The Boston Bruins haven’t been shy about making trades in the Peter Chiarelli era. While many of them were the type of under the radar, no immediate impact trades like picking up AHL defensemen, or bringing in an aging veteran in exchange for some guys who were never going to be regulars, those aren’t the only trades we’ve seen. One need only look to last summer with the departure of Dennis Wideman and a first round pick for Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell. Some trades have worked out better than others, few are for the player that everyone wants but they happen on a pretty regular basis.
When you look at the team a few things spring to mind immediately. One is the extreme and superfluous depth at center. This is the most obvious one, and half of the reason I suspect we’ll see a trade between now and the middle of October with it being more likely sometime from October 7th on. Another is how certain teams, mostly outside the conference are in desperate need of a penalty killing captain. For those teams, having someone who could help them against last years conference champions in 5 on 5 play as well would be a bonus.
On the backend things are a bit murkier. The blueline has clearly been the general manager’s favorite place to tweak. Not one of the blueliners currently on or likely to make the opening night roster played for Boston before his arrival. Add in the movement of Andrew Alberts, Matt Hunwick, Matt Lashoff, Jeff Penner, and half a dozen others and it’s clear something motivates the man in the corner office to stir this pot frequently. If you look at the Bruins scoring from defensemen last season, and compare it to other teams well, the ranking is quite similar to the powerplay, only not quite as high. If you look for someone who may have failed to live up to their billing, or regressed since arriving under coach Julien’s eye the odds of someone being moved seem a little higher.
Given that Jordan Caron and Steve Kampfer spent enough time in Boston both playing and practicing with the big club for them to be known quantities, if a move is going to be made in their favor it shouldn’t come as that big a surprise. They would in fact be following directly in the footsteps of Brad Marchand and Adam McQuaid who came up the previous year for some games and stuck to the roster. You could also say they would have an advantage over McQuaid and Marchand in having been around to watch the big club prepare for and recover from playoff games. Assuming the coaching staff and management have faith in them, this would give them an entire season to integrate with the defending champions.
Given all the cryptic and in some cases naked remarks of Julien, Chiarelli and club history one or two prospects who might find greener pastures elsewhere might be moved as well. Sobotka, Bitz, and Nokelainen are just a few of the names who went from fringe players here to full time or regular NHL players in other cities. Currently the Bruins are at 49 contracts according to CapGeek.com, if they do need to make a move later in the year having another free contract spot could be make or break for a deal.
In order of likelihood I’d say we’ll see one move at forward, then a single move at defense, and least likely a larger deal involving two or three roster players and or prospects.