The trade deadline is officially less than a month away! The exact date will be Monday, April 12th, and all transactions will be made before the usual deadline of 3 p.m. ET.
Naturally, this year is a bit special. Trades completed between Canadian and American teams will require the involved players to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.
As such, teams may be looking to wheel and deal a bit earlier than usual to ensure they’re maximizing the number of regular-season games they’re getting from their rentals.
BHN Daily: There should be some urgency for Don Sweeney and the Boston Bruins to make a move well ahead of the NHL trade deadline on April 12 🏒🐻🏆https://t.co/j1hqVsCwm3
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 14, 2021
For the first time in years, the Bruins lack the luxury of incredible defensive depth.
Their backend is still more than adequate, but the offseason losses of Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara continue to sting this franchise – especially since they’ve had to deal with blue line injuries to Matt Grzelcyk, Brandon Carlo, and Kevan Miller.
On the bright side, the B’s are estimated to have around $9.269 million to play with at the deadline, and they’re definitely looking to spend.
One player they’re likely interested in is Mattias Ekholm, although many teams are for obvious reasons. The 30-year-old stud rearguard has a cap hit of $3.75 million, and an extra year left on his deal – making him more than just a rental.
He’s probably Boston’s prime target, but why stop there? It would also make sense for them to target rental defensemen such as David Savard, Brandon Montour, or even Jamie Oleksiak. All of those players would fit well into the Bruins’ system.
With that being said, the B’s are also likely seeking a middle-six forward. Rickard Rakell would naturally be a very nice fit for them, especially if they were to also acquire one of the aforementioned defensemen.
They have the cap space, and a dual-move like that would address two areas of need at once. If they really want to swing for a home run and go all-in on one guy, they could even take a chance on Taylor Hall.
He hasn’t had the greatest year, but he would still be a huge improvement to their top six left-wing situation. After all, Jake DeBrusk is having a season to forget.
Essentially, the Bruins know their competitive window closes a bit more with each passing season as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Tuukka Rask continue to age. This may be a good time for them to push all of their chips into the middle.
Patrice Bergeron was matched up against Sidney Crosby for 5:30 of 5v5 ice time tonight and Boston out-shot Pittsburgh, 10-0, during that stretch.
And the Bruins still lost by three goals.
Lack of finish, especially from Lines 2-4, is crushing this team right now.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) March 16, 2021
The Flyers have had a pretty frustrating season so far – especially considering they were hoping to build on their playoff run from last year.
Their offense has been good, but their defense and goaltending have really been lacking. They never really replaced Matt Niskanen following his retirement, and the right side of their defense corps could use a bit of a boost.
The goaltending situation will likely have to straighten itself out. The Flyers are clearly committed to Carter Hart as their guy – despite the fact that he’s having a season to forget.
Brian Elliott has been good-not-great as a backup, but he’s done an adequate job all things considered.
The main problem is that this team is averaging more than 3 goals against per game. On the bright side, they are projected to have around $6.75 million in deadline cap space – meaning they can definitely add.
Previously-mentioned defensemen such as Ekholm, Savard, and Montour would all fit their need for a right-shot rearguard.
The Flyers will definitely shoot their shot with Ekholm, but how likely they are to acquire him remains to be seen.
The Sabres are in the same division as the Flyers this year, which could hypothetically affect the availability of both Montour and Miller.
At the same time, Buffalo is also light years away from the playoffs and should definitely be looking to sell.
The addition of a depth goalie wouldn’t hurt the Flyers either and the Sabres could also be a trade partner in that regard.
Linus Ullmark is likely available. He’s on an expiring deal with an AAV of $2.6 million, so that’s actually very doable if the Flyers opted to bring in some crease stability.
Isn’t speculating fun?
On March 17, 1996, John LeClair scored his third career hat trick and added an assist, while Eric Lindros picked up four assists as the Philadelphia Flyers won 8-2 over the visiting San Jose Sharks.
(Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/uuBSw0yIfz
— 90sHockeyTweets (@Hockey90s) March 17, 2021