Boston Bruins: Are Heinen and Bjork available for top-six help?

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 11: Boston Bruins' Danton Heinen, center, celebrates his goal with teammate Anders Bjork, right, during the first period. The Boston Bruins host the Vegas Golden Knights in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Nov. 11, 2018. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - NOVEMBER 11: Boston Bruins' Danton Heinen, center, celebrates his goal with teammate Anders Bjork, right, during the first period. The Boston Bruins host the Vegas Golden Knights in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Nov. 11, 2018. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
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The NHL Trade Deadline is less than two months away. The Boston Bruins continue to be active on the trade front.

We’re now past the midpoint of the season, and this means that trade rumors will really start to heat up in the coming weeks. Teams like the Boston Bruins have from now until the February 24 trade deadline to finalize their rosters for a playoff run.

Anybody who watched even a few games this year knows the Boston Bruins want and need a top-six wing. That spot next to David Krejci, like it did last season, remains vacant.

No surprise that GM Don Sweeney continues to work to fill that spot. This week, a few NHL insiders linked the Bruins with free agent Justin Williams. Williams is an intriguing option who wouldn’t cost Boston anything in a trade.

If Williams signs elsewhere, Sweeney surely will use trade front for some help on the wing. According to Bruins Network on Twitter, Boston is open for business, and teams likely will ask for Danton Heinen or Anders Bjork in return.

It makes sense that teams ask Boston for Heinen and Bjork. Both are young forwards who are under team control for the next few years. Plus, unlike prospects and draft picks, Heinen and Bjork are already NHL players.

That said, are the Boston Bruins willing to include Heinen or Bjork in a trade? Should they be willing?

Bruins should make Heinen available only at the right price

Here’s the deal: unless there’s somebody major who comes back in return, the Bruins won’t package Heinen and Bjork together. Only one of them will go. If one of them does go, it should be Heinen and not Bjork.

Bjork may not be at Heinen’s level right now, but that’s only because he lacks the experience. He’s yet to pay a full season; Heinen already is in season number four.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, Bjork has top-six potential. He has elite speed, a hard shot, and above-average hands. He could the answer to Boston’s second-line problems this year.

Heinen, on the other hand, looks like a middle-six wing who is a better-fit on the third line than the second. He’s a good young player, but he lacks Bjork’s explosiveness and upside. Also, Heinen’s cap hit this year is more than Bjork’s, something that is important if the Bruins want to add salary.

Even so, the Bruins shouldn’t run to trade Heinen or anything like that. They should simply make him available in the right deal. If, for example, the New York Rangers want Heinen in a package for Chris Kreider, Sweeney must consider it. Same thing with Brandon Saad and the Chicago Blackhawks.

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The Boston Bruins, like all teams, need to give to get, both in terms of talent and cap hit. That means to get a quality winger to help jumpstart a Cup run, somebody like Danton Heinen may have to go the other way. But only if that player in return can make a big difference.