Bruins at the deadline: three ways to help the team
The Bruins may have 45 points and may be among the best teams in the NHL, at least according to the standings, but it’s increasingly evident that the team could use a shake-up.
The B’s have given away six third period leads this season, causing them to lose games they easily should have won.
While they certainly don’t need to blow it up and start from scratch, something needs to change.
The April 3 trade deadline is just two weeks away. The Bruins have over $7 million of cap space to play with and if GM Peter Chiarelli wants to make a big move, he can.
Or, he can make a number of smaller moves. He can make minor tweaks or bring in a star. With how good a job he has done handling the deadline in the past years, it’s hard to tell what he’ll do.
He has proven that he will make bold moves at the deadline, if necessary, as he did in 2011 when he made some key moves that helped propel his team to the Stanley Cup (i.e. picking up Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Tomas Kaberle in the weeks leading up to the deadline).
How significant of a move Chiarelli will make depends of whether or not he believes the B’s need help in a certain area. If he chooses to add to the team, he will have to do so without completely altering the team’s current roster and chemistry.
Since the Bruins are a favorite to win the Eastern Conference this season, one trade could help the team win its second title in three years.
Let’s analyze some of Chiarelli’s options and determine which make the most sense.
Don’t touch much
With this approach, the B’s could choose to keep their current roster intact and use the cap space to resign upcoming free agents. Andrew Ference ($2.25 million), Nathan Horton ($4 million), Tuukka Rask ($3.5 million) and Anton Khudobin ($825,000) are a few of Boston’s key players that are eligible for free agency this summer (July 5).
Rask and Horton will cost the B’s at least $4.5 million to resign, and both players could make well over $5 million, especially since Rask is the No. 1 goaltender and he’s young (25 years old).
Firepower up front
Boston could seek a star forward. The B’s are ranked 25th in the league on the power-play and they could definitely use a boost. By acquiring a star forward with good play making abilities and goal scoring skills, it would help the team became more dangerous with the man advantage.
The power-power play could be improved if another elite player is added to the roster. A player that comes to mind that may be available before the deadline is Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla¸who is in his final years of his contract and reportedly has the Bruins listed as one of the teams to which he is willing to be traded.
Iginla is a strong power forward. He also puts up numbers as he has nine goals and 13 assists in 31 games this season. He would bring talent and experience to the B’s.
Go for depth
Lastly, the Bruins could opt for a depth player to improve the lower half of the roster, especially with Chris Kelly out with an injury.
Ryane Clowe of the San Jose Sharks would be a good fit for the B’s in order to add some depth to the team.
Clowe is the type of power forward that the Bruins need for their third line. The 30-year-old veteran would be a nice fit at left wing alongside Peverley and Jordan Caron. The Sharks forward is in the final year of his contract with a salary cap hit of $3.6 million, and he will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
Clowe would provide the Bruins’ bottom-six forward group with grit, penalty-killing ability, and some offensive skill, although he has struggled a bit this season with zero goals scored and nine assists in 25 games.
If the B’s choose not to make a major trade, adding a little more depth to the forward positions would be the most effective way to strengthen the roster and should be Chiarelli’s top priority.