As the 2008 NHL Entry Draft approaches this weekend, every team continues to work hard to figure out how to best improve their team. The Boston Bruins are no different.
The Bruins are off of a better-than-expected season, where they made the playoffs and took the No. 1 seeded Montreal Canadians to seven games before being eliminated—this after being picked by many to finish close to last in the Eastern Conference. They are looking to add a few players that will not only improve them in the future, but also for next season.
The Bruins have two major needs: a goal-scoring winger and a puck-moving defense-man.
The perfect fit for the Bruins up front would be Marian Hossa. Hossa is big, fast, strong, can score, and can protect the puck well. He is everything the Bruins need up front and more. The only problem is that he is rumored to be the Penguins’ top priority this off-season and even if he becomes a free agent, he is going to command at least $7 million a year for four or five years.
If Hossa hits the open market, expect the Bruins to be aggressive in their pursuit of him. In order to do this, they will have to free up some cap space. One way to do this is to either trade Glen Murray or buy out his contract.
After an awful season, where his age and slowness showed, there is no way Murray will be back in a Bruins’ uniform, especially with all of the young guns fighting for NHL roster spots. He only finished with 17 goals and 30 points and didn’t register a single point in the playoffs.
Murrayis supposed to make $4.15 million next season so ideally the Bruins would trade him and lose his salary completely. If they can’t move him, expect Peter Chiarelli to buy out his contract and take the cap hit of $1.38 million for the next two seasons.
If Hossa does not become available, look for the Bruins to go after someone like Ryan Malone (if his rights don’t get traded to Columbus).
Besides a forward, the Bruins would love to add a puck moving defense-man. Wade Redden or John-Michael Liles would be ideal, but money becomes a problem again. Redden might be willing to take a pay cut to play with Zdeno Chara again, but he might still be too expensive even after a pay cut.
With the draft coming up, expect the Bruins to be aggressive in the trade market. They need to add size up front (although they will sign Blake Wheeler who adds some size if he makes the NHL team) and they need to cut salary. If they do stay at the No. 16 spot, expect them to select the best player available even if that player doesn’t fill a need.
It sounds like the Bruins are going to be very aggressive this off-season and I am excited to see what they do. The Bruins surprised almost everybody last year, including most die-hard fans, and I only hope they can continue to build on their successes and continue to develop the younger talent.