The Bruins have a busy offseason ahead of them, and while this year's free agent class isn't exactly stellar, there are a couple of big players that will be available.
The biggest of all the names is Rick Nash. Nash has an incredible skill set and is the perfect hybrid of finesse and power. For Bruins fans, he's a skilled Milan Lucic. Nash has a wicked shot to go along with all of that, too. The problem is that the Blue Jackets have been demanding way too much for Rick Nash ever since he hit the market.
The Bruins would need to present a desirable package of youngsters and proven NHL players to even be considered by the Jackets. This would entail including a player like David Krejci or Lucic.
The Jackets might also want access to Dougie Hamilton and Tuukka Rask, but those two are totally untouchable, as is Tyler Seguin. Unfortunately, Krejci and Lucic have lost that distinction with their lackluster postseason performance.
Krejci did have a giant pane of glass fall on him, if that counts as a good excuse.
For Lucic, though, it's judgement time. If he wants to stay in Boston, he needs to convince the Bruins management that he will perform in the playoffs. He can't give a repeat performance of the lovable defensive liability.
Nash may be too rich for the Bruins' blood, but his perks cannot be denied. His production could absolutely skyrocket when surrounded by the young talent of the Bruins. He would give the power play a much-needed boost, and he would be the first goal-scoring star in Boston since Glen Murray.
However, like most teams, the Bruins may select a quieter offseason. Ray Whitney would be the perfect man for the job. He is slated to be a free agent come July 1st, and he would play the role of grizzled but effective veteran, a role left vacant since Mark Recchi's departure. The "Wizard" also put up 77 points this season and is a far cheaper remedy to the Bruins' power play woes.
The Bruins would most likely have to drop around $3 million for a season of Whitney, and that may not even be doable if the Bruins try to lock up the fourth line and Rask.
The Bruins might also decide to attack a player like Alexander Semin. Semin has a world-class skill set and an absolutely vicious wrist shot. However, effort has been a problem for him. He is a defensive nightmare on a good day.
The Bruins would have to drop some serious dollars on a player with his skill set, and it probably isn't worth it unless the B's brass believe coach Claude Julien can whip him into shape.
If the Bruins want to make a real splash this summer, they may target Zach Parise. The allure of an American star in Boston cannot be overstated from the perspective of a fan. Parise is another player with a great skill set, but effort has never been a problem for him. He is tenacious on either side of the puck and is yet another player who would help the power play.
The Bruins would need to make a serious trade to have the cap space to even consider pursuing Parise, and Parise may not even want to leave if New Jersey gets even further in their Cup run.
Whichever direction the Bruins take this offseason, there are a few guarantees. The Bruins need to change something, and it will by all accounts be an effort to help the much-maligned power play.
Here's to hoping for better power play next season.