These Forwards Make Sense If Bruins Aren’t Done Dealing

Are the B's done dealing?


Mar 2, 2023

UPDATE (Thursday, 9:25 a.m. ET): This story was published just before the Bruins acquired Tyler Bertuzzi in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings. It’s unclear if Boston will look to make another deal before Friday afternoon’s trade deadline.

ORIGINAL STORY: Don Sweeney and the Bruins front office could put up their collective feet and call it a day on the 2023 NHL trade deadline if they wanted.

Boston has been the best team in the NHL all season and undeniably improved by acquiring Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals last week. The trade deadline is Friday, and factoring in both the Bruins’ cap situation plus their current standing, it wouldn’t be shocking if they stood pat.

However, the last week or so also has strengthened the argument for further adding to the roster. Despite relatively good health for the bulk of the season, the injury bug is starting to bite Boston, especially up front. It’s unclear when Taylor Hill will return from a lower body injury, while Nick Foligno seemingly is dealing with an LBI of his own.

It’s certainly a reminder of the importance of depth this time of year. The attrition only intensifies in March and beyond, as the Bruins can already attest. It’s impossible to have too many useful players, and that alone should keep Sweeney from taking the phone off the hook before 3 p.m. ET Friday.

Despite the flurry of trade activity across the NHL in the week(s) leading up to the deadline, there are still options available. That’s especially true for a team like the Bruins, who are in a position to add on the margins as opposed to making a blockbuster.

We’ve already hypothesized about a Nick Bonino deal, but here are two other forwards who could fit the bill for Boston.

If the Bruins are still engaged in trade talks, especially at the forward position, perhaps Sweeney ought to circle back one more time with the Capitals and see what it might take to get Conor Sheary out of D.C. Obviously, the Bruins have no problem rostering players with local ties, of which Sheary has plenty. The Winchester, Mass., native played his high school hockey at Cushing before heading to Amherst and playing for UMass.

In a lot of ways, he’s the perfect late-season addition for a contending team, especially if you can slot him into the bottom six. Sheary has two Stanley Cup rings from his time in Pittsburgh with 72 career playoff games under his belt. He has made the most of his chances this season with increased ice time, scoring 12 goals with 18 assists in 63 games for Washington. That production almost certainly would dip with a team like the Bruins; Sheary is averaging a career-high 15:53 of ice time per night.

He’s also affordable. A pending free agent, Sheary’s cap hit is just $1.5 million. He’s a valuable asset for the Caps, but here’s the thing: Sheary’s wife just had the couple’s second child. A trade would further complicate life at an already crazy time for Sheary, so maybe the Caps try to do right by him and avoid making things even more complicated. A trade certainly adds to that craziness, but a trade home to Boston could potentially soften that blow. That’s just pure speculation, though.

Another potential target to consider is Bjugsad, an Arizona Coyotes forward. The 2010 first-round pick can play both center and right wing, and he’s acclimated to a bottom-six role. Bjugstad’s a big dude, too, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 209 pounds. The five-on-five possession numbers are pretty good despite the fact he’s been called on to start more shifts in the defensive zone than just about any point in his career until now. He’s certainly not afraid to let it rip, either, with 111 shots in 59 games. The shooting percentage is up — 11.7% would be the best of his career — so the 13-10-23 production is probably unsustainable. That’s especially true considering Bjugstad, like Sheary, would see a decrease in ice time after averaging a career-high 17 minutes per night with the Desert Dogs.

He’s also super-affordable with a $900,000 cap hit entering free agency. The Coyotes finally executing the Jakob Chychrun trade could also free them up to really start dealing.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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