With the trade deadline now less than two weeks away, and the rumors swirling, here is who the Bruins could target in the coming days. My process was to look at teams who may be sellers, and if those teams had players that fit the Bruins needs. Obviously position played a large role in players selected for this list. An equally important factor was each players contract, and how easily the Bruins could fit them with their limited cap space. With these factors in mind I ended up with a list of ten players. Instead of just making one huge article with all ten it will be a two part piece split five and five. So let’s dive in and hopefully one of these players ends the year in a Bruins sweater holding up the Stanley Cup.
The first player we are looking at is Tyler Toffoli, winger for the LA Kings. Toffoli has been in trade rumors for a few years now, and the King’s recent struggles have only led to increased speculation as they move towards a full rebuild. Back in 2010 the LA drafted Toffoli in the second round, number 47 overall. Toffoli had his best season in 2015-16 playing in all 82 games with 31 goals and 58 points. Unfortunately, Toffoli has not been able to match that level of production, scoring less and less each season. This culminated with a bottoming out last year where in 82 games Tyler only scored 13 goals and 34 points. So far this season has been a bit of a bounce back, and in 56 games Toffoli has already scored 14 goals and 30 points. With the increase in production he should also net a pretty good return for the Kings. What LA needs most is depth on its wings and some defensive help. With that in mind a package of Matt Gryzelcyk, Zach Senyshyn, and maybe a mid round pick should be more than enough. The Kings would have to retain some salary for Toffoli to fit on our books, but it’s a win win trade. I don’t see either Bruins player coming back next year, so we wouldn’t be giving up much in the way of future assets for this rental.
We all know Jumbo Joe, number one overall pick by Boston way back in 1997, and one of the best passers of his generation. The Sharks are floundering and are very short on cap space to make improvements. This has led to many of their non future core players being put on the block. Personally this is the trade I want most just for the story of Thornton returning to the team that drafted him for one final shot at the Cup. Joe is not the player he once was, now at 40 years old, but with a $2 Million cap hit and and abundance of playoff experience it's a move that is easy to justify. Thornton so far this season has played in 56 games with only two goals and 24 points. An unsustainable poor shooting percentage of 3.6% has led to the low goal total so far. With a career average around 14% it’s likely that he should start finding the back of the net with more regularity. Thornton would likely fit in the third line center role. This means Coyle would be bumped to the second line right wing, providing some much needed size to our middle six forward group. With a full no-movement clause any trade has to be approved by Thornton. Most important to Joe is a chance at the Cup, and the Bruins are currently the top team in the NHL with 80 points. It shouldn’t take more than a second round pick and one of our mid level prospects to get a deal done. However, with Tampa also rumored to be interested, a bidding war could be started just to prevent each other from acquiring him. Let’s hope nostalgia wins out and Thornton just wants to come back where it all began.
Hinostroza was a sixth round pick back in 2012 by the Chicago blackhawks coming out of Notre Dame. Still only 25, with about two and a half NHL seasons worth of games under his belt, there is still room to grow. Coming off a career best season last year after being traded to Arizona, Vinnie was able to score 16 goals and 39 points in 72 games. It’s worth mentioning those Arizona Coyotes didn’t have Taylor Hall or Phil Kessel, so offense was hard to come by. In the last year of his contract with a $1.5 Million cap hit Hinostroza could be a cheap option to fill the right wing void next to Krejci. While Vinnie May be lacking in size at 5 foot 9 and 173 pounds, he makes up for it with speed and a pretty good set of hands. So far this season in 58 games Hinostroza has only scored 20 points with 5 goals. A shooting percentage of 4.6 percent and the new forward additions in Arizona moving him down the lineup are big factors in his numbers. Playing with a talented center like David Krejci should allow his skills to flourish, and he could be a very shrewd rental or even a long term solution at right wing. Arizona is currently the second wild card team out west, but with four teams within six points they could fall out of that spot fast. If that happens Arizona could start selling off depth players to free up some cap space to solidify their roster come the offseason. Hinostroza isn’t a player that will be in their long term plans, and a third round pick should be enough to get a deal done. Keep in mind this is a move that will only happen if we can’t land one of the bigger names, but it’s still a solid move that will improve our scoring depth.
Frolik has been around the league for a while and has been on his fair share of teams, five to be exact. The number ten overall pick back in 2006 by the Florida Panthers, Frolik has never lived up to expectations. But he has been a quality depth player. With five 40 point seasons and at the age of 31, Frolik still has plenty to offer a contender. Currently playing for the Buffalo Sabres after a mid season trade from Calgary, Frolik was brought in to provide some depth. So far the trade has not worked out how Buffalo envisioned, with Frolik only scoring two points in 14 games with his new team. In Calgary it wasn’t much better, but in 38 games Frolik did have 10 points and 5 goals. Michael is not far removed from being a productive player scoring 16 goals and 34 points in 65 games just last season. Frolik has a $4.3 Million cap hit so Buffalo would have to retain about half of that salary if a trade was going to happen. While it would be unusual for them to trade him after just acquiring him on January 2nd, the Sabres only gave up a fourth round pick in the deal. It could be possible that just recouping their asset, a fourth round pick, could get a deal done. With just the remainder of this season on his contract it’s a fairly low risk move for the low price. Much like Hinostroza, this is another move that only happens if we miss on the bigger names on the market.
The final player in this article is Leafs wing Kasperi Kapanen. Many of you may be wondering why the leafs and Bruins would make a trade, especially with the recent playoff history between them. This is a fair point, but it’s because they each have what the other team needs. Right now Toronto is out of the playoff picture and in desperate need of defensemen on a team friendly deal with some term. The Bruins need to fill that second line right wing hole if they want to make another run to the finals and win. A former first round pick, 22nd overall in 2014 by the Penguins, Kapanen just signed a three year deal this offseason with a cap hit of just over $3 Million. Why would the leafs move a newly signed 23 year old who just scored 20 goals and 44 points in his first full season? Simply because they don’t have other options. With the leafs out of the playoffs for now they need to look at shedding some salary and adding proven defensemen. So far in 56 games Kapanen has scored 11 goals and 32 points, making him a very valuable player who will command a good return for the Leafs. I could see the Bruins sending a package centering around John Moore, who carries a cap hit of only $2.75 Million for the next three years. As a former first round pick in 2009 and at just 28 years old that is a great deal for a potential second pairing defenseman for the Leafs. I would also throw in a second round pick and maybe another future fourth rounder just to sweeten the deal. This is a very unlikely trade but it is a possible one that would benefit both teams. As we saw with the Kessel trade these teams are willing to make a deal, it’s just another possibility during a crazy time in the NHL.
So those are the five players for part one of this two part trade topic. If I missed a name you think the Bruins should go after or you are interested in more of my crazy trade ideas please check back in a few days for part 2. I can promise another surprise name or two will make that list so you won’t want to miss it. As always please check out all of the team pages here for the latest news on all your favorite teams and I look forward to seeing some of your trade ideas in the comments.
Featured image courtesy of Adam Kimelman NHL.com