The NHL’s trade deadline season has been underway for about a month, and one thing remains constant as it pertains to the Boston Bruins: Don Sweeney and his team are among the most aggressive clubs in the league.
The Bruins, according to multiple reports and indications from Sweeney himself, had two primary objectives before Monday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline. One was to acquire a third-line center with the hopes of finding a player similar to what Riley Nash provided last season. The second was to acquire a top-six winger to bolster Boston’s scoring behind its top line.
Sweeney already accomplished the first objective when he landed Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild, parting with Ryan Donato in the process. Giving up on a player like Donato, who has flashed offensive prowess, hurts, especially considering he’s just 22 years old. But that’s the price of doing business, and the Bruins feel they’re Stanley Cup contenders. More importantly, parting with Donato doesn’t keep the Bruins from making another move before Monday afternoon’s deadline.
In fact, the Bruins have been connected to a whole host of players. They reportedly were in on Ryan Dzingel and Gustav Nyquist before they were traded to Columbus and San Jose, respectively, and they’re believed to be in heavy on Philadelphia power forward Wayne Simmonds. In a year where there’s no shortage of rental options on the wings, it’s a good time for Sweeney to be big-game hunting.
First, here’s where the Bruins stand on deadline day.
Record: 36-17-9, 81 points (second in Atlantic Division)
If playoffs started today: First-round matchup vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Projected cap space: $3.445 million*
Here are a few players the Bruins likely will be connected to in the coming hours.
Wayne Simmonds, RW, Philadelphia Flyers (16 goals, 11 assists in 62 games)
Contract status: Pending unrestricted free agent, $876,210 remaining cap hit
The skinny: Boston has been connected to Simmonds for quite some time now. He’s 30 and plays a heavy style, which makes you wonder about durability moving forward. But he’s a short-term rental option who has plenty of playoff experience. He’s not the offensive player he once was, but his size and strength would make him an intriguing option alongside David Krejci, who has flourished in the past with power forwards flanking him.
Mark Stone, RW, Ottawa Senators (28 goals, 34 assists in 59 games)
Contract status: UFA, $1.6 million remaining cap hit
The skinny: Arguably the best goal-scoring forward available, Stone is a huge upgrade for any team that lands him. TSN’s Bob McKenzie wondered whether the Senators would circle back one more time to talk contract extension with the pending UFA, but if they don’t, they’ll have no shortage of suitors. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported the Bruins aren’t alone in their pursuit of Stone, as Winnipeg, Calgary and Nashville also are in the game with the New York Islanders and Vegas lurking. LeBrun sees Winnipeg as the favorite but also indicated the Bruins “have some assets the Senators really covet.”
Tyler Toffoli, winger, Los Angeles Kings (12 goals, 15 assists in 61 games)
Contract status: Signed through 2020, $1.013 million remaining cap hit ($4.6 million in 2019-20)
The skinny: We haven’t heard Toffoli’s name mentioned much with the Bruins, but TSN’s Darren Dreger mentioned him among the possibilities for Boston. He’s an interesting option, too, given the term still left on his contract following the season (which is similar to Coyle). Toffoli is having a bit of a down year by his own career standards, but he’s also currently skating on the third line for a Kings team that’s among the worst in the NHL. Perhaps putting him on a better line on a better team would help jump-start his season. At his best, Toffoli is a solid possession player, which could help the Bruins in 5-on-5 situations.
*All salary cap figures via CapFriendly.com