It’s that time of year again.
With the NHL trade deadline less than three weeks away (March 21), the Boston Bruins will likely seek roster improvements to bolster a roster for another hopeful playoff streak.
Finding a second-line center and/or another defenseman seems to make the most sense for general manager Don Sweeney, as Patrice Bergeron’s unknown future and Boston’s defensive depth chart almost always seem to shrink in the playoffs.
Sweeney made his first move into the trade period on Feb. 22, acquiring the rights to Providence College captain Michael Callahan from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2024 seventh-round pick. The trade isn’t necessarily something exciting. Still, the move could prove beneficial down the line, as Callahan — a Franklin native — has been a strong defender for Nate Leaman’s side for the past four seasons.
With that in mind, here’s a list of five intriguing trade time goals for the Bruins.
Tomas Hertl (Center, San Jose Sharks)
If acquiring a second line center is more of a priority for Sweeney, Hertl is the guy to get.
The 28-year-old is in the middle of a career season with the Sharks (on pace with 33 goals) and carries a manageable cap of $5.625 million. The Czech-born center also has some size at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds.
Hertl, a pending UFA, could work very well in the offseason. But the Bruins could receive Hertl at a lower price given its potential tenant status.
The Sharks have expressed their desire to retain Hertl. But Hertl hasn’t definitely expressed the same desire to stay, which may leave San Jose no choice but to deal with their 2012 17th overall pick in order to receive assets in return.
The Bruins should almost certainly part with a first-round pick, top prospect and roster player for Hertl.
Hampus Lindholm (Defender, Anaheim Ducks)
Lindholm is a particularly attractive option for Bs for several reasons.
First, the 28-year-old would reportedly bolster the Bruins’ top pair D alongside Charlie McAvoy. The sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft has occupied the Ducks’ blue line for the past eight seasons and has averaged at least 20 minutes a night since his sophomore season.
Lindholm would also bring more size to Boston’s fullback at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds. The Swede would instantly become the B’s second-biggest left-handed defender, behind Derek Forbort.
Lindholm’s career high in points returned in 2014-15 with 34 and has since hovered around the 20-point mark in each season since.
As attractive as Lindholm is, Anaheim is currently fighting for a playoff spot and may choose to wait to move their unrestricted free agent on hold until the end of the season.
If the Ducks decided to move Lindholm, the Bruins would likely have to move one of Urho Vaakainainen, Jakub Zboril or Mike Reilly to make room on the left side.
JT Miller (centre/wing, Vancouver Canucks)
Although rumors have died down lately around the Canucks forward, Miller’s name has often cropped up in connection with potential Bruins targets.
The New York Rangers’ first-round selection in 2011 has performed well for a reorganizing Vancouver team with 60 points in 53 games this year. A native of Ohio, Miller is a more versatile option than Hertl as he can play both center and wing.
With his contract set to expire after next season, the Bruins would have more control over Miller’s future if they acquired him. Similar to Hertl, Miller’s cap is $5.25 million.
It’s unclear whether the Canucks will move Miller or try to build around him, but the 20-plus three-time scorer would no doubt help solidify Boston’s top six.
The Bruins should probably compile a similar package for Miller as they would for Hertl.
Damon Severson (Defense, New Jersey Devils)
Due to the carousel of left-handed defensemen, the Bruins could choose to add a right-hander instead, and Severson could be a good pick-up.
The Canadian-born defenseman has compiled at least 30 points in four of the past six seasons and has been a steady presence on D for a New Jersey team that has shuffled a fair amount of bodies there over the past few years.
Currently an alternate captain, the guard has capped at $4.16 through next season.
The Devils will likely enter the trade deadline as sellers, given they are 22 points from a playoff spot. The Bruins may not have to give up so much to acquire Severson. A defenseman, a second-round draft pick and maybe another asset might be enough to seal the deal.
Sweeney has a recent trade deadline history with the Devils after snatching Marcus Johansson in 2019 for a pair of picks.
Calle Jarnkrok (center/left wing/right wing, Seattle Kraken)
Speaking of Johannson, the ex-Bruin’s current Seattle teammate completes our list of intriguing names to watch.
Jarnkrok is quietly preparing a solid season for a poor Kraken team with 22 points (10 goals) in 43 games.
Perhaps Jarnkrok’s most appealing trait is his ability to play any position up front. If the Bs end up sending Jake DeBrusk out the door, Jarnkrok could fill that hole on the wing or slot in center if someone’s game starts to drop.
Acquiring Jarnkrok would be like trading Ondrej Kase in that the Bruins hope to keep him for future seasons, despite injuries.
Currently earns $2 million, adding the 30-year-old forward wouldn’t need much gymnastics from Boston. Acquiring Jarnkrok would likely only cost one draft pick. Given the low risk and high reward potential, Bs would be well advised to learn about Nashville’s former predator.
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