With the Boston Bruins clear Stanley Cup contenders, it seems like it’s the consensus opinion that they should add at least one piece before the NHL trade deadline on March 3.
But what type of piece the Bruins should try to acquire and who they should ultimately target remains up for debate.
A group of ESPN NHL reporters tried to answer those questions and came away with two players the Bruins could try to pry away from their current teams.
Kristen Shilton believes St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev could be a target for the Bruins as even though that might not be a headline-grabbing move, it would be an effective one.
“More realistic targets could be a bottom-six winger like Ivan Barbashev, who has a history with (Bruins coach Jim) Montgomery from their time in St. Louis,” Shilton wrote. “Boston clearly wants to win now. But adding a big piece at the deadline doesn’t always equal success, and the Bruins don’t want to do too much and disrupt the good thing they have going.”
As Shilton pointed out, Barbashev would be a known commodity for Montgomery, who spent two seasons with the Blues as an assistant coach before becoming Boston’s bench boss.
Barbashev has tallied eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 48 games this season and has a championship pedigree, winning a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 at the expense of the Bruins.
While Barbashev would fortify Boston’s bottom-six forwards, Greg Wyshynski thinks the Bruins might try to pull off a home run move and obtain Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat.
Horvat, who has compiled an eye-popping 31 goals and 19 assists for 50 points so far this season, would come at a heavy cost for the Bruins. And center isn’t a position of need for Boston, but Wyshynski provides a compelling case as to why the Bruins should pull the trigger on acquiring Horvat.
“(Patrice) Bergeron, (David) Krejci, Horvat and Charlie Coyle up the middle would give Boston unparalleled center depth,” Wyshynski wrote. “It would also create a succession plan in case Bergeron and Krejci are both done after this Boston run, as Horvat is an unrestricted free agent next summer. He won’t come cheap, but when you’re all-in, you’re all-in.”
And if the Bruins do indeed have that mindset, they could set off some fireworks at the trade deadline.