The Boston Bruins have had a solid season thus far — their record of 18-14-4 is good for third in the Atlantic and if the playoffs started today, they’d have the least amount of points but hey, at least they’d be in.
Since it’s Christmas, the Boston Bruins should have a wish list just like everyone else. Typical Christmas lists go into effect on Christmas day but, this situation is special. It’s for a team and goes into effect from Christmas day on.
For Patrice Bergeron to Start Producing
There’s no doubt that something’s wrong with Bergeron. The problem is that no one knows what that is yet. Until then, we just have to assume that Bergeron’s off to a rough start.
Through 33 games, Bergy only has 5 goals and 5 assists, which amount to 10 points. He’s widely known for his 2-way abilities and even his defense is lacking, as he’s currently a -1.
The Bruins are averaging 2.31 goals per game, which is good for 25th in the NHL. It’s hard not to deal out a good amount of blame to Bergeron for why this number is so low.
If Bergeron can begin to score more and play better in his own end, the Bruins can only rise in the standings and this is exactly what the Bruins should be hoping for.
For Tuukka Rask to Continue his Dominance
The only logical reason for why the Bruins are in the playoff picture is due to Rask’s play. He’s been superb in net. If the season ended today, he’d be in the running for MVP.
Rask ranks second in the NHL in goals against average (1.87), fifth in save percentage (.930), and tied for third in wins (17). The amount of wins he has is very surprising considering he’s gotten almost no goal-support this year, as the offense playing in front of him is one of the NHL’s worst.
If Rask can continue to dominate in between the pipes, the Bruins will contend for the playoffs at the very least. But after missing the playoffs the last two seasons, just contending won’t be good enough.
For the Tampa Bay Lightning to Continue to Struggle
The Metropolitan division is leaps and bounds better than the Atlantic. Luckily for the Bruins, they’re in the Atlantic.
That also means that if the Lightning get hot, they’d take the Bruins’ spot in the playoff race and knock them clean-out. The teams in the East Wild Card (the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers) both have 44 points, which is more than the Bruins’ 40.
So what do the Lightning have to do with any of this?
Come April, it’s highly likely that only 3 teams will go to the playoffs from the Atlantic. Right now, the Bruins are that third team. Even though the Lightning are currently 3 points behind the B’s, they are very capable of getting hot. And with the streaking Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens showing no signs of stopping, a good Lightning team could pose a large threat to the Bruins.
For Don Sweeney to Acquire Offensive Help
This gift probably won’t deliver until the Trade Deadline but nonetheless, this one must deliver.
There’s two offensive options right now and one is much more likely than the other.
The Bruins could look to make a deal with the league-worst Colorado Avalanche for Jarome Iginla. Iginla only has 4 goals and 4 assists, but his experience could really help the Bruins. He was on the Bruins for the 2013-14 campaign when the team won the President’s Trophy and ultimately lost to the Montreal Canadiens in 7 games in the second round of the playoffs.
It’s not so much his numbers right now, but his experience and potential that would make him an attractive trade candidate.
For one, he’s played with a lot of these guys on the Bruins before so coming in mid-season would not be a problem. He could easily slot in on the right side next to Brad Marchand and Bergeron.
He’s also fired up for a Stanley Cup ring. He’s 39 years-old and has been chasing that elusive Stanley Cup ring for awhile now. His drive to win on a contender like the Bruins could be enough to improve his offensive production and therefore help the Bruins win games.
To get him, the Bruins would not have to give up very much.
The Bruins could also make a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs for James van Riemsdyk. JVR is having himself another great season, as he currently has 24 points. The Leafs are moving along nicely with their plans for the future but in no way are they likely to make the playoffs this year.
van Riemsdyk is also going to be a free agent after next season and will require a $6 million+ contract since he’s scored 55+ points in two of the past three years. He’s also on pace to have another great year this year.
The Leafs simply can’t afford him with the team having so many young stars that they’ll also have to pay.
For the Bruins, JVR would provide affordable offensive help for at the very least, this year and next year. He goes hard to the net, handles the puck well, and would immediately be an upgrade at left wing for the Bruins.
To get him, the Bruins would have to give up a good amount. Undoubtedly, the Leafs would be looking at the young defensive prospect, which means they could go after Charlie McAvoy or Jakub Zboril.