With the NHL trade deadline less than three weeks away (Mar. 21), the Boston Bruins will likely be looking for upgrades throughout the lineup to bolster a roster for another hopeful deep playoff run.
Finding a second-line center and/or another defenseman appears to make the most sense for general manager Don Sweeney as Patrice Bergeron’s unknown future and Boston’s defensive depth chart almost always seems to shrink in the postseason.
Sweeney made his first move of the trade deadline period on Feb. 22, acquiring the rights to Providence College captain Michael Callahan from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2024 seventh-round pick. The transaction isn’t necessarily anything to write home about. Still, the move could prove beneficial down the line as Callahan — a Franklin native — has been a solid defenseman for Nate Leaman’s squad the past four seasons.
With that in mind, here’s a list of five intriguing trade deadline targets for the Bruins.
Tomas Hertl (Center, San Jose Sharks)
If acquiring a second-line center is more of a priority for Sweeney, Hertl is the guy to get.
The 28-year-old is in the midst of a career season with the Sharks (on pace for 33 goals) and carries a manageable $5.625 million cap hit. The Czech-born centerman has some size as well at 6-foot-2, 215-pounds.
Hertl, a pending UFA, could very well walk in the off-season. But the Bruins could receive Hertl at a lower price given his potential rental status.
The Sharks have voiced their desire to retain Hertl. But Hertl hasn’t definitively expressed the same desire to stay, which could leave San Jose no choice but to deal their 17th overall selection from 2012 in order to receive assets in return.
The Bruins would almost certainly have to part ways with a first-round pick, a top prospect and a roster player for Hertl.
Hampus Lindholm (Defense, Anaheim Ducks)
Lindholm is a particularly attractive option for the B’s for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the 28-year-old would seemingly solidify the Bruins’ top d-pair alongside Charlie McAvoy. The sixth-overall pick of the 2012 Draft has manned the Ducks blueline the past eight seasons and has averaged at least 20 minutes a night since his sophomore season.
Lindholm would also bring more size to Boston’s backend at 6-foot-3 and 208-pounds. The Swede would instantly slot in as the B’s second biggest left-shot defender, behind Derek Forbort.
Lindholm’s career-high in points came back in 2014-15 with 34 and has since hovered around the 20-point mark in each season that has followed.
Should the Ducks decide to move Lindholm, the Bruins would likely have to move one of Urho Vaakainainen, Jakub Zboril, or Mike Reilly to make room on the left side.
J.T. Miller (Center/Wing, Vancouver Canucks)
Although rumors have cooled of late around the Canucks forward, Miller’s name has popped up frequently in relation to potential Bruins targets.
The 2011 first-round selection of the New York Rangers has performed well well for a retooling Vancouver team with 60 points in 53 games this year. Originally from Ohio, Miller is a more versatile option than Hertl as he can play both center and the wing.
With his contract set to expire after next season, the Bruins would have more control over Miller’s future if they acquired him. Similar to Hertl, Miller’s cap hit stands at $5.25 million.
It’s unclear if the Canucks will move Miller or try and build around him, but the three-time 20-plus goal scorer would unquestionably help solidify Boston’s top-six.
The Bruins would likely have to compile a similar package for Miller as they would for Hertl.
Damon Severson (Defense, New Jersey Devils)
Because of the carousel of left-shot defensemen, the Bruins may opt to add a righty instead, and Severson could be a nice pickup.
The Canadian-born blueliner compiled at least 30 points in four of the last six seasons and has been a stable presence on D for a New Jersey team that has shuffled a fair amount of bodies back there in recent years.
Currently serving as an alternate captain, the rearguard has a $4.16 cap hit through next season.
The Devils will likely enter the trade deadline as sellers, given that they’re 22 points out of a playoff spot. The Bruins may not have to give up all that much to acquire Severson. A defenseman, a second-round draft pick and maybe another asset could be enough to get the deal done.
Sweeney has a recent trade deadline history with the Devils after snatching Marcus Johansson in 2019 for a pair of picks.
Speaking of Johannson, the ex-Bruins current teammate out in Seattle completes our list of intriguing names to keep an eye on.
Jarnkrok is quietly putting together a solid season for a bad Kraken team with 22 points (10 goals) in 43 games.
Perhaps Jarnkrok’s most appealing trait is his ability to play any position up front. If the B’s end up sending Jake DeBrusk out the door, Jarnkrok could fill that hole on the wing or slot in at center if anyone’s game starts to dip.
Acquiring Jarnkrok would feel similar to the Ondrej Kase trade in the sense that the Bruins would hope to keep him around for the next few seasons, injuries notwithstanding.
Currently making $2 million, adding the 30-year-old forward wouldn’t require much cap gymnastics on Boston’s part. Acquiring Jarnkrok would likely only cost a draft pick. Given the low-risk, high reward potential, the B’s would be wise to check in on the former Nashville Predator.
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