Can the Bruins add any more depth before Friday’s trade deadline?
The Bruins could still be in the market for an extra shot on the depth chart.
The NHL trade deadline may be set for Friday at 3 p.m., but the Bruins and the rest of the league don’t seem to have gotten the memo.
Ever since Boston struck a deal a week ago to bring in Dmitri Orlov and Garnet Hathaway, the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoff team has been in an arms race.
Patrick Kane will take his talents to the Big Apple and join the Rangers’ stacked roster. The Devils brought in Timo Meyer to round out an ultra-skilled young core.
The Lightning gave up a couple of draft picks for Tanner Jeanneau, adding more strength to their bottom six roster.
Toronto responded by adding some more offense to Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty. Subsequent moves by the Leafs include the arrivals of Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn.
Even the visiting team, watching the playoffs in Ottawa, traded for Coyotes quarterback Jakob Chychrun on Wednesday.
The past few days have seen a flurry of trades on the NHL Trade Feed. And it doesn’t look like the teams will slow down tomorrow afternoon.
Given Boston’s already stacked roster and limited cap space ($125,698 per CapFriendly), Don Sweeney is unlikely to be active for the next few days.
But Boston’s general manager didn’t rule out further development if the right opportunity presented itself.
“You never know. Again, this deal came together relatively quickly,” Sweeney said. “My discussions with (GM Capital) Brian (McLellan), he’s doing really well. And it just happened to be an opportunity that presented itself. Obviously we’ve been in the market for a while, who may or may not be available and what offers you can make.
“I’m not necessarily going to be too aggressive, but we really like our team. Like I said, I hope we stay healthy and take care. We have eight more days. But for the most part, our guys should feel comfortable joining our group, and it’s time for these guys to continue what they’ve planned and have a special year.
Boston can’t afford (or need) to add another top-six talent or minute-eating point guard. But scoring below deep in the bottom six could be an avenue worth exploring.
Even if Hathaway adds some scrap to the fourth line, the third line next to Charlie Coyle could be an affordable option, especially if Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno recover.
So if Boston is still kicking the tires, who might they be targeting?
C Nick Bjugstad, Arizona Coyotes
Age: 30 years old
Stats: 59 GP, 13 G, 10 A, 23 Pts
Contract: UFA pending, $900,000V
If the Bruins want to add two-way depth to their roster without facing a capitalization crisis, a veteran like Bjugstad makes a lot of sense.
Bjugstad left the Arizona desert after the Coyotes ruled him out of the final games for trade reasons. And he is confident the 30-year-old forward will be snapped up by a contender looking for an extra shot ahead of a tough playoff push.
Of course, Bjugstad’s heavy minutes on a barren Yotes team (average ice time of 16:59 per game) will be reduced no matter what lineup he’s in. But the Minnesota native made the most of his time in Arizona, scoring 13 goals and earning plenty of heavy turnovers.
He’s not a killer despite his 6-foot-6 frame, but Bjugstad is a reliable player who can be relied upon to handle the dreaded minutes he spends in the D-zone. 5 spot in the offensive zone, a very modest Coyotes team has outscored teams 33-27 in Bjugstad’s 5-on-5 ice time this year, 791:55.
Whether on the third or fourth line, Bjugstad can add the finishing touch to a bottom six B block that needs a little bounce.
Add in the fact that Boston doesn’t necessarily have to do heavy cap gymnastics to accommodate the $900,000 cap hit, and Bjugstad Sweeney should be a target to check out over the next couple of days.
F Max Domi, Chicago Blackhawks
Age: 28 years old
Stats: 60 GP, 18 G, 31 A, 49 points
Contract: Pending UFA, $3M AAV
Domi served the Hurricanes well last spring, scoring twice in Carolina’s Game 7 win over the Bruins at PNC Arena.
The 28-year-old forward should once again become an interesting recruit after a good few months with the Blackhawks this season.
Unlike several other forwards who still establish themselves as bottom-six foot soldiers on the board, Domi has the ability to slot into the top-six if an opposing team needs him.
Granted, the Bruins don’t need another top-six forward on this roster. While it’s not a high price to take him away from Chicago, Domi’s production in the O-Zone will be offset by a solid defensive tackle.
Given that Boston’s DNA is based on a stingy, layered defensive structure, adding a scoring winger prone to some d-zone failures may not be exactly what the Bs are looking to buy at the last minute.
C Nick Bonino, San Jose Sharks
Stats: 58 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 Pts
Contract: NFL pending, $2.05 million AAV
A proven player in the playoffs who helped the Penguins win two Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, Bonino still offers value as a seasoned veteran who can play a variety of roles in the bottom six.
He’s felt the influence of Father Time, but the 34-year-old forward is far from empty on an NHL roster. The Hartford native and former BU Terrier is a versatile cog capable of playing all three positions.
Add to that his shortstop reliability (a slashed TOI of 2:14 per game leads all Sharks forwards) and consistent strong offensive production, and Bonino could be a very useful asset for many teams in the future. looking for good insurance on their list.
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