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NHL trade deadline: Analyzing Bruins' best assets to make moves with

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NHL trade deadline: Analyzing Bruins' best assets to make moves with

The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching and the Boston Bruins have yet to make a move.

The Bruins enter Tuesday with the league's best record and one of its deepest rosters. Still, there are a few areas that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney would be wise to upgrade ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and one of them is secondary scoring.

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So, what do the B's have to trade? Here's a look at the team's best trade assets.

NHL PLAYERS

David Backes, C/RW
John Moore, D
Danton Heinen, LW

Backes won't be easy to trade. His injury history should be a concern and he's no longer a productive offensive player. There are several teams with enough salary cap space to absorb's Backes' $6 million salary cap hit for next season, but he does have a modified no-trade clause that allows him to veto deals to 15 teams.

John Moore is a good option for teams who want to upgrade their blue line but aren't looking for a rental. Moore has three more years left on his contract with a manageable $2.75 million cap hit. He's a solid third-pairing defenseman despite his lack of scoring. The Bruins have a few young defensemen who could step into Moore's role if he was dealt.

Danton Heinen hasn't played particularly well this season, but he's signed through next season at a reasonable $2.8 million cap hit. Giving up on him at this juncture would be shortsighted.

The Bruins have a really nice roster -- duh, they have the league's best record -- so it doesn't make a ton of sense to trade away many of their NHL players. Torey Krug can be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and while losing a defenseman of his caliber for nothing in July would hurt, there's no way a top championship contender should trade an upcoming UFA like him at the deadline. Same with Jaroslav Halak, who has been one of the league's best backup goaltenders since Boston signed him before the 2018-19 campaign. Halak also is a UFA this summer.

PROSPECTS

Jack Studnicka, C, AHL
Urho Vaakanainen, D, AHL
Jack Beecher, C, Michigan (NCAA)
Curtis Hall, C, Yale (NCAA)
Jakub Lauko, LW, AHL
Trent Frederic, C, AHL
Jakub Zboril, D, AHL
Zach Senyshyn, RW, AHL

The Bruins don't have any elite prospects, but they do have several with impressive potential. Jack Studnicka is the best of the group, although it's hard to imagine the Bruins giving him up without a significant player coming to Boston in return. Studnicka should be ready for an extended look at the NHL level next season. Urho Vaakanainen shows promise at 21 years old, and the Bruins can ill afford to give up on their top defenseman prospect with captain Zdeno Chara in the final stages of his career, and veterans Krug and Kevan Miller eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer. 

Jakub Zboril has not met expectations since the B's drafted him No. 13 in 2015. Jeremy Lauzon's emergence as a legitimate NHL talent could make Zboril expendable. Zboril also is a restricted free agent after this season. Another member of the Bruins' 2015 draft class is forward Zach Senyshyn, who, like Zboril, has yet to make a strong impact in the NHL and will be an RFA at season's end. Senyshyn has just nine points in 33 AHL games, and a fresh start might benefit him.

Frederic is an interesting one because he doesn't project to be a No. 1 or No. 2 center at the NHL level, which was pretty much the consensus when Boston surprisingly drafted him in the first round in 2016. In fairness, he's only 22 years old and has set career highs in goals, assists and points in Providence this season. The Bruins have plenty of center depth in the NHL and throughout their prospect pool, so it wouldn't be a massive hit to trade away one of these forwards.

DRAFT PICKS

The Bruins are in great shape when it comes to owning their own picks. The only selection over the next three drafts that Boston no longer owns is its fourth-round pick in 2020. This draft pick was part of the trade that sent New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson to the Bruins before last season's deadline. So, if selling teams are looking for draft capital on the trade market, the B's should be able to satisfy this need. They have all of their first-, second- and third-round picks to trade.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has done a nice job holding on to his first-round picks at recent trade deadlines. The only instance where he dealt a first-rounder at the trade deadline was in 2018 when the Bruins acquired Rick Nash from the New York Rangers. The trade made sense at the time -- Nash was among the best players available and filled a need -- but injury prevented him from being a reliable top-six player in Boston. Sweeney mostly has parted with second-, third- and fourth-round picks at the deadline. Last season, he traded two fourth-round selections and a second-rounder (plus Ryan Donato) in deals that acquired Charlie Coyle and Johansson.

The window for Boston to win is right now, and maybe the next two years. The team's veteran core is nearing the end of its prime, so if there was a time to trade a first-round pick for an impact forward, it's this season.

All salary information via Cap Friendly

Haggerty: Weekend deals put mounting pressure on Sweeney

Milan Lucic joined Instagram, and Bruins fans will love his first post

Milan Lucic joined Instagram, and Bruins fans will love his first post

Former Bruins forward Milan Lucic officially joined Instagram on Thursday, and Boston fans will absolutely love his first post. 

Although Lucic now plays for the Calgary Flames, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to reminisce on the B's 2011 Stanley Cup championship.

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First post. Let’s have some fun

A post shared by Milan Lucic (@milan.lucic.17) on

Lucic posing with the Stanley Cup is a huge flex, but the big guy definitely did his part during the 2011 playoff run. The Vancouver native tallied 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 25 playoff games playing alongside David Krejci and Nathan Horton, including two goals and an assist in the series against the Canucks.

During his day with the Stanley Cup, Lucic returned to Vancouver for a celebration with family and friends, so we can imagine his first Instagram post is from that day. 

Hopefully he plans on sharing some more photos from 2011 because that championship run was electric. 

Brian Burke reveals what Ducks would've given Bruins for Joe Thornton in 2005

Brian Burke reveals what Ducks would've given Bruins for Joe Thornton in 2005

It appears the Boston Bruins could've received a lot more for Joe Thornton when they dealt him to the San Jose Sharks in 2005, at least according to Brian Burke. 

During a Twitter Q&A session on Thursday Burke, general manager of the Anaheim Ducks at the time Thornton was traded, revealed he was rather frustrated he couldn't pry the future Hall of Famer from Mike O'Connell's clutches. 

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As for what he would've given up for Thornton -- this one may frustrate B's fans. 

O'Connell ended up dealing Thornton to the Sharks for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. The move cleared cap space for the Bruins to later sign Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard, among others, but could what they have received from Anaheim been better?

If the Bruins ended up receiving Anaheim's 2006 first-round draft pick (19th overall), they could've drafted anyone from Claude Giroux who went 22nd overall to the Philadelphia Flyers to Nick Foligno who was drafted 28th overall by the Ottawa Senators. Now, if the first-round pick Burke was willing to give up was indeed a 2006 pick, then the Bruins who drafted Phil Kessel fifth overall that year could've potentially added two stars for the price of one. 

Thinking about that situation alone should make Bruins' fans cringe, but there's more.

Burke noted he would've given up the player who O'Connell ranked as sixth-best on the Ducks roster as well as a prospect. Looking back at that now, the sixth player could've been anyone from Francois Beauchemin to Joffrey Lupul and a prospect could've been the likes of Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry, according to WEEI's Matt Kalman. 

The sixth-best player makes you shake your head because Beauchemin and/or Lupul weren't the greatest, but the first-round pick and possibility of adding Getzlaf or Perry would've been huge for the Bruins. 

If this deal was done in 2020, you'd have to wonder if Don Sweeney would've accepted Burke's offer.