With the NHL trade deadline just three short weeks away, most of the NHL teams are out shopping for bargains, or looking to strengthen their team. These last few seasons, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has had a ‘plug and play’ mentality to the team. Most of that plug and play has revolved around finding the right fit for the Bruins’ third line. By and large, he has succeeded at getting the right fit for the team, and has made a few deals that are still being talked about today (Thank you Kessel!)
Right now the Boston Bruins are 19-6-3. That’s quite respectable. However, every major source inside the Bruins believe that the Black and Gold aren’t living to their potential. The B’s have blown five late game leads this season, and it’s starting to become an ugly trend. Some players aren’t playing with the skill and ability they once did as well. All this means that someone in the Bruins roster is likely going to get traded. The question now is who?
At this point, I dare say only five people on the current roster are safe from leaving right now. Those five are the Bergeron line (Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin – Brad Marchand), Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, and #1 goaltender Tuukka Rask. It sucks to think it, but practically everyone else on the team could get traded.
If the Bruins were looking for someone to grab a more stable slot for the weakened third line, someone is free to go. The third line has sort of turned into the unofficial AHL tryout line, and its performance is inconsistent. Chris Kelly will be down for a while longer, leading to only more troubles for that line.
It’s unlikely the first line will go. There were rumors of a Krejci trade before the start of the season, and there is no reason why Chiarelli wouldn’t shop around. Horton is unlikely, but a possibility as well. The least likely to go would be winger Milan Lucic. He has become one of the faces of the organization, and is obviously a crowd favorite.
The fourth line’s chances are as good as the first. They could get traded, but its not likely. The ‘energy line’ or the ‘Merlot Men’ have been producing well for the organization, and they interact well. (Almost to a point of a hive mentality.) Shawn Thornton and Greg Campbell can score, eat up clock time, and occasionally drop the gloves to pick up the pace of a game. Daniel Paille might be part of the third line solution for the Bruins, but has only been placed on that line sparingly.
The third line is where we could see some changes. Rich Peverley looks pretty safe in his job at the moment, but that might not stop Chiarelli. The round robin of the third line could very well be a Chiarelli meat market, where he’s showing off the potential of the stable to potential customers. If there is going to be any moving and shuffling in the forwards, we can expect to see it come from there.
The defensemen are another story. With the exception of Chara, and to a lesser extent Dougie Hamilton, they’re probably all potential candidates for being moved. Andrew Ference is on the last year of his contract and has not been playing to expectations. Johnny Boychuk has not been having a banner year either. Both players are fan favorites, but that fans’ love for a certain player won’t seriously effect their market value. Dennis Seidenberg could give the Bruins a strong forward and a draft pick. Adam McQuaid‘s injury might hold him back till the end of the season, but he’ll be considered a decent commodity as well. A lot of our losses have come from defensive breakdowns, and the front office might look here to fix a potential problem going into the post season.
Anton Khudobin has to be put on the list as well. He has proven he can be a solid back-up goaltender. He’s got a 5-2 record. His .920 save percentage puts him in the above average category. He has done a great job for us, but the B’s might see him as a useful trade for another team.