So, imagine how the week-to-week loss of Brandon Carlo might impact things.
What exactly the issue is for Carlo is unclear. Regardless, the trade deadline is just over a week away, and the Bruins now are in a position where a move for a blueliner might be more a necessity than luxury.
There is depth within the organization. But the problem is that there isn’t a ton of seasoned-NHL depth. Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon are the only nightly roster “locks.” Then it’s a mixture of Kevan Miller (who should be back soon), Steven Kampfer, Jarred Tinordi and Connor Clifton. Beyond that, you’re getting into the prospect pool.
By no means is that a bad pool of guys to choose from, but the Bruins could find an upgrade somewhere. The only “splash” guys seem to be Mattias Ekholm and David Savard, but the Predators have turned a corner, and Ekholm might no longer be available. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen is a tough guy to figure out, so it’s no guarantee Savard will be moved.
The Bruins’ best move, like we said last week with the Moore news, is to eye a move akin to the Nick Holden deal from 2018. Find a guy who you can play on the second or third pairing, one who represents and upgrade over Kampfer, Tinordi and Clifton.
Maybe the Bruins go for a guy like Vince Dunn or Alex Gologoski — two players who are more of the puck-moving type. Brandon Montour or Colin Miller in Buffalo are potential options, and so too is someone like New Jersey Devils rearguard Dmitry Kulikov.
Boston has a lot of cap space opening up this offseason, so reigniting Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade talks seems unlikely.
The Bruins could go the waivers route again, like they did with Tinordi, but it might make more sense to swing a little bigger and go for a trade.
Regardless, losing Carlo hurts, and he’s going to be a tough guy to replace. So, the hope for the Bruins has to simply be finding someone reliable that can be a stopgap, but also can continue to be leaned upon if Carlo does eventually return.