Just about everything is going right for the Boston Bruins right now.
But any general manager will readily tell you there’s never really a finish line when it comes to building a roster. So when a report emerged that the Detroit Red Wings, unsurprisingly, are open for business, it’s only natural to see if there’s a fit for Don Sweeney and Co.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli said Tuesday on “Insider Trading” that teams already are looking into left winger Bobby Ryan, center Luke Glendening and defenseman Marc Staal.
Let’s start with Glendening who is the least practical fit for the Bruins. Glendening leads the NHL in face-off percentage, but there really isn’t an obvious fit for him. He’s not good enough to justify bumping Charlie Coyle or Sean Kuraly to a wing, so then he basically becomes a spare part.
It never hurts to have depth, and the Bruins are a little thinner at center following the departure of Par Lindholm. However, Greg McKegg is still kicking around, Jack Studnicka is a natural center, as is Trent Frederic. Glendening just is not a practical fit.
Staal is an interesting name. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent, and though he carries a $5.7 million cap hit, it probably won’t be tough to get Detroit to retain some of that.
After a 13-year run with the New York Rangers, he’s in Year 1 with Detroit, and though he comes with a modified no-trade clause, he all but certainly would be willing to waive it to go to a contender.
Never much of a point-scorer, Staal would be a wise addition if the Bruins aren’t satisfied with their play in their own end. But even with Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon becoming full-time NHLers for the first time in their careers, the Bruins thus far are fourth in the NHL in both goals against and expected goals against.
That begs the question we’re always asking (such as with the potential fit of Mattias Ekholm): Is it worth disrupting Boston’s youth movement?
The Bruins’ depth on the blue line has been tested with injuries to Matt Grzelcyk all season, plus more recent ailments to Lauzon and Zboril. However, John Moore has done fine enough in a pinch, Connor Clifton can play on his off side and Urho Vaakanainen was good in his season debut.
Staal is more than just a depth defenseman, but at this point in his career, he doesn’t represent that much of an upgrade over what the Bruins currently have.
The player who makes the most sense is Ryan.
For as good as the Bruins have been, their 5-on-5 scoring has been streaky, and there have been plenty of injuries. Ondrej Kase hasn’t played since the second game of the season, and David Krejci, David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk and Craig Smith all have missed time at some point this season.
Ryan is a proven goal-scorer in the NHL, and has five goals and four assists in 20 games this season. He’s cooled off substantially since scoring four times in his first three games of the season, but such is life when playing for an awful, rebuilding Red Wings team.
Robby Fabbri and Anthony Mantha have been his most common linemates this season, so anyone would go quiet offensively in such a situation. Perhaps a better line will help nudge him in the right direction.
He’s only playing on a one-year, $1 million deal, so it’s not like the contract is prohibitive. And since he’s tailed off in recent weeks, the Red Wings might not get too much for him.
Truthfully, Ryan would be the type of guy the Bruins would acquire in hopes of making him fit in the middle six, but would have to be ready to just healthy scratch if it’s not working out. Similarly to Staal, he’d probably be a luxury more than anything.
The overarching point here is that there are some potential fits among the three, but none fall into the drop everything and do whatever you can to acquire them territory.