As part of our preview heading into the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, we've asked Joe McDonald and James Murphy to answer nine big questions (one per day) facing the Boston Bruins. Here's our Day 7 question:
Will the Bruins make any big in-season moves? If so, any ideas on players they might target (and players they might trade)?
Joe McDonald: Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli likes his current roster and I would be surprised if he makes any changes during the shortened season.
There’s been little change since the team won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and the core is still young. Plus, there’s plenty of depth in the organization if the Bruins need help from Providence on an emergency basis. If the Bruins can remain healthy, they’re built with four strong lines, a solid defensive unit and good goaltending.
If Chiarelli does make any sort of deal during the season, maybe he’ll move a player like forward Jordan Caron, who has played in Providence during the lockout but is currently sideline with an upper-body injury. That scenario could work itself out, especially if Chris Bourque fits well on the Bruins’ third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.
There’s been speculation that the Bruins would consider moving top forward David Krejci, but that’s another scenario that’s unlikely, especially given his upside in a shortened season. It’s also a long shot that Chiarelli trades suspended goaltender Tim Thomas at the April 3 deadline.
Plan on the Bruins keeping the current roster largely instact for what remains of the 2012-2013 season.
James Murphy: While I think the Bruins are a very solid team heading into this shortened season, I do believe if a deal is there to improve his team for the playoffs, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli won't hesitate to pull the trigger. He has proven in the past -- as he did acquiring Tomas Kaberle, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly for the 2011 Stanley Cup run -- that he is not afraid to go into win now mode. With the ability to gain an extra $4 million against the $70.2 million cap by placing Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve, Chiarelli could have some money to play with. If (and this is a big if) he is able to entice a team to take Tim Thomas by sprinkling in some draft picks, Chiarelli will gain another $5 million. That's at least $4 million and possibly $9 million to play with come trade deadline time in April.
As for who the Bruins may target, the names Bobby Ryan and Keith Yandle have been regulars on the rumor circuit and the Bruins always seem to be interested. Of course David Krejci has always been mentioned as trade bait for either of those players because Anaheim and Phoenix could use another center. While I don't doubt that Ryan and Yandle are on the Bruins' radar and believe that Krejci's cap friendly $5.2 million hit per season for the next three seasons would be attractive, the question is do Phoenix and Anaheim really want to trade star players like Ryan and Yandle? I tend to think Yandle is more likely since Phoenix is so deep in young blue line talent, but getting Yandle might take even more than Krejci,
One name -- and it may not be for Yandle or Ryan -- that keeps popping up when I talk to scouts around the league as possibly being available is Milan Lucic. However, Lucic recently signed a three-year extension for $6 million per season that starts in 2014, which might be hard to sell in the trade market. I'd also keep an eye on Andrew Ference as trade bait as his contract is up next season. I wonder with his heavy involvement in CBA talks and the NHLPA if Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs may not want to throw more money at him.