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: Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell.
We know what you’re thinking: Rickard Rakell is still on the Ducks?
That’s right. Despite the seemingly annual tradition of the Anaheim winger popping up in trade rumors, the 27-year-old Swede is, in fact, still a member of the Ducks.
But Anaheim is in the midst of a rebuild, and won’t be in a position to compete this season and possibly next. They’re obvious sellers at the deadline, and Rakell arguably is their top trade chip.
So, could he be a fit with the Bruins? Let’s assess.
Here are the details.
Player: Rickard Rakell
Position: Right Wing
2020-21 stats: 7 goals, 15 assists
Contract status: Signed through next season with a $3.79 million annual cap hit
Has he already been linked to the Bruins?: No
His numbers are down a little bit, but nevertheless, the guy loves to shoot. If the Bruins were to acquire him, he’d have the third-most shots on the team this season behind just David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron.
With even strength offense being tough to come by for the Bruins’ bottom nine at times this season, getting a shot-happy winger who has a demonstrated ability to score at the NHL level checks off important boxes. It’s a plus that he also cares about playing defense.
Rakell’s peak was 2017-18, when he put up 34 goals and 35 assists in 77 games, but he still has routinely been a 40-plus point guy most seasons since becoming a full-time NHL player.
His cap hit isn’t insignificant, and he is signed for one more year. Sometimes general managers like going after rentals at the trade deadline, and the Bruins are about to open up a bunch of cap space this offseason. It might be off-putting to add a guy with term who is making just shy of $4 million.
The other present concern is health. Rakell is dealing with an apparent head injury suffered in late March, and hasn’t played since then. One thing the Bruins don’t need is to add someone who will be unavailable.
If he’s healthy, then yes. Rakell is a dynamic player who is useful in all three zones. He might come with a semi-hefty price tag, but the Bruins can make it work, so long as they’re getting a player who is medically cleared to play.