The Boston Bruins are not in good shape. They’ve lost half of their top six defensemen. Their offense is stagnant. They have cap issues galore. Today, the Boston Bruins are fifth in wild card race, otherwise known as 11th in the conference. With both Chara and Krug gone, that’s a very high percentage of the ability to get the puck out of the defensive zone and most of the offense from the blueline. Miller, like Chara played significant shorthanded time.
Even if/when Zdeno Chara is fully recovered from his knee injury, he’ll need at least a month to get his timing, and conditioning back. Torey Krug will likewise lose some conditioning and some dexterity in the hand with broken finger. As we’ve seen, Dougie Hamilton is nursing a hand injury as well. Despite the slash to hands by Minnesota Wild star defenseman Ryan Suter Hamilton is still playing but the next slash or puck to the hand could easily add him to the injured reserve.
The Bruins offense is in shambles, the Bergeron line looks like they’ve never played together. The best line the Bruins have features Chris Kelly who in his first ten NHL seasons hit 20 goals just once. Carl Soderberg who was a star in Sweden’s second tier league despite having only one fully functional eye. The last member of Swede2K is the frequently concussed Loui Eriksson who is being forced to play on his off wing. A quick look at the goaltending shows the number one goalie is 8 games into the season and has a save percentage under .900.
While no reasonable amount of players moved is going to get the Bruins the most ping-pong balls in the draft lottery, that isn’t an argument against trying to refresh the talent pool in the NHL, AHL, an junior hockey. The NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise Florida next June is expected not only to have very high end talent at the top but be deeper than most. Some have even compared it to the 2003 draft.
The team can easily shed a number of players, trading one of Brad Marchand or Milan Lucic should net either a top line right wing or the assets to get one. Moving Loui Eriksson could return a 1st round pick in the current draft, and maybe a young prospect. Matt Fraser, Adam McQuaid, Chris Kelly are all worth a second round pick or more. Assuming anyone wants Simon Gagne, or Jordan Caron at worst they bring back a mid round pick and clear a contract.
If the Bruins reduce the roster enough to have cap space to sign Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Torey Krug, Reilly Smith, and a free agent or two in July it would be worth it. Having the ability to draft some NHL ready prospects in June, and give players already in the system extended NHL playing time is a win-win scenario. Assuming Peter Chiarelli is the right man to man to fix the team, a little short term pain could reset the team for long term success. With the right players moved, the Boston Bruins drop to 23rd to 26th in the NHL. That means top ten picks in each round they have all their own picks, and whatever picks they acquire. The other option is to overplay whoever happens to be healthy letting the team limp into the playoffs, and getting no better than mid round picks in each round but five to seven more wins in the regular season.