BOSTON — The Bruins host Toronto in their final February home game on Tuesday and they could return a different team after their upcoming six-game road trip with the NHL trade deadline looming on Feb. 28.
Toronto has got off to a head start on the trade frenzy with three deals in the past week. The Leafs traded defenseman Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim for Joffrey Lupul, prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth-round pick, sent Kris Versteeg to Philadelphia for first- and third-round picks and gave up a conditional seventh-rounder to the Ducks for forward Aaron Voros.
Voros has been assigned to their AHL affiliate, while Christian Hanson, son of Dave Hanson of Slap Shot fame, was called up to fill Versteeg's spot in the lineup.
The Bruins haven't waded into the trade waters yet, and while they're likely looking for help on the blue line, Bruins coach Claude Julien is already struggling to decide who to sit. He has seven blueliners for six spots. Rookie Steven Kampfer was the odd man out in his return home to Detroit on Sunday, but is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday. Adam McQuaid was the last off the ice at the morning skate and could be the scratch for this one.
"Right now it's turned into a bit of a competition," Julien said. "I think lately our back end hasn't been as consistent as it had been in the past. ? We made a move last game and brought in Stuey [Mark Stuart] back in the lineup. This is I guess something you knew eventually would happen and we're dealing with it."
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate and is expected to start for the Bruins, while Toronto coach Ron Wilson confirmed that James Reimer will start for the Leafs.
Toronto has a decision of its own on the blue line. Brett Lebda has played the last three games after being a scratch the previous nine, but could give way to Carl Gunnarsson in this one.
Daniel Paille returns for the Bruins after serving his four-game suspension for a lateral hit to the head of Dallas forward Raymond Sawada on Feb. 3.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler-Tyler Seguin-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Greg Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Steven Kampfer
Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk
Mark Stuart-Andrew Ference
Scratches: Adam McQuaid
Projected Maple Leafs lines
Clarke MacArthur-Mikhail Grabovski-Nikolai Kulemin
Joffrey Lupul-Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel
Fredrik Sjostrom-Darryl Boyce-Christian Hanson
Jay Rosehill-Tim Brent-Joey Crabb
Dion Phaneuf-Keith Aulie
Luke Schenn-Tomas Kaberle.
Mike Komisarek-Brett Lebda
Scratches: Colby Armstrong (blurred vision), Carl Gunnarsson