Having a few holes to fill in their list, the Boston Bruins He will be active on the phone until the March 3rd trading deadline. If history tells us anything, General Manager (GM) Don Sweeney will be active and make a move of some sort. how big? Never think of making a splash.
One team the Bruins could find as a business partner to fill a need is the St. Louis Blues. First year coach Jim Montgomery has a very good knowledge of the Blues roster having been an assistant coach on Craig Berube’s staff prior to being hired by Sweeney. St. Louis is still within reach of the Western Conference area, but a loser Ryan O’Reilly And Vladimir Tarasenko due to injuries could dampen their hopes of reaching the play-off position. Here are three players Boston should be interested in meeting one of their needs.
One area the Bruins need is a right wing with a bottom six and one player who can fill that role Ivan Barbashev. The 27-year-old has six goals and 14 assists this season in 45 games, but he scored 26 goals and 34 assists last season in 81 matches. He is flexible in his ability to play all three forward positions and averages 16 minutes per night in 2022-23.
Latest news and highlights
He is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) after the season, but carries a cheap cap of $2.5 million. Boston has a strong third line with Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle, and Trent Frederick, but can Frederick continue his year-long success? Montgomery would be able to move Barbashev around the bottom six and he could slide to middle in an emergency. His opening with Nick Foligno and Thomas Nozick on the fourth line would give this line a bigger threat than Craig Smith or A. Greer.
Another striker the Blues could part ways with is former Bruin Noel Accari. He spent the first four seasons of his career in Boston, and the center and right winger has scored 10 goals this season and is on his way to a new career high. The ten goals tied, the second most in one season in his career.
Another UFA post-season, he comes up with another cheap cap of $1.25 million and he can add The Bruins were in 2019 with Marcus Johansson. The 31-year-old, who had 18 goals and 31 points during his four seasons in Boston, has won 53.4% of his tackles, but the speedy forward is another penalty-killing option for Montgomery. Returning to Boston could add another production threat at the bottom of the lineup in place of Greer or Smith.
The Bruins could use an assist on defense similar to what they got last season in Josh Brown of the Ottawa Senators. Nico Mikola This mold fits as a 6-foot-4, 209-lb strong physical blueliner. It wouldn’t add offense as evidenced by his assists this season, but his three goals and 13 points were a surprise for the Blues last season.
Mikkola was selected 127th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals. A one-year agreement he signed for 2022-23 and like his aforementioned teammates, he’s also a post-season UFA member (from “Blues Sign Defender Niko Mikkola To One-Year Deal,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/17/22). He wasn’t expected to be a night defence, but as a seventh defence, he brings experience and would be a better option than Jakob Zaboril, who has struggled this season and has been a healthy scratch for the past two months. His split with Derek Foreport would be an intimidating pairing. If the Bruins continue their pace in the standings, they’ll have plenty of time down the regular season stretch to give players a night or two.
Despite his injury, O’Reilly would be a target for several teams at the trade deadline. He would be a nice addition to the Bruins, but at what cost? Nor does it solve the long-term need. Also, how will his body respond to his injury? All things Sweeney has to consider.
Don’t get me wrong, he’d be a great addition and the Bruins saw firsthand what he could do in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final playoffs to help the Blues win seven games over Boston. He would perfect complement this list with his physical presence and producing ability, but does Sweeney want to break away from what the top nine are doing now? To win the playoffs, such a move is almost necessary.
Yes, of course, the Bruins would like to get Tarasenko, but it will be more expensive than these players. A depth forward and an extra defenseman are moves Sweeney could address with a call-up to St. Louis that won’t cost him as much as a bigger move with another team to get their top six players/more impact forwards.
Discover all things hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.
Scott Roush covers the Boston Bruins for Hockey Writers. Frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for various websites and daily newspapers. Writing began as a hobby, but it became a passion for Scott over the years.