NHL Rumors: Devils' Kyle Palmieri would be great fit for Bruins if he ends up moving

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NHL Rumors: Devils' Kyle Palmieri would be great fit for Bruins if he ends up moving

There are a number of Bruins trade targets at the forward position who will be discussed ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline, and some have a higher probability of moving than others.

There’s a solid likelihood that Chris Kreider eventually gets moved, and names like Tyler Toffoli and Andreas Athanasiou feel like players who will definitely move on from their respective last place teams before everything is said and done at the deadline.

One player of interest who may or may not be moved at the trade deadline is New Jersey Devils right winger Kyle Palmieri, a player with term who's signed for $4.65 million next season and leads the Devils with 37 points in 50 games while ranking second on the team with 20 goals this season.

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He’s arguably the most effective Devils player on their roster and that means moving him would have immediate catastrophic results for New Jersey.

The 29-year-old is on pace for 30 goals and close to 60 points this season and has topped 25 goals and 50 points in three of the four seasons he’s spent with the Devils since getting shipped out of Anaheim. Palmieri isn’t the big, physical winger that the Bruins really need at 5-foot-11, 185-pounds, but he’s productive while playing on a right side where the Bruins really need to acquire more high-end depth over the foreseeable future.

Palmieri also has 38 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience despite now playing for a dreadful New Jersey team, so he’s a proven commodity in a postseason where the Bruins will need whomever they acquire to step up this spring.

The big question on Palmieri is whether or not the Devils will trade their leading scorer given the lack of established, entrenched leadership at the top of New Jersey’s hockey operations.

Former Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald holds the title of interim GM after Ray Shero left the organization in the middle of the season following the Taylor Hall deal, and bold moves involving the team’s best players really aren’t the norm for a general manager until that interim tag goes away.  

The other big question is what kind of cost there would be for a player like Palmieri who's been an outstanding producer since arriving in New Jersey. Given that he’s a productive player with term on a pretty affordable contract, the cost would start with a first round pick and a young cost-controlled NHL roster player like Anders Bjork, and then undoubtedly involve a high-end prospect like Trent Frederic or Urho Vaakanainen as well.

That’s a costly proposition that the Bruins have really stayed away from since Sweeney took over as head of hockey operations.

It wouldn’t be a simple rental move to make at the deadline, but then again it would also give a more long-term solution to a top-6 issue that the Bruins have been slapping band-aid solutions on since Don Sweeney took over as GM five years ago.

A deal for Palmieri is probably a bit lower in terms of probability than others like Kreider or Toffoli, and there are other players of interest on the New Jersey roster as well like Blake Coleman and Miles Wood who could be decent fits for the Bruins. The 24-year-old Wood is having a down year with just 10 goals and 19 points in 54 games with a minus-14 rating, but he’s a big, physical player with speed whom the Bruins have been intrigued by over the years.

The 28-year-old Coleman is another forward who plays with bite and is in the midst of a career year while leading the Devils with 21 goals this season, and is on pace for 32 goals and 50 points while seeming to always play well against the Bruins. Wood is signed for two more years at $2.75 million while still an RFA at the end of his current contract, and Coleman is signed for one more year at $1.8 million before he hits unrestricted free agency.

So neither of those players would come cheaply, but they are also on a Devils team that should be ripping everything down to the studs on the current NHL roster and building up around Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Wil Butcher on the back end.

The bottom line for the Bruins when it comes to Palmieri? There are a number of potential trade candidates on the Devils roster that the Bruins would, and should, have interest in and the Bruins have already done business with New Jersey as recently as last season when they dealt for Marcus Johansson at the trade deadline.

Perhaps history will strike twice and the Bruins will go against the grain to make a deal with a Devils team that’s strictly in a rebuilding mode after dealing away Taylor Hall in the middle of a lost season.

Bruins' Zdeno Chara spills the tea on Tuukka Rask's 'awful' farting issue

Bruins' Zdeno Chara spills the tea on Tuukka Rask's 'awful' farting issue

Zdeno Chara was probably not the Vegas favorite to give the funniest and most entertaining answer of an Atlantic Division Zoom conference call with NHL reporters, but that’s exactly what happened on Monday afternoon.

Chara, Dylan Larkin, John Tavares and Brady Tkachuk answered questions online for 30-plus minutes and the Bruins captain saved his best material when asked which teammate he’d least like to be quarantined with.

His choice was Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and the reasons behind it were pungently amazing.

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Apparently, Rask has an issue in the fart department and it’s chronic enough that his longtime Bruins teammate would not want to be anywhere near him for the stinky aftermath of his beloved chicken wings.

“I have to say Tuukka Rask. The way he farts? The smell is awful,” said Chara. “He likes his chicken wings. And after the chicken wings I’ve had to sit behind him on the bus. I’ve got to tell you. I’ve got to control myself sometimes.” 

How this farting issue remained a well-kept secret within the Bruins locker room over the years is nothing short of amazing. 

Rask has been a regular at Buff’s Pub in Newton over the years while living in the suburban city, so none of this should be surprising information when it comes to Boston’s No. 1 goaltender.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chara singled out Charlie Coyle and Kevan Miller as teammates he enjoys spending time with and guys he wouldn’t mind being quarantined with if he had his choice.

On a more serious note, Chara, who mentioned during the call that he drove to Florida a couple of weeks ago with his family to live in their gated community property, mentioned several times that hockey is secondary right now while the entire world is going through the “strange times” of a global coronavirus outbreak, and thanked the medical personnel, first responders and food delivery people who continue to do their duty under very dangerous, trying conditions. 

Bruins' David Pastrnak gets wistful in tweet about missing hockey

Bruins' David Pastrnak gets wistful in tweet about missing hockey

There’s no doubt it’s hurting hockey fans to not have the NHL as a welcome distraction from the global coronavirus pandemic currently ripping through North America.

But there’s also little question it pains those involved in the NHL even more to not have hockey at a time of year when teams are finishing up the regular season, and gearing up for the best time of year in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Bruins hotshot right wing David Pastrnak sent out a tweet over the weekend that was simple and short with its actual words, but truly conveyed exactly the kind of heartbroken emptiness that the 23-year-old is feeling while house-bound amidst what was the best season of his excellent NHL career.

“Haven’t done the thing for a while…” wrote a wistful Pastrnak without any need to elaborate that he was talking about playing hockey and scoring goals.

For young, single NHL players like the happy, go-lucky Pastrnak this period of time has to be particularly difficult with no immediate family to keep their minds off just how much they are missing hockey in their lives.

Pastrnak was approaching both 50 goals and 100 points for the first time in his NHL career (48 goals and 95 points in 70 games) and was destined to be a Hart Trophy finalist when the NHL regular season was suspended nearly three weeks ago. It feels like hoping for more regular season games is more fantasy than reality at this point, but hockey players like Pastrnak are still clinging to the hope that there will still be some kind of hockey playoffs when some sense of normalcy hopefully returns months from now.

The good news is that guys like Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk are doing something good with their downtime as they played on a Fortnite tournament over the weekend to raise money for the COVID-19 Solidarity Relief Fund for the WHO (World Health Organization).

NHL players are still currently in quarantine after a handful of them tested positive for the coronavirus over the last week, most notably in Colorado and Ottawa, but at least the league is beginning to host video conference calls between players and the media to make certain that fans can still keep an eye on what their favorite players are up to these days.