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One of the reasons it will be critical to have the financial means to make a trade is because not all of the third-line pieces will be necessarily dependable this season.
The Bruins have 11 established, healthy forwards and two spots to be claimed by those who have been toiling in Providence since September.
Jordan Caron, a veteran of two split NHL-AHL seasons, should have been the logical shoo-in to give Boston a nightly quorum of 12 strikers. However, with the AHL season nearly half over, he has been prone to frostbite with goals in only four out of 31 games, including just two since Halloween.
Caron will not even be available for a reported three weeks. Providence skipper Bruce Cassidy recently told Providence Journal reporter Mark Divver that the young forward is out with an upper-body ailment, meaning the Bruins will have to fill their roster with other personnel to start the season.
None of the best candidates in meritocratic terms, rookie Ryan Spooner and journeymen Chris Bourque and Jamie Tardif, are as NHL-seasoned as Caron is. Caron has seen action in 71 major league games, Bourque has played in 33 (none since 2009-10) and Spooner and Tardif have combined for zero.
But at least one of them will need to be ready to serve as a spare forward with the parent club, if not take regular NHL shifts.
That is, unless Caron can rapidly recover and reawaken with a return to Julien’s dressing room or Chiarelli can find a way to acquire a new face.