The Boston Bruins remain the best team in the NHL thanks to an unearthly 37-5-4 record after 48 games. Surprisingly, the team has yet to reach the All-Star Game break and is a guaranteed lock to make the playoffs. As it stands, the B’s are 24 points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who currently hold the last wildcard spot, which means the Bruins could lose 12 games in a row and still be in contention for the postseason.
Additionally, there are only 40 games left in the regular season, and the team has made it this far without any significant injuries. Even though they have lost Jake DeBrusk and Tomas Nosek for a few weeks to various lower-body ailments, the Bruins continue to roll on without skipping a beat.
This unprecedented situation leads many to question what upper management could do to improve the current lineup since there are no glaring holes. However, they must prepare for a lengthy playoff run without disrupting the chemistry in the room.
Currently, the rumor mill has the Bruins linked to All-Star center Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks, a pending free agent at the end of the year. However, unless a team can sign him to a lengthy contract extension, Horvat would be an expensive rental at the deadline.
Although initial discussions between the two clubs are speculation, anyone acquiring a talented player like Horvat would pay a pretty penny- some draft picks, prospects, and a roster player. However, if Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retire at the end of the year, there will be a gaping hole for centers in Boston, so Horvat could contribute now and be the answer for the future.
Despite all the attention Horvat has gotten, another center may become available if he decides to void his no-move clause. Someone with a championship pedigree, current Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
Realistically, the team does not need a 34-year-old on the backside of his career, with just 27 points this year. However, his presence in the lineup drastically alters the bottom six and enhances the Bruins’ chances of hoisting the Stanley Cup in June. According to hockey insider Elliot Friedman, the asking price for his services could be a second or third-round draft pick, which seems low for a three-time champion.
Of course, many would argue against this move because he’s not Horvat or another young star the B’s could lock up long-term. However, these are usually the same people who hate when management unloads a bunch of draft picks and prospects for a player who underperforms in a new city.
Sometimes it is a no-win situation, and there is no pleasing everyone. However, if a mid-range draft pick is all it takes to acquire one of today’s most decorated captains, that deal is a no-brainer.
If the Bruins could land Toews, they would employ two of the game’s best faceoff men, allowing more puck possession opportunities at stoppages. Currently, Toews is pacing the league with a 63.43% faceoff win rate, with Bergeron a close second, at 62.79%, while Nosek ranks 12th with a 58.31% rating.
Interestingly, many fans would love to acquire another Blackhawks superstar, Patrick Kane, and ink the former Art Ross winner to a long-term contract. Nevertheless, the timing appears off regarding this transaction.
After another stellar season in 2021-22, registering 92 points, the third-highest total of his career, Kane is battling an injury that has limited his production to 30 points in 42 games this year. Although he would be quite an addition to any lineup, the Bruins only need him now if something drastic happens to someone already on the roster.
However, if they decide to stay the course with the current makeup of the team but show interest in Kane, he could become a free agent in the summer, and after he’s had some time to heal and find his form again, the B’s could inquire about his services at a later date.
In the end, the Bruins do not have to make any moves, and anyone attached to the club in the rumor mill is more fiction than reality. Even though we spend all day reading the headlines or dreaming up the perfect deals, we are in no position to do something to help the club. However, if there is anyone who would bring a championship mentality to a team destined for a title, it would be Jonathan Toews, which means Don Sweeney should be on the phone checking in.
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