Its that time of year where transactions, rumors and speculation run wild. That time period is known as the National Hockey League’s Trade Deadline.
The first domino fell on Friday when Ryan Miller and Steve Ott were dealt from the Buffalo Sabres to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier and two draft picks – a first rounder in 2015 and a third rounder in 2016. This is the same Blues team that could very well face the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final, and, as strong as they are, they got even stronger in the uber tight Western Conference with this deal.
So, with that deal, pundits would think that teams in the West would look to improve, right? Well it looks like one team is making some headwaves to do just that.
The Anaheim Ducks, who are the top team out west, have been maneuvering their way to some trades throughout the day on Tuesday, starting first with dealing Dustin Penner to Washington and Viktor Fasth to Edmonton. With more space to work with, the Ducks made another deal with the Stars acquiring defenseman Stephane Robidas, who Boston was rumored to have an interest in during the past 24 hours.
So with one name off the list, General Manager Peter Chiarelli should have some other options, right? Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, but it looks like the 35-year old veteran is close to signing an extension with Ottawa according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch:
The Senators and Chris Phillips have moved closer on term. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) March 4, 2014
With two names off the list, the Bruins options are starting to thin out little by little. But there are still some names that Chiarelli could acquire, most notably Ron Hainsey of the Hurricanes. The Carolina defenseman has a friendly $2 million cap hit on the final year of his contract (via Capgeek).
Don’t forget, the B’s have sent scouts to see the Blue Jackets in the last few games, so there could be something brewing on that front. Nikita Nikitin is a name being thrown around, and is a left handed shot, which is something the B’s are reportedly looking for on the blue-line. But his less than stellar performance for Team Russia during the Winter Olympics could very well make Chiarelli say thanks, but no thanks to the 27-year old blueliner, who has 15 points on the season to go along with a plus-6.
And then there’s names like Thomas Vanek and Marian Gaborik that are being thrown around. While Gaborik wouldn’t be the best fit due to his well documented history with the injury bug, Vanek has been a Bruins killer his entire career, and on pace for yet another 30-goal season. But its hard to see where Vanek would fit in this lineup, especially given the B’s depth in all four lines.
With Dan Girardi re-signing with the Rangers last week, and Andrew McDonald going to Philly, Chiarelli’s options are getting thinner. One last option could be Andrej Meszaros of the Flyers, who is also a left handed shot. But would the Bruins be willing to part with a second round pick for his services?
Much more remains to be seen as we are less than 24 hours away from the deadline. But with the dominos starting to fall, it looks like Chiarelli and company will need to get to work sooner, rather than later.