Bruins’ Top Players to Target and Avoid at 2023 NHL Trade Deadline

Bruins’ Top Players to Target and Avoid at 2023 NHL Trade Deadline


Bruins’ Top Players to Target and Avoid at 2023 NHL Trade Deadline

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    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 16: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Matt Grzelcyk #48 and Pavel Zacha #18 after scoring a first period goal against the Philadelphia FlyersTD Garden on January 16, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by China Wong/NHLI via Getty Images)

    China Wong/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Boston Bruins have been the best team in the NHL this season, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. And they could benefit from making a few additions ahead of the March 3 trade deadline.

    Boston already made a splash by acquiring forward Garnet Hathaway and defenseman Dmitry Orlov from the Washington Capitals on Thursday in exchange for Craig Smith, a 2023 first-round pick, 2024 third-round pick and 2025 second-round pick.

    The Bruins own a 44-8-5 record this season, good for first place in the Atlantic Division. They got out to a historic start, having gone 39-7-5 heading into the All-Star break. And while they’ve shown no signs of slowing down, adding some depth beyond Hathaway and Orlov for a deep playoff run wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    Time is running out for the team to win another Stanley Cup with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand on its roster, which means general manager Don Sweeney should be doing everything in his power to bring in some talent for a lengthy playoff run this spring.

    This is absolutely a “go for it” year for the Bruins, especially considering it’s unknown how long this particular group will be together.

    However, Boston doesn’t need to make a significant shakeup at the trade deadline given the additions of Hathaway and Orlov, plus the immense amount of team chemistry it already has.

    While adding the likes of Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane or San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier would be nice, the Bruins can—and should—consider lesser deals that may have just as much of an impact.

    Sweeney has been doing his due diligence on the market, so it’s possible he’ll be willing to swing for the fences if the price is right.

    So, let’s take a look at some players Boston should target and some they should avoid this winter.

Nick Bjugstad, C, Arizona Coyotes

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    TEMPE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 22: Nick Bjugstad #17 of the Arizona Coyotes skates up ice against the Vegas Golden Knights at Mullett Arena on January 22, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Bruins already addressed their need for a left-side defenseman with the acquisition of Orlov, and now they should turn their attention to adding more depth to the offensive unit despite the addition of Hathaway.

    Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Bjugstad could be an intriguing option for the Black and Gold this winter as he’s on a one-year, $900,000 deal and wouldn’t be too difficult to fit under the salary cap.

    The 30-year-old has put together a respectable season with the Coyotes, notching 13 goals and 10 assists in 58 games.

    Over his 11-year career, Bjugstad has notched 123 goals and 137 assists in 598 games. His veteran presence would surely be a welcome addition alongside the likes of Marchand, Bergeron and Krejci.

    Additionally, he would be an upgrade over Tomáš Nosek, who has notched just three goals and five assists in 42 games with the Black and Gold this season. However, he is a better faceoff man, winning 58.3 percent of draws this season compared to Bjugstad’s 47.3 percent.

    If the Bruins think Bjugstad can improve on his faceoffs, he might be worth the addition.

Ivan Barbashev, C, St. Louis Blues

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 12: Ivan Barbashev #49 of the St. Louis Blues looks on against the Calgary Flames at the Enterprise Center on January 12, 2023 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images

    The Bruins have been linked to St. Louis Blues center Ivan Barbashev by NHL reporter Andy Strickland, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the franchise to add him to an offensive unit that is already playing pretty well.

    The 26-28-4 Blues have already parted ways with Vladimir Tarasenko, sending him to the New York Rangers, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them continue to offload assets following that transaction.

    Barbashev is a scrappy third- or fourth-line center who would give the Bruins an option beyond Trent Frederic on the fourth line.

    However, Frederic, 25, has been solid this season, notching 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points in 53 games. Not to mention the Black and Gold already have a pretty scrappy fourth line with Frederic, AJ Greer and Nosek.

    For comparison, Barbashev has tallied 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points in 58 games this season. That’s not a significant upgrade from Frederic’s 22 points, and swapping in the Russian for the young forward wouldn’t be worth altering the chemistry the fourth line has already generated.

    Additionally, if Boston is going to trade its first-round pick, it should be going after a higher-caliber player.

    Barbashev is also in the final year of his contract worth $2.3 million, and it’s unlikely the Bruins would be able to re-sign him this summer with a major extension for David Pastrňák looming.

Luke Schenn, D, Vancouver Canucks

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    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - FEBRUARY 06:  Luke Schenn #2 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on during a stop in play in the third period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on February 06, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. The New Jersey Devils defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    Elsa/Getty Images

    While the Bruins have upgraded the left side of their defense with Orlov, they could also use more help on the right, which is where Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn may come in.

    Beyond Charlie McAvoy, Boston has Brandon Carlo and Connor Clifton on the right. McAvoy and Clifton are having solid seasons, but Carlo has struggled and been a liability on the ice at times.

    Schenn is on the trade block this winter as the 23-30-5 Canucks continue to offload assets with eyes on a rebuild following the deal that sent Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders.

    Schenn, 33, is a prototypical physical, shutdown defenseman and would be a solid depth addition for Boston’s defensive unit. He has notched three goals and 18 assists for 21 points in 55 games, in addition to posting a plus-nine plus/minus rating on a Vancouver team that has a minus-35 goal differential.

    Additionally, the Canadian has plenty of playoff experience, having won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. With an $850,000 cap hit, he’d also be easy to fit under the salary cap.

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