The Boston Bruins trade deadline is less than two weeks away and they will be looking to make a move. Assessing the needs for the team and general manager, Don Sweeney‘s history, this is what to expect from the Boston Bruins as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches.
The Boston Bruins Trade Deadline Plans
The Bruins are in “win now” mode with their current roster. The makeup of this roster is built around premiere veteran players like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci. A combination of established veteran players and talented young stars like David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy have the Bruins in the perfect spot for another playoff run. But Bruins management is likely looking for one more piece to put them over the top.
Don Sweeney’s Trade Deadline History
An aspect that plays into the Boston Bruins trade deadline moves can be seen in Sweeney’s history. Since becoming the Bruins general manager in May 2015, Sweeney has made five trades on deadline-day and eight total trades in the week leading up to the trade deadline.
Only one of those trades involved a draft pick in return rather than a player, showing Sweeney’s “all-in” type attitude with this team. It occurred in 2018 when Boston traded forward Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers for a 2018 third-round pick.
Sweeney made his biggest move as general manager last season with two separate trades. The first one sending Ryan Donato and a 2019 conditional fifth-round draft pick to the Minnesota Wild for Charlie Coyle. The second move occurred on deadline-day when he sent a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the New Jersey Devils for Marcus Johansson.
Sweeney’s track record shows his mentality of bolstering a current roster for a playoff run. Coyle and Johansson proved to be good moves as both contributed heavily in the Bruins 2019 playoff run. Coyle signed a six-year extension in November and Johansson signed with the Buffalo Sabres in the off-season. Expect Sweeney to make similar moves as this year’s trade deadline approaches.
What The Boston Bruins Need
The Bruins are one of the most complete teams in the NHL. The area of concern for this team is the same area that has been of concern the last few seasons — secondary scoring with a physical presence. Outside of the Bruins top line, only three players have double-digit goal totals. Jake DeBrusk (18), Krejci (13), and Coyle (12) have shown they can score but it hasn’t been consistent.
If anyone on the Bruins first line goes down with an injury or if the first line fails to perform to their regular standards it could be difficult for Boston to produce offensively. That’s especially true in a playoff series. A physical but offensive-minded player that can play top-six minutes and score goals would be a perfect fit for this Boston team. And, that could be enough to push them over the top.
Possible Trade Targets
There are a few players that could be a good fit for the Bruins as the deadline approaches.
Probably the most appealing target for the Bruins is New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider. The speedy forward plays a fast but gritty game and has proven his ability to score goals. At 6′-3″, he is a big body and can play a physical game that would greatly benefit the Boston Bruins. He has 22 goals and 18 assists on the season for 40 points. Kreider has scored 20 or more goals in five of his eight seasons.
Kreider, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, would be a near-perfect fit for Boston. He would be fourth in goals on the team and would have the most of anyone outside of the top line. While Kreider is the match made in heaven, it won’t be easy to acquire him.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweeted that the Rangers and Kreider’s agent were set to discuss the possibility of a contract extension soon. If New York decides to part ways with Kreider at the deadline it would take Boston a whole lot to acquire him. Kreider would likely be a rental piece as Boston does not currently have the cap space to re-sign him in the off-season.
The physical forward’s name has come up recently in trade rumours. Josh Anderson is a 6′-3″, 220-pound winger that had a career year last season. He scored 27 goals and appeared in all 82 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Last season, Anderson dished out 214 hits, good for 19th overall in the NHL. The 2018-19 version of Anderson is exactly what the Bruins are looking for in 2019-20.
However, this year has been the complete opposite for Anderson. He has appeared in just 26 games due to a shoulder injury that has kept him out since Dec. 14. Even before the injury, his season was not going well, scoring just one goal and three assists.
Columbus is still heavily in the playoff race and it would be hard to find a reason as to why they’d get rid of Anderson now. TSN’s Daren Dreger mentioned that it would take a major offer for Columbus to consider moving Anderson. If the Bruins were to give up a substantial amount, they’d be doing it in return for a player who has scored 20 goals once in his career. Someone who also had a bad start to the season, and has missed the last two months from injury. It would be a major gamble for Boston to invest much, if anything, to acquire Anderson.
Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli is likely to be moved before the deadline. This would be the safest option for Boston. Toffoli is in the midst of another solid season. He’s smaller than the other options but has shown his offensive ability. He has 14 goals and 16 assists on the season and has scored 20-plus goals three times in his career.
While Toffoli hasn’t lit up the league with his play, it’s important to remember where he’s been playing. The Kings are on pace to miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. In the previous two seasons that saw postseason appearances for the Kings, Toffoli scored 24 and 31 goals respectively. When surrounded by talented players on a good team, Toffoli has shown he can be a key contributor.
Boston could be a place where Toffoli flourishes. The Kings are sellers and the Bruins are buyers. Toffoli won’t cost as much as other top-targets and Boston would be able to acquire him in a reasonable deal.
What To Expect From Boston Bruins Trade Deadline
TSN’s Bob McKenzie said that he expects Sweeney to be “very active” as the deadline approaches. The Bruins could make a big-time deal for a top target, but don’t count on it. This roster didn’t see a lot of turnover from the one that was 60 minutes from winning a Stanley Cup last year.
Sweeney isn’t going to make a deal for the sake of making a deal. It has to be the right fit. The current roster has Boston in first place in the NHL and has plenty of playoff experience. So Sweeney is looking for the cherry-on-top. He does not need to overcompensate to acquire a big-name player. If Sweeney doesn’t see something he believes will help Boston win at the right price, then don’t expect him to force a trade just because it’s the trade deadline. Under the circumstances, it appears that Toffoli is Boston’s most practical option at the trade deadline.