Boston Bruins Trade Rumors: Reports & Speculation Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline
Mistakes in their own end, their inability to score and injuries to key forwards such as Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley have all contributed to the Bruins poor play since the All-Star break in late January.
Although Boston remains second in the Eastern Conference standings, the Ottawa Senators are only two points behind the Bruins in the Northeast Division. (Boston has four games in hand, however.)
The Bruins will certainly be active at the deadline and it's expected that they make some kind of move to improve the struggling offense, whether it's a major move or a small one.
Let's look at all the latest trade rumors, trade speculation and news surrounding the Bruins as the February 27 deadline approaches.
Be sure to check back here each day leading up to the deadline for the latest rumors, news, and updates on the Bruins.
Follow Nicholas Goss on Twitter for NHL news and analysis.
Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston.
Latest Bruins Trade Targets (Updated Constantly, Check Back for New Info)
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Last Updated: Monday, Feb. 27 at 1:58 p.m. ET
Boston Bruins Trade Targets
Johnny Oduya, D, Winnipeg Jets
With defenseman Johnny Boychuk suffering from concussion-like symptoms after being hit hard by Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil on Saturday night, the Bruins could be looking for another d-man before Monday afternoon's deadline.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Johnny Oduya is a talented player who can help the Bruins at both ends of the ice, especially offensively.
Here's an interesting tweet from ESPN Boston's James Murphy.
With regards to Johnny Oduya possibly being dealt to Bruins, remember that Oduya played for Claude Julien in NJ.— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) February 27, 2012
Dustin Brown, C, Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have made center and team captain Dustin Brown available for trade, and according to TSN, the Bruins are one of eight teams with high interest. Brown is a perfect player for the Bruins because he's a big, physical player who goes hard to the net and can score goals. He's also a leader and has a ton of toughness. A quality power forward.
The cost to acquire him will be high, and the Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont thinks a package for Brown could look like this:
Think for Brown: 1-2 exceptional, cheap kids (likes of BOS Hamlton; NYR Kreider) and R1 pick(s).— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) February 24, 2012
Mike Knuble, C, Washington Capitals
Mike Knuble has been a healthy scratch recently for the Washington Capitals and I would not be surprised if they look to trade him before the deadline. Since the Bruins need another forward, preferably a veteran one, Knuble makes sense for Boston to acquire, possibly for a draft pick. He has played in Boston before as well.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli Won't Dismiss Chance of a Major Move
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Chiarelli said his focus is on adding another forward and defenseman, adding depth to a struggling Bruins team, and even said he would not rule out a big name coming to Boston.
"I would hope to add some depth and I can’t dismiss the bigger deals, but the prices for rental players are through the roof right. We paid a good amount last year to get some payers in – I’m not saying we won’t this year — but they’re through the roof.”
Chiarelli is smart to not overpay for big stars especially if the prices are ridiculously high. Last year, he acquired defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a package including a first round pick and elite prospect Joe Colborne. That trade was a disaster, and it may make Chiarelli think twice before pulling off a similar deal this season.
I don't think the Bruins will make a major move, but stranger things have happened on deadline day.
Will the Bruins Trade Tuukka Rask?
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Backup goaltender Tuukka Rask is one of the Bruins' most valuable trade assets, but he's the future of the team in net and I would be shocked if he's traded.
Rask, 24, has already proven he can be a No. 1 goaltender on a playoff-caliber team, which he showed during the 2009-10 season when he helped a Bruins team that underperformed for much of that year advance to the second round of the playoffs.
To acquire a superstar player at the deadline, Rask would likely have to be part of the deal. For example, according to ESPN Boston's James Murphy, the Columbus Blue Jackets talked to the Bruins about their captain and star winger Rick Nash. The Blue Jackets wanted Rask in a deal for Nash, but the Bruins were not interested in parting with Rask.
Told by numerous NHL sources that yes BOS and CLB have spoken regarding Rick Nash but CLB wants Tuukka Rask and that's non-starter for BOS— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) February 19, 2012
With starting goalie and reigning Conn Smythe and Vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas having one more year on his current contract after this season, at 37 years of age, the Bruins have the perfect player to take over for Thomas full time in Rask.
The young Finnish goaltender could take over the starting job as early as next season.
Should the Bruins Acquire Rick Nash?
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UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 23 at 11:15 a.m. ET
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli recently addressed Rick Nash in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub, saying:
“I can’t really comment on that. There are more than one ‘impact players’ available, but I can’t talk about a specific player.”
While I'm sure the Bruins like Nash as a player, plus the fact he would fit in the Bruins two-way style of play, the price to acquire him is likely too high at this moment in time.
As I mentioned in the last slide, the Blue Jackets have put star winger Rick Nash on the trading block. Because the Bruins have some very good young players, including a young goaltender, they are a team that Columbus has talked too regarding Nash.
The Blue Jackets' biggest need is a goalie, which is the reason they were interested in acquiring Tuukka Rask when they spoke to the Bruins recently about a trade involving Nash, according to ESPN Boston.
Although the Blue Jackets don't have to get a goalie in return for Nash, doing so would benefit them greatly since the one weakness that has brought their franchise down for years is a lack of a star goaltender.
The Bruins would have to part with elite defenseman prospect Dougie Hamilton and maybe a few young stars at the NHL level such as David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, Milan Lucic or even Tyler Seguin to acquire Nash.
Even though Nash is a great player, a proven goal scorer and a great fit in the Bruins offense as a power forward, the price to acquire Nash is way too high for Boston to pay right now.
How Will Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley's Injuries Affect the Trade Deadline?
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UPDATE: Thursday, Feb 23 at 11:30 a.m. ET
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to 98.5 The Sports Hub on Wednesday and addressed how Nathan Horton's injury will affect the team's deadline approach:
"It certainly something that we would consider greatly. It is uncertain what will end up happening with Nathan,” said Chiarelli. “I’ve been trying to add a forward and a (defenseman). It’s always good to have depth, not just depth in the minors.”
The Bruins offense has struggled mightily without wingers Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley in the lineup. Horton is out with a concussion and could possibly not return at all this season depending on how he recovers. Peverley is out 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain in his right knee.
Both players give the Bruins so many skills on offense such as speed, toughness and goal scoring. The Bruins simply don't have the players who can replace their offensive ability for a long period of time, which means a trade for a forward must be made.
How bad has the Bruins offense been without Horton compared to when they have him? CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty broke it down in a recent column:
The Bruins were shut out only twice in their first 46 games of the year with Horton, and averaged a robust 3.7 goals per game while racking up 31 wins. In the last 11 games since Horton went down the Bruins have been shut out four times, their points per game have been halved to 1.8 goals per game and they’ve only managed four wins.
The Bruins have to score more goals because their upcoming schedule is filled with playoff-caliber teams such as the St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators and more.
If the Bruins don't increase their scoring output by the February 27 trade deadline, they will have to acquire a forward of some kind.
What Are Some Likely Targets of the Bruins at the Deadline?
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UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 1:07 p.m. ET
One more possible target for the Bruins could be Buffalo Sabres veteran Paul Gaustad. He's a physical center who would add some more toughness and faceoff skill to the Bruins. Trading within the division isn't the norm, but there's really not a lot out there right now for the Bruins to acquire. Boston needs more help on the wings than at center, but unfortunately there aren't many top six wings available unless you want to significantly overpay.
It's unlikely that the Bruins add a defenseman at the trade deadline because they have good depth in this area at the NHL and AHL levels.
The struggles on offense because of Horton and Peverley being out of the lineup will likely force the Bruins to acquire a veteran forward. There are three possible targets: Ray Whitney of the Phoenix Coyotes, Mike Knuble of the Washington Capitals and Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Whitney would be the best fit in Boston because he's a talented goal scorer who is capable of playing on the top line. He's a veteran player who would also provide leadership to the team as well. The Coyotes are not completely out of the playoff race yet, but since Whitney will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer, Phoenix might decide to trade him before they can lose him and get nothing in return.
In a recent Bruins mailbag article on ESPN Boston, James Murphy responded to a question about Whitney and the Bruins:
I have been saying for a while now that he can provide that Mark Recchi-like scoring presence and leadership that Recchi gave the Bruins during his tenure in Boston. He has a Stanley Cup ring and is proving this season he still has a scoring touch.
Knuble is another possible fit for the Bruins since he's played with the team before and has been a healthy scratch recently in Washington. Tuomo Ruutu, who was the hot trade name a few weeks ago, is currently injured but is still going to be a coveted forward at the deadline thanks to his goal scoring ability and toughness.
Acquiring any one of these three forwards would be a good move for the Bruins.
Would the Bruins Do Nothing at the Deadline?
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 23 at 8:28 a.m. ET
One of the Boston Bruins trade targets, Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu, signed a four-year extension worth $19 million on Wednesday, which takes him off the trading market. This is a deal worth $4.75 million, and it's clear the Hurricanes severely overpaid for a forward who won't score much more than 60 points per season. The Bruins, according to James Murphy of ESPN Boston, were though to be a real contender to acquire Ruutu if he didn't sign a new deal with Carolina.
If Tuomo Ruutu declines Hurricanes' contract extension offer and hits trade market expect Bruins as frontrunners. Know they're high on him.— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) February 22, 2012
Now that the Bruins cannot trade for Ruutu, I expect them to stand pat at the deadline and not make any moves. Acquiring someone like Edmonton Oilers winger Ales Hemsky is not worth overpaying for.
As boring as doing nothing at the trade deadline would be, it's possible that the Bruins make no moves if the team starts to play better leading up to Monday.
They just called up Carter Camper from the Providence Bruins of the AHL to give the team some more skill at forward. If players such as Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Benoit Pouliot and David Krejci start playing better, then the Bruins might not do anything at the deadline.
It's unlikely that general manager Peter Chiarelli will make no moves, but at the same time, he won't jeopardize the bright future of the Bruins organization by making a bold trade to win the Stanley Cup this season.