May 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) hugs defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) after he scored a goal to tie the game during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens in game one of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins Moves: Expect Big Change on the Blueline.

The Boston Bruins have been talking about making tweaks to their team following their surprise departure from the playoffs. For the second year in a row, the Bruins weren’t able to snag any big names for the Black and Gold at the trade deadline. This years selections were disappointing to say the least.  Andrej Meszaros didn’t offer much for the blueline in the second half of the season, and Corey Potter offered nothing at all. With the Bruins attempting to lock up Jarome Iginla for next season, it’s going to be tough for the B’s to squeeze in under the estimated $71.1 million dollar salary cap (according to capgeek.com).

If the Bruins are going to plan major revisions to the roster, the biggest changes will occur on Boston’s blueline. The Bruins top six forwards (sans Iginla) all have no trade clauses. It would take an awful lot of money or the belief that the Bruins are no longer Stanley Cup contenders for them to waive that clause in their contracts. With the Bruins top two defenseman (captain Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg) having no trade clauses of their own, we have to narrow it down amongst the remaining defensemen to see who is most likely to be traded.

Let’s cover the easy ones first. There is no chance that the Bruins will retain Meszaros and Potter next season. You can already smell the smoke from the fire sale going on at the TD Garden pro shop for their apparel. Matt Bartkowski‘s chances aren’t too rosy after that rough postseason. Torey Krug is in the same free agency boat as Bartkowski, but Krug had a much better year. The organization thinks very highly of him, and they will do what they need to to keep him. Dougie Hamilton is in the last year of his entry-level contract, and he’s done a remarkable job this season. As Krug and Hamilton being the rising stars in the Boston, that just leaves two viable candidates for a big trade.

Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid.

Johnny Boychuk has a provisional trade clause until July 1st. Up till that date, he could be traded to a possible eight teams that he has provided. After July 1st, his provisional trade clause expands to fifteen teams. Since Boychuk is a 3.36 million dollar cap hit to the Bruins, it’s not outside the bounds of reason to see him going somewhere else just after July 1st. While I think this would be a mistake for Boston, the savings would be enough to secure Torey Krug and offer two-way contracts to several up and coming members of the Bruins squad in Providence.

The only other serious contender for trade would be Adam McQuaid. McQuaid spent most of the second half of the season watching the game from the ninth level due to a nagging lower body injury. McQuaid makes more sense to trade away than Boychuk. While the Bruins will get less breathing room with McQuaid’s contract (1.56 million), they could lock up a bottom pair defenseman and likely have half a million extra at the end. McQuaid’s trade value is significantly lower than Boychuk, and he would likely go for draft picks and/or players from an AHL farm team.

Both McQuaid and Boychuk are fan favorites in Boston. They play a similar no-holds barred style of hockey. They’re aggressive, and will use their size to engage other players. Adam McQuaid once fought a Providence Bruin in an inter-squad skirmish during the shortened 2013 season. They have talent, and other teams would love to have their skills on their team.

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