As the NHL trade deadline approaches on March 8, the Bruins are in a bit of a conundrum; they know what they want to do to bolster the lineup, yet they have very little cap space to make it happen.

The Bruins lead the Eastern Conference by one point over the Rangers and are poised to make the postseason even though they have gone 3-2-5 in their last 10 games.

Cam Neely’s eye-opening comments on what the Bruins could be looking for at the deadline targeted two specific needs in Boston — offense and, more specifically, “another stiff defender,” according to The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa.

To help generate offense, the Bruins might benefit from a shutdown center like Capitals’ Nic Dowd. A role like his would only help Boston in the playoffs this spring.

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Dowd has 16 points in 45 games while averaging 15:27 minutes of ice time for Washington this season, and while offensive production may not jump off the pages to some, his defense is nothing to sleep on.

In 5-on-5 situations, Dowd’s goals against per 60 minutes is 1.51 which places him in the top 20 in the league. The Bruins currently don’t have a player in the top 25 in that category.

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Goals are harder to come by in the playoffs than in the regular season, and adding a defensive forward like Dowd would make them even tougher.

The 33-year-old Alabama native has a $1.3 million cap hit, according to, and would be more than a rental with his contract expiring after the 2025 season.

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The Bruins have seen their once powerhouse of a penalty kill flounder lately. They rank 10th in the league at 68.3%. Dowd leads Washington in defensive zone face-offs this season (47.3%) winning 234 of 494 at the dot and in short-handed situations at 83.5%. Comparably, Charlie Coyle is 44.5% in short-handed situations and 52.5% in the defensive zone for Boston.

Having a dependable bottom-six forward with rookie Matthew Poitras unavailable for the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery and John Beecher getting valuable development in Providence.

Whether or not Boston looks at a player like Dowd between now and the trade deadline, the Bruins probably have a list of potential targets, it just depends on what the cost would be to acquire any roster improvements.

The Bruins will have to get creative if they want to make any moves, given they currently have just $61,558 in projected cap space, according to

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Featured image via Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports Images