Bruins

Haggerty: Could trade talks be cooking between the B's and Oilers?

Haggerty: Could trade talks be cooking between the B's and Oilers?

With the Stanley Cup Final soon to be over, trade talks will be kicking up across the NHL very soon with free agency just a few weeks away. 

The Boston Bruins will be no different given some of the improvements that clearly need to be made after a second-round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs, an exit that highlighted areas of the B’s roster that need to be better. It will be perhaps too much of a challenge for B’s general manager Don Sweeney to accomplish everything on the “to do” list and uncover both a second line right wing sniper and a top-4, left-shot defenseman over the next few months.

Clearly the D-man is the priority given that Zdeno Chara is going to be 42 years old next season, and it is now two postseasons in a row where the smaller Krug has suffered a serious injury that knocked him out of the playoffs.  

Sweeney said during last week’s NHL scouting combine that he thinks trade activity is going to pick up around the draft in a couple of weeks, and that gives him plenty of time to either lay new groundwork or revisit talks from the past. 

“There’s a sense that there will be some activity. I think in around the draft, there are several teams with multiple picks, say in the top 50, so I think there will be some jockeying. There are some teams that have made some coaching changes. I think there’s opportunity to explore player transactions at this time,” said Sweeney. “Everybody is sort of anticipating what the cap and how much it’s going to go up, and whether that will dramatically affect anybody’s decision making. There’s some big numbers and some players that teams are going to look to sign that could impact. 

“We’ve got players that we may look at our earlier stage, so those all could be impactful things and decision in planning of your own player movement, plus outside player movement…but there has been some chatter.”

There are potential trade partners out there in teams looking for fresh starts, different directions or a shakeup to the personnel. The most obvious target is Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin given that he’s a Massachusetts kid, and given that the Bruins tried to trade up in the first round of the 2015 draft in order to pick him. There would be a significant cost for a young player like that, of course, and the Canes might not be the best match with the Bruins in terms of moveable pieces involved with a possible trade. 

But how about the Edmonton Oilers and old friend Peter Chiarelli as a trade partner with the Boston Bruins? 

Oilers radio play-by-play man Bob Stauffer had an interesting tweet on Wednesday indicating that the Edmonton wasn’t going to deal their No. 10 pick in the first round. Instead, they could be shopping for a “different ingredient” for their NHL roster while also willing to deal a veteran player with term on their contract. Given some of the talent on the Edmonton roster, that’s something that should pique the interest of the Black and Gold. 

Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom would be at the top of the list of available Edmonton players that fit the criteria Stauffer mentioned, and the 24-year-old would definitely fit Boston’s longstanding need on the back end. Sure he had a down season with five goals and 21 points in 66 games along with a minus-12 rating, but he still was an absolute horse with 22:51 of ice time per game at an ideal 6-foot-3, 220-pound size. Klefbom is also just a single year removed from 12 goals and 38 points while playing in all 82 games, and clearly he has the pedigree as a former first-round pick. There’s also the fact that he’s signed for four more years at just $4.167 million, and would become a major salary cap bargain if he can bounce back and continue to be a reliable top-4 D-man. 

Even more intriguingly, the Oilers are also desperately looking for a power play quarterback and the Bruins just so happen to have one of those in 27-year-old Torey Krug. Krug is at the apex of his value around the league after amassing a whopping 110 points over the last two seasons, and his QB skills on Boston’s top power-play unit have a key part of the B’s special teams’ success. But the Bruins have a budding, young power play QB in Charlie McAvoy ready to take on more responsibility, and they have a young, small left shot puck-moving D-man in Matt Grzelcyk that brings some Krug-like qualities to the table minus some of the high-end offensive finish. 

So there is definitely a plausible scenario where Klefbom and Krug could be at the center of a potential deal between the Bruins and the Oilers if Chiarelli and Sweeney are willing to make a deal. Would it be a 1-for-1 swap of defensemen for defensemen? It probably would not as Chiarelli and Edmonton assistant GM Keith Gretzky have plenty of inside knowledge on many of the young prospects still flowing through the Bruins system, and it would be good business to try to recoup one of them given Klefbom’s relative youth and significant contract term.    

It remains to be seen which scenarios will truly gain steam for the Bruins as the hockey calendar heads toward NHL draft weekend in Dallas, but the situation in Edmonton bears watching for all the Bruins fans out there.

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David Krejci a 'game-time decision' for Bruins after missing last two games

David Krejci a 'game-time decision' for Bruins after missing last two games

BRIGHTON, Mass. — David Krejci has missed the last couple of games with an upper body injury believed to be a back issue, but he may return on Tuesday night ahead of a long NHL All-Star break and bye week for the Boston Bruins.

Krejci made it through Tuesday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena after skating with a no-contact sweater on Monday, and said he was feeling a lot better headed into tonight’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights at TD Garden.

Bruce Cassidy termed Krejci “a game-time decision” after missing the last week of action following the injury suffered in last week’s loss to Columbus on the road.

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It may come down to whether it would be of greater benefit for Krejci to maximize the rest he’s giving himself by taking the full 17 days in between the game he last played and when things start up again in Winnipeg on Friday, Jan. 31.

“I felt good yesterday and I felt good today. I’m pretty happy about that. I’ve got to talk to the [medical staff] and see what’s best” said Krejci. “[The break] couldn’t come at a better time and I’m looking forward to it. But obviously there’s one more game tonight and we’ve got to get that done.

“Obviously I want to play as soon as I can play. The break is for sure going to help, so we’ll see how the conversation [about playing tonight] is going to go.”

Certainly the Bruins could use all hands on deck on Tuesday night with the Tampa Bay Lightning just six points behind the B’s in the Atlantic Division, and a streaking Florida Panthers team also closing to within 10 points in recent days.

In other lineup news, rookie Jeremy Lauzon will be inserted into the lineup in place of John Moore on Boston’s bottom defense pairing given some of the bottom pair struggles as of late. The Bruins will also postpone tonight’s celebration of Jaroslav Halak getting to his 500th career NHL games so as not to distract the backup netminder from his start against the Golden Knights.

Here is the Bruins projected line combos and D-pairings against the Golden Knights based on morning skate:

PROJECTED LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Anders Bjork
Danton Heinen Charlie Coyle Karson Kuhlman
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon

STARTING GOALIE

Jaroslav Halak

Bruins send Steven Kampfer to Providence, call up rugged Jeremy Lauzon 

jeremy-lauzon-bruins.jpg
File photo

Bruins send Steven Kampfer to Providence, call up rugged Jeremy Lauzon 

The Bruins decided after a disappointing loss to Pittsburgh to add a little toughness to their back end, and they didn’t waste any time ahead of their final game before a 10-day break over NHL All-Star Weekend and the bye week.

The Bruins have called up rugged, young D-man Jeremy Lauzon from Providence and assigned Steven Kampfer back to the P-Bruins after once again ably handling duties as a spare seventh D-man over the last few weeks.

The 22-year-old Lauzon has one goal and 13 points along with a plus-18 rating in 43 games for the P-Bruins this season after making his NHL debut in Boston last year, and the 6-foot-1, 205-pound player has continued his style as a strong, hard-to-play-against defenseman that the B’s are currently missing a little bit of with both Kevan Miller (kneecap) and Connor Clifton (upper body injury) unavailable for the time being.

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The one area where Lauzon has been lacking is in the puck-moving and decision-making department, but it appears that’s one place where he’s made some leaps and bounds in his third pro season in Providence.

Bruce Cassidy mentioned over the weekend that Clifton will be out until mid-February with his injury and Miller has just begun small sessions of skating on his own after a number of setbacks while attempting to return from a couple serious kneecap fractures.

The B’s head coach was also openly critical of the “gifts” that his defensemen were giving up in Sunday’s loss to the Penguins when both Charlie McAvoy and John Moore had soft plays around the Boston net that led directly to Pittsburgh goals while the B’s blew a three-goal lead once again.