The Bruins are in a tumultuous downward spiral, which was capped off by Sunday's defeat to the celler-dwelling Hurricanes. A five-game losing streak is a tough pill to swallow, but at least they're not the Edmonton Oilers.
But that's not to say they can't benefit from the NHL's worst team.
According to Slam! Sports, the Oilers are preparing for a major housecleaning project and general manager Steve Tambellini has offered up a plethora of players to interested teams. A source tells reporter Bruce Garrioch that Shawn Horcoff, Robert Nilsson, Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Sheldon Souray and Lubomir Visnovsky are the available Oilers, who are happily willing to escape the 16-28-6 club before or on the March 3 trade deadline.
Of those players, Visnovsky — who has already offered to waive his no-trade clause — seems to be the most appropriate of Oilers-on-the-block for Bruins' GM Peter Chiarelli and his band of scouts to keep on his radar.
If you've only followed the Eastern Conference, than Visnovski has been a relatively unknown player. The 33-year-old spent his first seven seasons with the Kings before landing in Edmonton prior to the beginning of last season.
He has made the most of playing in such decrepit surroundings. The 5-foot-11, 188-pounder will be representing Slovakia in Vancouver in February and the B's would be happy to take him aboard in March but the All-Star's cap hit of $5.6 million may play out to be problematic. The B's may look to invest their bankroll into a goal-scorer but Visnovski has a lot to offer in both ends of the ice.
He has proven to be solid on the blueline by maintaining a plus-21 rating in his career despite playing on just three plus-.500 teams in seven years in L.A. He can chip in on offense, too as he's potted 87 goals and 252 assists in 594 games including a 2–5-06 season where he lit the lamp 17 times while helping out on 50 more for a career-high 67 points. A year later, he bagged 18 goals and 40 assists and has eclipsed the 30-point plateau in each of the last four years.
This season, he has nine tallies and 20 assists for 29 points which would tie him with Blake Wheeler (12 goals, 17 assists) for second on the Bruins — one point higher than B's captain Zdeno Chara. For what it's worth, he also won the Oilers' fastest skater competition over the weekend with a lap time of 13.9. With his speed, the potential combination of Chara and Visnovski could pan out to be the top one-two offensive-defenseman pairing in the league. The pair may even see some time together on
the Slovakian blue line next month at the Winter Games for a possible preview of what may
lie ahead for the Black and Gold defensive corps.
The addition of Visnovski would not only add defense and offense to the Black and Gold, it would take the pressure off Chara as well as Dennis Wideman, who has been in the Hub's doghouse all season-long with disappointing numbers. Wideman put up 50 points in 79 games a year ago, but has just 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) through 45 games this season.
Whether Chiarelli and the B's front office stays put or goes with the popular choice and grabs a sniper, the team needs to shake things up. With help needed on both ends of the bench, Visnovski could be the best answer.
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