Acquiring a proven goal scorer before the NHL trade deadline would be an ideal outcome for the Boston Bruins, and one player they reportedly are targeting is New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri.
David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported Tuesday that the Bruins are one of a few teams, including the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, with interest in Palmieri. Pagnotta also notes the B's have interest in Devils defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
Palmieri hasn't scored at his normal rate this season. He's tallied eight goals through 34 games and shooting 9.5 percent -- 3.1 percent below his career average. However, Palmieri entered 2021 having scored 20-plus goals in five consecutive seasons.
The majority of Palmieri's goals are scored at even strength, including six of his eight this season. His 5-on-5 production would be a meaningful upgrade to the Bruins offense, which ranks 29th among 31 teams with 58 goals scored during 5-on-5 action.
Where would Palmieri play in Boston? Right wing next to David Krejci on Boston's second line is the best place. He could also upgrade the third line.
Palmieri is able to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so he's likely a rental option for most teams ahead of the April 12 trade deadline.
Kulikov, 30, would be a top-four defenseman on a Boston blue line that's been hit hard by injuries. Inexperience also is an issue for the Bruins' defensive corps. Kulikov is a physical player who can kill penalties and log tough minutes against opposing top-six forwards. He's also a UFA in the offseason.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has done two pre-deadline trades with the Devils during his tenure in charge.
He acquired veteran winger Lee Stempniak in 2016 for second- and fourth-round draft picks. He gave up the same package in 2019 for veteran forward Marcus Johansson. The Johansson deal proved more effective -- he was a solid bottom-six player on a B's team that came one win short of a Stanley Cup title in 2019.
The Bruins have to do something at the trade deadline to inject much-needed depth into this roster, and Palmieri and/or Kulikov would be solid additions for a playoff run.