Bruins

Sources: Bruins have trade interest in Oil winger Maroon

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Sources: Bruins have trade interest in Oil winger Maroon

BOSTON – The wheels are beginning to be set in motion for the conversations, negotiations and game-playing that will lead up to the NHL trade deadline that’s little more than two weeks away, and the Bruins are absolutely in the mix.

The Bruins are eyeing a number of options on the wing with a real deep pool of talent expected to be available leading up to Feb. 26, and have had a longstanding desire to acquire a frontline left shot defenseman as well. The B’s have keen interest in Edmonton Oilers power forward Patrick Maroon, per multiple hockey sources, and it’s clear at this point the Oil are going to be a seller leading up to the deadline with their power forward as one of the big trade pieces.

Edmonton VP of hockey operations Craig MacTavish was in Boston last night at the Bruins/Sabres game to get a look at Boston’s NHL group, and word is that Bruins executive director of player personnel John Ferguson has been scouting Edmonton for each of the last couple of games. Add all of that up and it sounds like a deal may be brewing between the Bruins and the Oilers, a notion that might not have seemed possible three years ago when the Bruins President Cam Neely fired current Edmonton general manager Peter Chiarelli.

It would appear things have thawed to the point now where Edmonton and Boston would do a deal if it makes sense for both sides. In this case Maroon would be a good fit for a Bruins team looking for some veteran help on the wing, and the Oilers looking to stock up on young forwards and draft picks during a frustrating, lost season.   

The 29-year-old Maroon has 13 goals and 27 points in 52 games this season, and would be a straight rental for the Black and Gold as he’s set to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the season. For a Bruins team that’s pretty young and fairly small on the wing this season, the 6-foot-3, 227-pounder has the ability to put the puck in the net and also play the kind of snarling, strong that the B’s could always use a little more of up front.

Certainly David Backes has brought some of that as well as a third line power forward on the right side, but he’s really the only B’s player among the top-3 forward lines that’s ever going to protect his teammates or throw any board-rattling hits. Maroon would be a guy that could do that as well and has been a prime time Bruins killer potting six goals against the Black and Gold in his last three games played against them.  

Maroon is coming off a career-high 27 goals and 42 points last season with the Oilers, and should be in line to get a pretty good contract this summer if he once again reaches the 20-goal plateau that he’s currently on pace for. While Maroon would be a solid rental acquisition for the Bruins, the expectation is that it wouldn’t cost the Bruins any of their top young players or even a first round pick in order to land the player.

The Bruins are taking a pretty open-minded approach to the deadline. They’re more than willing to improve their team, but they also rightfully don’t want to mess too much with a hockey club that’s been the best team in the NHL over the last three months.

“We can always get better. That’s essentially up to Donnie [Sweeney] to decide what’s available and what’s not, but there’s always going to be areas of improvement,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “I’m happy with our club. I love our guys’ togetherness and the fact that they pull for one another. We’ve won a lot of hockey games with some different guys in and out of the lineup.

“We’ll probably get a little bit more of a test as the degree of difficulty goes up on the schedule. We can better assess [potential trade needs]. The long and short of it is ‘I love my team. I love the way they compete. And you can always get better.”

In that regard, Bruins GM Don Sweeney is in a pretty good spot with a B’s team looking dominant this season before they even consider any trade upgrades, and with a plethora of trade options on the wing that includes Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Evander Kane. That should keep the acquisition costs down for any of these players, including a guy like Maroon that the Bruins are clearly keeping tabs on right now.

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Morning Skate: Poignant pregame moment in Florida from Luongo

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Morning Skate: Poignant pregame moment in Florida from Luongo

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while the Olympic Men’s Hockey tournament has been turned upside down.

*Good on Roberto Luongo for this moving, powerful speech about the Parkland, Florida tragedy ahead of last night’s Florida Panthers game.

*Former Bruins goaltending farmhand Michael Hutchinson is looking for a change of scenery from the Winnipeg Jets.

*The tide seems to be turning when it comes to whether or not Erik Karlsson will be traded, and perhaps it will happen sooner than people think as the Senators are in a tough, tough spot.

*Interesting piece about the confidence and the work that has gone into Mathew Barzal being an NHL success story as a rookie.

*For something completely different: Quincy Jones is sorry, everybody, after his daughters had an “intervention” with him.

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Haggerty: If Iginla returns to B's, it's because they struck out elsewhere

Haggerty: If Iginla returns to B's, it's because they struck out elsewhere

Future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla has been skating with the Providence Bruins this week as he thinks about an NHL comeback at 40. Iginla looked like he was pretty close to the end (just 14 goals in 80 games and a minus-30 rating) while playing for the Colorado Avalanche and L.A. Kings last season and it’s clear at this point he’s probably not even the player he was in his one-year stint with the Bruins in 2013-14.

The official word from Don Sweeney is that the Bruins are doing Iginla a solid by letting him work out with the P-Bruins this week and Iginla would need to sign with a team by Monday in order to be eligible for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Could Iginla be an option for the Bruins even though it doesn’t seem likely?

In a word, maybe...but it would only mean that Don Sweeney struck out on everything available going into the Monday afternoon trade deadline.

Michael Grabner is off the board after being traded from the New York Rangers to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a prospect and a second-round pick and that sets a pretty strong market for sellers in the rental winger market this weekend. Still, the Bruins are interested in Rick Nash, Thomas Vanek and Patrick Maroon at the top of their trade wish list, but realistically are probably only going to be willing to pay the price for Vanek or Maroon.

Rangers GM Jeff Gorton is looking for two prospects, including one “A” prospect, and a first-round pick in exchange for Nash, who is clearly the top hired gun on the winger market. Even beyond those names, there is Evander Kane and Mike Hoffman and a host of others that should be moved ahead of Monday afternoon.

There’s also this with Iginla: If the Bruins were a second round-and-out playoff team when Iginla was much closer to his prime four years ago, what would the 40-year-old really be able to bring them this time around? It would be something of a cool rallying cry for the playoffs to “Win One for Iggy”, but this is about players that can actually help the Bruins in this spring’s playoff run. With all due respect to Iginla, he ranks fairly low on that list right now but could be a “safety school” option for the Bruins if they come away empty-handed with trades.  

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