The Boston Bruins have been linked to several different left-shot defensemen in trade rumors over the last few weeks, most notably Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes and Vladislav Gavrikov of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported Tuesday that the Bruins and Blue Jackets have a "framework" of a deal in place for Gavrikov but Boston must first clear some salary cap space.
It's been two days since that report and the Bruins haven't made any moves. What other left defensemen options are available to them?
Jake McCabe of the Chicago Blackhawks is one player worth monitoring.
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In fact, Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli wrote Thursday that the "The Leafs, Oilers, Penguins, Bruins and Kings were among the teams interested" in McCabe, while adding "There may well be others."
McCabe has tallied 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 54 games for the Blackhawks. He's four points away from setting a new career high in scoring for a single season. McCabe is averaging 19:31 of ice time and has played well defensively despite getting tough defensive assignments for a Blackhawks team that's been near the bottom of the league standings most of the season. He also has played a prominent role on Chicago's penalty kill with 2:00 of shorthanded ice time per game. The 29-year-old veteran could play a top-four role but would be better suited as a third-pairing option in Boston given the depth/strength of its blue line.
McCabe also wouldn't be a rental. He is signed through the 2024-25 season with a $ 4 million salary cap hit. It's not a massive number by any means, but the Bruins aren't really in a position to take in much salary right now. They are tight against the cap and still need to sign right wing David Pastrnak (UFA) and backup goalie Jeremy Swayman (RFA), among other players, this summer.
If the Blackhawks retained a portion of McCabe's salary, that would be a great scenario for the B's. It also could make the cost to acquire the veteran d-man higher.
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What would it take to acquire McCabe? Pierre LeBrun wrote in The Athletic's trade board on Feb. 11 that "The asking price is a first-round pick, according to multiple league sources."
That's not a cheap price, but if the Bruins are determined to add a defenseman capable of playing top-four minutes if needed -- whether it's Chychryn, Gavrikov, McCabe or someone else -- they might have to pay a first-rounder.
McCabe would be a good backup plan for the Bruins if they are unable to land Chychrun or Gavrikov. Either way, the Bruins should prioritize bolstering their blue line depth for the playoffs. You can never have enough quality defensemen in the spring.