BOSTON (CBS) — It’s still over six weeks away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the NHL trade deadline.
Following their 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday night, the Boston Bruins sit at 21-15-5 and are hanging on to a one point lead for one of the two Wild Card spots in the East. The B’s are in the midst of a tough stretch, going 2-6-1 after picking up a point in five straight in mid-December, so when the February 29 deadline comes around will they be buyers or sellers?
CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty joined Toucher & Rich on Tuesday morning to break down the current state of the Bruins and said Boston could be a bit of both as the deadline approaches. But no matter what moves they make, the focus will be on making the playoffs after a one-year absence.
“There are a lot of different teams in this situation where they could be both buyers and sellers. The position they’re in right now, they’re in a good position to make the playoffs barring anything crazy or unforeseen happening if they can play at a pretty decent level and this is just a blip on the radar,” said Haggerty.
“They need to get a defenseman, a top four guy, and I think they want to do that. The problem is there are about 10 other teams that want to do that as well,” he said. “Some teams have done that; the Seth Jones trade was big for Columbus because they’ve been looking at that kind of guy for several years now.”
Last week the Blue Jackets sent center Ryan Johansen, the No. 4 pick in 2010, to the Predators for defenseman Seth Jones, the No. 4 pick in the 2013 draft. The Bruins have the young parts to swing a trade like that, but it’ll come down to their willingness to deal away some of that promising talent.
“I’m sure the Bruins would have loved to have had Seth Jones but they don’t have a Ryan Johansen like Columbus to make that deal. To get a young player like that you’re talking about first round picks and a guy like David Pastrnak. I’m sure other teams will ask for a guy like Pastrnak as well, and that’ll be a non-starter because the Bruins will have a hard time parting with a player like that.”
One player to keep an eye on is Loui Eriksson, a free agent at the end of the season. If the B’s can’t reach an extension with the forward before the deadline, Haggerty thinks he could find himself in the team’s “for sale” bin.
“That’s where they come in as sellers as well; they want a defenseman and maybe another forward, but they have to make a decision with Loui Eriksson if they can’t sign him before the deadline. Maybe he gets moved in a deal like that to bring back a defenseman,” he said.
“But everything the Bruins do is with an eye towards making the playoffs, and there is a push to get in the postseason now,” added Haggs. “It’s not going to be them selling everything off and starting from scratch. They want to do what they can do to improve this year’s team and rebuild and reload on the fly.”
Haggerty also touches on the team’s recent struggles, and which players need to step up with David Krejci sidelined for the foreseeable future: