The Boston Bruins find themselves right in the thick of the East Division playoff picture with the April 12 NHL trade deadline right around the corner.
Rumors have linked a number of players in potential trades to Boston. We’ll examine a few possible Bruins trade targets and offer a verdict on whether the team should make the move. Next up: Mattias Ekholm.
The Bruins had a lot of questions surrounding their defense heading into the 2020-21 NHL season with the departure of Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
For the most part, the blue line has been pretty solid, they just can’t seem to stay healthy.
Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy have been sidelined with upper-body injuries, Kevan Miller missed six weeks before returning Thursday night, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon have missed a few games, while Matt Grzelcyk went through a string of bad luck when it came to injuries.
Safe to say, it may in the Bruins’ interest to acquire a defenseman as the April 12 trade deadline approaches.
Enter: Mattias Ekholm of the Nashville Predators.
Let’s take a look at some stats for Ekholm, along with our verdict as to whether the B’s should trade for him.
2020 stats: 5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points in 33 games
Contract status: Will make $3 million this year, $5 million in 2021-22 and will be an unrestricted free agent entering the 2022-23 season.
Have they already been linked to the B’s?: Nothing official, though we have made cases as to why he should be a target.
Pros: Top-four left-shot defenseman, team-friendly deal that also has term attached to it, could play alongside or McAvoy.
Cons: Could bump a younger defenseman like Jakub Zboril or Jeremy Lauzon out of the lineup for an extended period of time and disrupt the youth movement the Bruins have been going with. Though the young guys have been called out by B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy, they still have to learn and grow from their mistakes. Ekholm also reportedly comes with a high asking price.
Verdict: Good fit. The Bruins’ blue line is depleted, to say the least. Carlo is considered week-to-week with an upper-body injury, John Moore is lost for the season after hip surgery, Kevan Miller returned Tuesday after a near two-month absence, and it’s hard to say how strong his knee really is. Even though defense hasn’t been a big issue for the Bruins this season, it may be worth bringing in some reinforcement with a veteran blueliner.