The trade deadline a mere two weeks away, and the Boston Bruins hope to have an upgrade in the middle of the lineup to help their chances at another deep postseason run. The likes of Chris Kreider and Tyler Toffoli are just a couple of names on the block that would fit the Bruins’ needs.
Don Sweeney expressed interest in Toffoli and Kreider before this season. But a new name has emerged in the latest discussions.
Sweeney has reportedly set his sights on Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson, which isn’t a big surprise. The fifth-year general manager has targeted big-bodied power forwards like Anderson in the past.
This isn’t necessarily the route Sweeney should go down, though, even with all the flack of their toughness in times. With proven names on the market including Kreider and Toffoli, Sweeney should look at Anderson as a last resort option.
First of all, if the Bruins remain ‘all-in’ on winning the Stanley Cup, their priority should be Kreider or Toffoli. That’s a story for another day.
Anderson showcased growth in his first three seasons helping Columbus solidify a trio of consecutive trips to the postseason. That trend hasn’t continued in 2019-20 as he’s tallied a paltry four points (one goal, three assists) in 26 games. On top of that, he’s been sidelined with a shoulder injury since December.
The Blue Jackets remain unsure of Anderson’s potential return date even though he’s returned to practice recently. Considering this, do the Bruins really want to deal with an injured player who isn’t necessarily up to speed at this point in the season? Most likely, the answer is no. Not to mention Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen probably won’t let Anderson go for a penny as the Blue Jackets are currently in a playoff spot after losing big-name players like Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Anderson isn’t a bad player by any means. Yet, he might not fit Boston’s top-six need even though he’s a year removed from notching career highs in goals (27), assists (20) and points (47).
His struggles this season shouldn’t necessarily scare the Bruins off from Anderson, but they could wait to acquire him until next season when he becomes an RFA.
But again, I can’t stress this enough — Anderson should be a last resort. The marquee big-bodied type transactions haven’t worked out for the Bruins in the past…see David Backes and Milan Lucic in his latter years in Boston. Why give up assets and take a gamble on a rental who may not work out?
Kreider and Toffoli both have a better track record than Anderson. Sweeney has a plethora of prospects in Providence who are NHL ready. That’s not to say that the Bruins should trade Urho Vaakanainen or Jack Studnicka, but rather an indication that Sweeney shouldn’t shy away from using the talented pipeline to land a top name on the trade block.
Quite honestly, though, I don’t know what a guy like Anderson would cost. Yes, he’d be cheaper than Kreider or Toffoli, but it’s not worth it when you can acquire someone better for a bit more.
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