Bruins

Positive news for Kevan Miller as he skates on his own for first time

Positive news for Kevan Miller as he skates on his own for first time

The Bruins got some encouraging health news this week as injured B’s defenseman Kevan Miller was able to skate on his own for 15 minutes Sunday at Warrior Ice Arena while the rest of the team was in Pittsburgh.

The 32-year-old Miller has been out all season while trying to return from two different kneecap injuries suffered last season that kept him out of the entire postseason and limited him to just three games since the beginning of March. Miller underwent a procedure to assist in the healing process last month when he underwent a setback while trying to return earlier this season, so Sunday’s twirl was his first chance to get back on the ice and skate.

For a player that hasn’t played in almost a year now like Miller, any news is good news.

“That’s step one,” said Bruce Cassidy. “That’s a positive.”

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Certainly, it’s good news, but it’s also the very beginning of a recovery process that Miller has already experienced setbacks to a couple of times. Given the normal timetable for players just returning to the ice from an injury, it would be at least 7-10 days before Miller would be anywhere close to returning to game action.

The Bruins will have their All-Star break and bye week over the next 10 days, so it would be at least a few weeks before Miller would be ready to return barring the kind of setbacks that have plagued him since suffering the kneecap injuries.

It remains very much an uphill battle for the rugged D-man in the last year of his contract with the Bruins, but he’s also a tough-minded player that the B’s have absolutely missed during last year’s playoff run and this season. Some of the perceived ability to push these Bruins players around on the ice is because they don’t have the hardnosed 6-foot-2, 210-pound Miller out there to protect his teammates.

Given Zdeno Chara’s age and Charlie McAvoy’s inconsistency this season, Brandon Carlo has ably carried a very heavy load for the Bruins as a big-bodied shutdown defenseman that’s playing big minutes and in all situations for the Black and Gold. Adding Miller to the Bruins group would Carlo some company in the tough guy category and would also limit the amount of ice time they have to give to John Moore, who has been inconsistent for the Black and Gold since returning from shoulder surgery last month.

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Sources: Bruins very much interested in Blue Jackets' Josh Anderson

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USA TODAY Sports

Sources: Bruins very much interested in Blue Jackets' Josh Anderson

The Bruins are going to make an aggressive best pitch for the services of productive Rangers winger Chris Kreider if, or when, he becomes available ahead of next Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

They will not be alone as a highly interested suitor for Kreider, however, and need to be prepared with contingency plans in case the Rangers winger goes elsewhere over the next week. It’s a good thing for the Bruins that there will be other options out there for them.

There isn’t a player exactly like Kreider right now out on the trade market, but Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson might just be the next player on the priority list for the Black and Gold. The Bruins are very much interested in the 25-year-old right winger at the deadline, per sources, even if he has just one goal and four points while being sidelined since December with a shoulder injury suffered during a fight with Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki.

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The injury has taken longer than expected to heal for Anderson after he also suffered a shoulder injury in last spring’s playoff series against the Bruins, so there are red flags there to be sure.  

He’s resumed practicing with the Blue Jackets over the last few weeks and he’ll need to return to the lineup before a team like the Bruins would move on him. But there’s little doubt Anderson checks so many of the boxes if he is indeed healthy.

He’s a natural right wing, he’s 6-foot-3, 220-pounds and scored 27 goals last season while registering over 200 hits and 60 penalty minutes. And that was all before he played like a hard-hitting, physical beast against the Bruins in the second round postseason series a year ago, and left everybody impressed with his playing level and toughness at the most important time of year.

It all comes down to Anderson’s health and whether the Bruins can rely on him to be a top-six power forward-type for the rest of the season after missing time since December. There’s always the chance a lingering shoulder issue could negatively impact Anderson’s tenacity level when he does return, and that would take quite a bit away from his overall effectiveness for a team like the Bruins.

Even though it’s a buy-low proposition with a player in Anderson -- essentially damaged goods for the moment -- one would also expect he isn’t going to come cheap given his size/strength/production combination and his status as a restricted free agent following this season. Anderson could become part of the long term big picture for the Bruins and that kind of value will be baked into the cake for trade offers to Columbus.

The 27 goals and 47 points last season underscore the potential in Anderson’s game, so it wouldn’t be any less than the first-round pick and top prospect package that the Lightning just surrendered for a similar grit forward-type in Blake Coleman. The equivalent package from the Bruins would be a first-round pick and defenseman prospect Urho Vaakanainen, and that’s a pretty hefty price tag indeed.

There will be other forwards like Tyler Toffoli, Ilya Kovalchuk and Sam Bennett who the Bruins may be able to pursue ahead of the deadline, but there isn’t anybody else quite like Anderson available on the trade market. Anderson is a Bruins-type player with the ferocious way he plays and he’d fill multiple needs for the based on both his power game and his potential as a top-6 pick-up for the B’s.

Now it’s about the waiting game for the Bruins to see if Anderson returns to the Columbus lineup this week and shows the Bruins and everybody else around the NHL that he can help them for the rest of this season.

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NHL trade deadline: Ranking top 10 targets for teams to pursue

NHL trade deadline: Ranking top 10 targets for teams to pursue

The 2020 NHL trade deadline is less than a week away, and with many quality players rumored to be available, we could be in store for an exciting period of rumors and completed deals.

There is no clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup, and that means several teams could attempt bold moves ahead of the deadline in order to make the upgrades needed for a deep playoff run. One of those contenders is the Boston Bruins, who lost in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final but look poised to get there again with the league's best record entering Monday. The Bruins should be among the most aggressive buyers, and secondary scoring is their primary need.

Let's look at the top 10 players for teams to target ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Click here for the top 10 NHL trade targets