July 3rd, 2017 by

Once again, Brandon Carlo the subject of Avalanche rumors

Once again, Brandon Carlo the subject of Avalanche rumors

Remember the time prior to this year’s trade deadline where the Bruins were rumored to be interested in acquiring Gabriel Landeskog from the Colorado Avalanche? Well, it turned out that that he stayed put as Colorado struggled to a last place finish in the Western Conference.

The same Avalanche team that Landeskog captains is in the process of another rebuild in the Rocky Mountains. As a result veterans like Landeskog and Matt Duchene – another name thrown out in trade rumors – are being shopped by general manager and Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Sakic in hopes of getting prospects or draft picks in return.

With Duchene rumors heating up in the days following the first day of free agency, another Bruin is back in the subject of trade chatter, much like he was when the Landeskog rumors heated up last winter.

Once again, the Bruins shouldn’t bother with the Avs in regards to their reported pursuit of Brandon Carlo. The latest tidbit came from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, who reported that the Blue Jackets are also interested in acquiring Duchene.

There’s a good reason for Sakic to ask about Carlo. Aside from certain ebbs and flows of being a rookie, the Colorado Springs born blueliner proved to be a reliable counterpart to Zdeno Chara in Year 1. With the emergence of Charlie McAvoy in the playoffs – slotting in for the injured Carlo alongside the Bruins captain – Sakic may very well think that Carlo (16 points in 82 regular season games in 2016-17) could be available with the former BU Terrier likely staying put as a top-pairing right shot defenseman on opening night.

From Don Sweeney’s perspective, however, Carlo should remain in the Bruins’ plans. Having Carlo and McAvoy anchoring the right side on the top two defensive pairs in future years sounds pretty enticing around The Hub of Hockey. Both are not proven products by any means, but in a pipeline that has a quite a few left shot defensemen, including Rob O’Gara, Matt Grzeclyk, Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril (to name a few), the last thing Sweeney needs to do is trade away a good potential shutdown prospect like Carlo and lose future depth on the right side.

Looking at Duchene’s track record, there’s no question that his numbers have been up and down during his first eight seasons in Denver. Whether its the drop from a career-high 70 points in 2013-14 (in 71 games) to 55 in 2014-15 (in all 82 games) or his fall from a career-high 30 goals in 2015-16 to just 18 last season, Duchene is still looking for a little consistency on the stat sheet.

Despite that, Duchene’s versatility to play both at center and wing he could be a good fit with David Krejci on the Bruins’ second line. Still, at 26 and at $6 million a year for the next two seasons, any transaction would come at a risk, especially if he walks after his contract expires.

At $13 million in current salary cap space, the Bruins are still in pretty good shape as they negotiate with their RFA’s, most notably David Pastrnak. The Bruins will likely have $6-7 million in cap space left whenever they resign Pastrnak. Other RFA’s, like Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, would likely put the Bruins between $1 and $3 million in cap space if Sweeney decides to keep them aboard for another season.

For what might amount to a short-term fix, the Bruins would be wise to replay the Landeskog scenario back around the trade deadline. Again, they should say thanks, but no thanks, to another member of the Avs core and keep the 20-year-old Carlo as he hopes to add more tools to his repetroie in Year 2.

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