin is those two have mostly excelled in a third-line role, leaving the top-six with a Taylor Hall-sized hole in the goal-scoring department.

Jake Debrusk’s annual New Year point streak has dried up, Morgan Geekie is best suited centering the team’s third line, and Danton Heinen, although performing above expectations and being a vital team member, isn’t cut out to score goals. Every team in the league would benefit from an injection of offense, but this Bruins team desperately needs it. Whether you acquire someone to pair with Coyle and Marchand or with Zacha and Pastrnak, Boston’s front office would be wise to pursue some additional scoring.


In the 2023-24 season, every Bruins fan on planet Earth would have told you that the team’s most significant need is a top-six center. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retired following the 2022-23 season, leaving a massive gap at the top of Boston’s roster.

Now, Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha have done an admirable job replacing the two legends, with both having a chance to either tie or eclipse the point totals of Krejci (56 points) and Bergeron (58 points) from the prior season. Despite the impressive play of Zacha and Coyle, one can’t honestly look at the Bruins roster and not believe they would be better served with a more consistent and established top-six center. Adding a center into the mix would allow Boston to recreate the chemistry of Zacha-Krejci-Pastrnak, solidifying the top of the roster and allowing Jim Montgomery to more evenly distribute talent throughout his lineup.

The other thing I can’t help but notice is that the Bruins continue to be linked to centers, even though they missed on big fish Elias Lindholm. Reporters and insiders have connected the Boston to Alex Wennberg, Adam Henrique, Nic Dowd, and Thomas Novak in the past few months. This evidence indicates that the Bruins’ brass still feel the center is where they’re weak and believe they may have a shot at acquiring one.

When looking at this team from a playoff perspective, it’s clear that they need to make some upgrades if they want to make a run at another Stanley Cup. The team would be wise to address the left side of their defensive corps, their top-six wingers, and the center position at the March 8 trade deadline.