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The Bruins will need to get under the salary cap ceiling of $64.3 million for the 2013-14 season, and even though general manager Peter Chiarelli will have two buyouts to use after this year, there aren’t any cap-burdening contracts that he needs to get rid of with a buyout (possibly Marc Savard if teams can no longer use long-term injury reserve to get rid of cap hits).
The best option for Chiarelli to get under the cap without letting all his veteran free agents leave in the summer and having to replace them with young, unproven players would be to make a trade. If he makes a deal, trading a center makes the most sense because the Bruins have so much depth at that position.
David Krejci is one player who the Bruins could dangle at the trade deadline to shed some salary and/or add some depth to the team. It’s also possible that Krejci could help the Bruins get another first-round pick this year, which would be helpful to Boston since the 2013 draft class is so strong.
Krejci was involved in trade rumors last year, and since he’s a talented top-six center with just two-plus seasons remaining on his contract (including a manageable $5.25 million cap hit), he should have good value on the trade market.
The 26-year-old center doesn’t have a no-trade or no-movement clause in his contract and is a top-tier offensive player who also performs at a high level in the playoffs.
Chiarelli is going to need more depth on the wings if Jordan Caron, Chris Bourque and other bottom-six wingers don’t play well, or if injuries create depth problems.
If Krejci was traded, the Bruins could fill his spot on the top line with Tyler Seguin or Rich Peverley, both of whom are natural centers.
Horton is another player who could possibly be traded if the Bruins determine that they won’t re-sign him and want to get some value before he hits free agency. However, it's hard to imagine Horton having much trade value given his recent health problems
Krejci has more value because of his contract and the fact that he’s durable and a more reliable offensive player.
Don't be surprised if Chiarelli makes a move at the trade deadline to bolster his team for the playoffs and/or to get under the 2013-14 salary cap.