With trade rumors and pressure mounting, Sweeney must not panic
We’ve come to a point of the season where all options need to be on the table for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. Those options are in the forms of everything from acquiring a key piece to get over the hump and back into the playoffs to potentially giving Claude Julien his walking papers in the middle of the year.
Since Jeremy Jacobs put a mandate on not only advancing to the postseason but also making a run, the pressure has been mounting within the organization. That pressure has grown significantly over the course of the season and is arguably at its highest point so far following the embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Islanders on Monday.
Entering tonight’s game in Detroit, the Bruins sit one point ahead of the Maple Leafs and Senators for second place in the Atlantic Division. Both teams will have six games in hand following the Black and Gold’s final regular season trip to the historic Joe Louis Arena.
It’s clear that the Bruins are in need of a spark whether it happens internally with a coaching change or externally via trade. But Sweeney must be careful not to panic in upgrading his team, especially when it involves Brandon Carlo.
With the Bruins in need of top six depth and the Avalanche in sell mode, adding the likes of a Gabriel Landeskog or Matt Duchene are pretty intriguing for Sweeney and company. It will come at a cost, though, including Carlo as Adrian Dater of Bleacher Report tweeted last night.
Word on the street is Brandon Carlo may be back in play. Gonna be interesting how this shakes out
— Adrian Dater (@adater) January 17, 2017
Given the cap hits of Landeskog ($5.5 million over the next four-plus seasons) and Duchene ($6 million until the end of the 2018-19 season), the Bruins would need to shed one or more salaries to accompany one of or even both of the Avs’ talented forwards. Despite having a little over $8.3 million in current cap space, the last thing the B’s need is to be back in a cap bind with a current roster that’s still in flux.
When healthy, Landeskog and Duchene are at least good for at least 20 goals and roughly 50-60 points per season. Even with the Bruins offense slightly improving over the last month, adding either would help balance their top two lines. Adding either would come at a cost.
With the lowly Avs looking for defensive help for future years, trading Carlo – who has hit the proverbial rookie wall of late – or any one of the young blue-line prospects like Jeremy Lauzon, Charlie McAvoy or Jakub Zboril would be tough to swallow, and I doubt the B’s would put McAvoy or Lauzon on the table. This is why a deal including Landeskog, Duchene or Carlo would have to be a mega-deal as tweeted by former Bruins Daily colleague James Murphy.
Can confirm @adater report here. #NHLBruins & an #NHL source told me same. But according to both “had to be knock your socks off deal!” https://t.co/K81t8xBzuD — Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) January 18, 2017
Times are indeed tough in The Hub of Hockey. Additions to the Black and Gold are needed if they want to return to the playoffs. The future of Julien is still a hot topic. Putting future Bruins up for grabs for the sake of a quick fix is the last thing they can afford, however, and adding Carlo to a deal with the Avalanche for Landeskog or Duchene would essentially signal that.
In desperate times, the last thing Sweeney can afford to do is panic. It may ultimately cost him, Julien, Cam Neely and company their futures on Causeway Street.