BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins lost a season-high fourth game in a row Monday night in Calgary, falling to 1-4-1 in the month of February after an 8-1-3 January.
The B’s are holding on for dear life to the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed, and if the season ended today they’d face Montreal in the first round of the playoffs. The hometown hockey team has dropped 11 of their last 12 regular season games to the Habs, and there’s little reason to suspect their success rate would improve in a seven game series.
This is all a long way of saying this team is trending downward, and the month of January seems more and more like an aberration when juxtaposed to the season-long malaise surrounding this squad.
The Bruins play just six more games before the March 2 NHL trade deadline, and realistically they have just 4 options before the league clock strikes.
Option A: Do Nothing
This is probably the most unrealistic option, but an option nonetheless.
The Bruins could do nothing by the trade deadline, and hope their recovering stars like Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg and David Krejci get back to 100 percent. Of the bunch, Krejci (lower body injury) is the only one who’s seemed to put his ailment behind him, and we know what a shutdown pairing Chara and Seidenberg can be in the postseason.
With limited cap flexibility and general manager Peter Chiarelli’s affinity for the core guys, this “wait-and-see” approach would do little to inspire the fan base, but maybe just maybe the team flips a switch when the lights are their brightest come mid-April.
Option B: Minor Move
Without fail, come the trade deadline general manager Peter Chiarelli always seems to make a trade, with varying degrees of effectiveness.
Seidenberg, Mark Recchi, Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly and Tomas Kaberle were all deadline acquisitions, and they all helped the Bruins end a 39-year Stanley Cup drought. Other 11th hour moves, like Andrej Meszaros, Wade Redden, Greg Zanon, Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau, did not pay off for the B’s.
The consensus opinion is that the Bruins need a top line right winger and a top-four defenseman. A minor move would be trading draft picks and prospects (P-Bruins/bottom-of-the-roster Bruins) to get that job done, while keeping the roster largely the same, just adding pieces to it.
Given Chiarelli’s track record, this option seems like his most preferred route.
Option C: Major Move
Bruins fans are desperate at this point, so they’re open to any and all solutions. If that means trading Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic or even Tuukka Rask, I don’t think they would rule it out necessarily.
A major move would consist of trading an existing player on the roster, somebody you’d consider part of “the core,” for another star player in return.
Taylor Hall and T.J. Oshie are names you keep hearing associated with the B’s, and perhaps the team as a whole wouldn’t even be that much better with their arrival. But a major shakeup to the roster would signal to the locker room that you’re committed as an organization and you mean business, and maybe that’s the kind of spark needed to light a flame under these guys.
Option D: Blow The Whole Thing Up
The fourth and final (also not likely) option is to just blow the whole damn thing up, and start putting your roster together for next season and beyond.
A move (or moves) of this magnitude would signal to the fan base and locker room the reset button is being pressed, and it acknowledges the current roster is not good enough to advance in the postseason.
Veteran players would be sold off for draft picks and young up-and-comers, which would help free up some cap space to be major players in summer free agency.