The Boston Bruins have been really quiet in the trade market over this last week. A lot of the teams around them have made additions to their team to try and catch the Bruins in the standings. Fans might think the Bruins need to make a big splash at the deadline but there isn’t really a need for a big move. Any major move could hurt the locker room chemistry. Let’s take a quick trip back to the beginning of the season when the front office signed Mitchell Miller. The team was distracted because the players were the ones that were at the forefront of the reporting and what essentially became a PR recovery tour. Having to deal with people you have battled with rotating out of the locker room and having new guys come in is always tough.
The Bruins have reportedly identified some areas they would like to improve in. The ideal situation is that Boston trades for a wing to add some more scoring to the bottom 6 and shoring up the left-handed defenseman depth. Boston has checked in on multiple names but has found that they need to work with some salary cap restrictions. As it stands, the Bruins have $1 Million of cap space to add to their roster. That money plus more will be needed for Tomas Nosek to come back off the LTIR. So it is safe to say that there will have to be some cap gymnastics performed.
Any trade is going to have to include some player on the main roster for cap reasons. The best candidate is Connor Clifton. He plays either defensive side and is on an expiring contract. There are some reservations about if any team would take on that contract but Cliffy Hockey could be a good pickup for a team looking to gain some cap space at the end of the season. Pair him with a prospect of some sort and maybe a draft pick and you could find a trade partner.
Some Prospects that could be on the move are Fabian Lysell, Joona Koppanen, Georgii Merkulov, John Beecher, and Mason Lorhei. Lorhei is playing for the Ohio State University Ice Hockey team where he has 24 points in 32 games played this season. He leads all defensemen on his team in points. All of these prospects save for Beecher have a point-per-game percentage of a minimum of 57%. Leading the group is Merkulov who is in his second season with the Providence Bruins at 85%. If the Bruins want to make any additions to the roster they will have to part ways with at least one of these players.
The best option is probably Lysell if you want the best return. But in terms of just value you might want to look at Merkulov, he’s made a big contribution to the team down in Providence and could probably get you Chychrun if you add the right pieces around him in the trade.
Boston could also trade players that they have been keeping in Providence that deserve a spot in the NHL. Chris Wagner could help a lower-tier team but is playing in Providence because the Bruins’ depth is insane on the wing. The same could be said about forward Craig Smith who was playing in place of Jake DeBrusk and now Tomas Nosek. Once Nosek comes back the need for Smith might not be there and it isn’t fair to him to keep him in the sky box when he can help out a team and the Bruins could use his contract to add to a place of thinner depth.
All in all, the options are pretty straightforward for the Bruins. Boston has to make sure more money is going out to make a big move come in. The best bet is to go get someone like Ivan Barbashev or Vladisav Gavrikov. Although with the way Arizona has played their hand with Chychrun, I wouldn’t be surprised if the return they get is smaller than what they want. Arizona must not put itself in a position to lose any more leverage than they already have by saying they’re trading him regardless.