Approaching the March 5 trade deadline, the Bruins are looking to add defensive depth by adding an affordable defenseman to their stable of young talent. Currently there are three realistic targets on Peter Chiarelli radar: Chris Phillips, Andrew MacDonald and Nick Shultz.
Phillips has been in the league since 1997 when he was a first round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, where he has spent his whole career. In over 1000 career games played, Phillips has 71 goals and 212 assists. Phillips is solid in his own zone, and makes smart plays when bringing the puck up ice. He has an impressive +/- of 72. Torey Krug would make an ideal partner for Phillips, with a snapshot-happy defenseman paired with the veteran play making skills of Phillips, it would be a dangerous combination. The Bruins have been in serious talks with the Sens, and if this deal is to be made, expect it to be for a second or third round pick.
MacDonald is still fairly young at 27. He has played on the New York Islanders since 2008-09, and has been impressive every year. He has only played 293 games in his career but has 89 points, including his 72 career assists. MacDonald is also a pending unrestricted free agent at the season’s end, and is too good and young to be considered a rental, so expect the Islanders to hold firm at a high draft pick and a prospect for their asking price. That being said, if the Bruins are able to put a deal together, it may mean they are willing to trade one of their young defensemen come season’s end. He would look good with a spoked B on his chest, but the asking price may be too high for Peter Chiarelli. Nevertheless He would be a great mentor for the up-and-coming Bruins’ blue-liners.
Shultz is another veteran on the Bruins’ radar. Shultz has logged nearly 700 career games and has 145 points to his credit, but is a -18 with 380 penalty minutes. The 6’1 200-pounder is a physical player that would fit Boston’s style, much like Johnny Boychuck. Shultz is on the first defensive line for Edmonton and would add great depth and flexibility for the Black and Gold.
Peter Chiarelli’s phone will be busy come March 5, and only he knows what type of defenseman he will go after. No matter which direction he decides to go in, he has many options, and historically speaking he will most likely make the right decision. With added depth on the blue line, the Bruins will go from contender to favorite in the Eastern Conference.
*All Stats from NHL.com*