Are Bruins Searching NHL Trade Market For Right-Shot Defenseman?
Are the Boston Bruins one of a plethora of NHL teams on the NHL trade market searching for help on the right side of their blue line?
On the latest TSN ‘Insider Trading‘ episode, Darren Dreger listed four of the five NHL teams in Canada as being in the hunt for a defenseman on the NHL Trade market.
“Look, there’s a growing list of Canadian teams that are in the market for a defenseman – you know, Chychrun is high-rent and the ask is tremendous, so we’ll see whether the likes of Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton or Vancouver are going to buckle and pay that price or they’ll look elsewhere,” Dreger said.
That prompted yours truly to make a few calls to some NHL executives and scouts on Tuesday and this is what we’ve gathered:
If the price was right, regardless of their massive depth on the left side of their blue line, the Boston Bruins will surely be in on Jakob Chychrun when those NHL trade talks pick up.
“I think depending on their health in the coming weeks or months, [Matt] Grzelcyk or Carlo could be in play for a guy like Chychrun,” one NHL executive told Boston Hockey Now Tuesday. “Can you imagine a left side with – say they don’t trade Grzelcyk – [Hampus] Lindholm, Chychrun and him down the left?”
While that would certainly be a formidable left side, the immediate focus for the Bruins on the NHL trade market, should they decide to explore it, will be to find a stop gap on the right side of their blue line. They beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 with only one natural right-shot defenseman in Connor Clifton, and on Tuesday, despite gaining another right-shot defenseman in Anton Stralman, their defense was an absolute hot mess in a 7-5 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Stralman unfortunately, was a major part of that as he shook off some expected rust.
That pond hockey game that developed on the Canadian Tire Centre ice Tuesday wasn’t exactly a complete surprise considering the Bruins defense that started the season knowing their top right-shot and overall best defenseman, Charlie McAvoy (shoulder), was likely out until December, and was in it’s second straight game without their second-best right rearguard in Brandon Carlo. After all, the Bruins were facing a high-flying Senators offense that added the likes of Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat, and searching for their first win in front of their first sellout since 2017. Honestly, that game was bound to be the closest thing to an OVER a hockey bettor may see this season.
While all of that is true, my partner-in-scribe, Joe Haggerty still wasn’t really overreacting when he suggested there’s likely some more pond hockey in the Bruins’ future:
‘The other part of the equation, though, is the Bruins ranking 22nd in the NHL in defense while allowing 3.75 goals per game. It’s great that they are putting up goals at a pace not seen since the Bobby Orr Bruins of the 1970’s and they are certainly fun to watch right now.
But the Boston Bruins need to tighten things up defensively rather than trust they are going to outscore other teams until the cavalry arrives back from long term injured reserve. It’s still early in the season but that’s something to watch, and be wary of, with a new coaching staff in place that’s put an emphasis on playing fast, offensive hockey that come at the expense of tight defense in games like Tuesday night’s shootout in Ottawa.’
One NHL scout who agreed with this assessment, told BHN, as we’ve reported before, he heard Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was looking for help on the right side heading into the season. Following the loss to the Senators, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery didn’t mince words when asked about the team defense and specifically, how they checked.
“Our checking was, I guess the best word to describe it is atrocious. We were on the wrong side of pucks, we weren’t coming back hard enough, and we left our goalie out to dry,” said Montgomery to NESN postgame. “We didn’t protect the net front.”
Again, it’s one game, but with Carlo’s return up in the air and McAvoy still seeming like December, how ‘atrocious’ will it get before Sweeney hits the NHL trade market for help?