The Boston Bruins are among the NHL’s best teams. They’re leading their division, and they’re also fighting for the top spot in the entire Eastern Conference. Yet there’s still room for improvement.
The B’s made one minor move prior to Friday afternoon’s Olympic trade freeze, which means they’re done making moves until the Olympics are over. Once the NHL season resumes, teams will have about 10 days to make moves leading up to the March 5 trade deadline.
Because they’re one of the best teams in the league, the Bruins don’t have to make any sort of franchise-altering deal. There are areas, however, in which the Bruins can get better. Perhaps the most obvious place the Bruins could add some depth is on the blue line. Boston has had to deal with defensemen injuries all season long. Dennis Seidenberg is out for the season, and Adam McQuaid remains out with a nagging leg injury. General manager Peter Chiarelli likes his team as it is, but if he does look to make a move, it might be for a veteran D-man to add to a youthful bunch.
“We’re probably looking to get another NHL defenseman,” Chiarelli told CSNNE.com. “There are not many out there that really stand out, but there are a lot of serviceable guys out there that would fit in well with us. Pundits were saying we struggled with [Seidenberg] and we’re defending a little differently now. But I’d like to find somebody with defensive capability. You talk about depth, but we also want a guy that’s going to be capable of playing in our lineup rather than a seventh or eighth guy. [Matt] Bartkowski and [Dougie] Hamilton are definitely defending better this year, but we’d still like to add somebody.”
The Bruins are probably all set up front, at least in terms of top-six forward talent. They have gotten good contributions from their top two lines. The club may also be set in terms of puck-moving defensemen. Players like Torey Krug and Hamilton give the Bruins an offensive element from the back end, which may make adding a defensive-minded D-man even more important with the playoffs nearing.
“I think there are a lot of teams out there looking for scoring wingers,” Chiarelli told CSNNE. “We’re good with the puck-moving guys. It’s as simple as we lost a good defender in [Seidenberg], and you want to at least have that in your pocket. You want some element of that. If you can’t get it, then you can’t get it.
“We have guys that are getting better at it. But when you get into the heavy slogging in the later [playoff] rounds, that’s when you really need it.”
The market has yet to really shape up as there are still a handful of teams that are in contention for playoff spots. But there are still a handful of defensemen who will be free agents at the end of the season. If teams get the feeling that those players will test the free-agent market, they’d obviously be more likely to ship those players before the deadline. Players like New York Rangers D-man Dan Girardi and the New York Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald are two players who fit that criteria and could be on the move.