A few days ago I put out Part 1 of this topic with five players, and I will be presenting a case for five new players today. Taylor Hall will not be on this list because he already got his own article once the rumors picked up. Another potential target not included was Jean-Gabriel Pageau, simply because as the best center on the market his price would be too much for the Bruins to get involved in a bidding war. So let’s take a look at some new names the Bruins could make a push for.
Craig Smith is a 30 year old right wing for the Nashville Predators who carries a cap hit of $4.25 Million. The Predators struggles this season could lead them to try and move some players they don’t plan on bringing back, and Smith could fit that bill. Smith, while not a star player, has been a very successful NHL player with five 20 goal seasons and two 50 point seasons. Smith last scored 50 points in the 2017-18 season playing in 79 games and finishing with 51 points as well as 25 goals. The 2018-19 season saw quite a dip in Smith’s production. While playing in 76 games he was only able to score 38 point,s but did still have 21 goals. So far this season Smith has rebounded a bit, and in 56 games he has 16 goals with 27 points. Smith would bring some decent size to the Bruins at 6 foot 1 and 207 pounds. He’s able to win puck battles along the boards and still has the skill to finish plays. While he might not be a true power forward, he would bring an element of toughness to the team. The Predators would have to retain some salary, but a second round pick and a decent prospect could get a deal done.
Next comes a player nearly every playoff team will be trying to acquire in Chris Kreider. Kreider was the 19th overall pick back in 2009 and pretty much fits what the Bruins need to a T. With a combination of size, toughness and skill Kreider is what this team has been missing for years now. With five 20 goal seasons in the last six years, and two 50 point seasons as well, Kreider would be a force to be reckoned with on the Krejci line. So far this season in 55 games Kreider has once again scored over 20 goals with 22, including 40 points. The only problem like I said is every team is rumored to be interested and the Bruins do not want to get caught in a bidding war for a rental player. With a cap hit already at $4.625 Million it would take some financial wiggling to even bring Kreider on board. Then even more so to keep him considering reports he’s looking for upwards of $7 Million a year in his next contract. Now Kreider is a local product. He grew up in northern Mass, went to BC and maybe just maybe he would take a discount to stay with his hometown team. Perhaps he informs the Rangers, a recent frequent trade partner of ours, that he would like to come home to Boston. Unless Backes is offloaded in a move for a team trying to hit the cap floor and then probably John Moore I don’t see us being able to scrap together even $6 Million a year for his next contract. However it is possible, unlikely, but possible so he makes the list.
Let’s keep with the physical theme with another power forward in Simmonds. For years Simmonds was a thorn in the side of many Bruins fans with the fliers, but the years have started to take a toll on the forward. At 31 years old and with a cap hit of $5 Million this season Simmonds is not the player he was just a few years ago, but a chance at a Stanley Cup could be just what he needs to reinvigorate his game. In his career Simmonds has topped 30 goals twice and scored over 50 points four times. 2015-16 was Simmonds best season, scoring 32 goals and 60 points. Since then his numbers have been on the decline. So far in 56 games with the Devils Wayne has only scored seven goals and 23 points. Not terrible numbers but a far cry for the 30-60 season just a short time ago. The Devils are going nowhere, and a third round pick could probably make this trade happen. However, the Devils have struggled on defense so they could be a potential landing spot for John Moore and his contract. The contract isn’t a bad contract, he is just too expensive for us when we have guys on rookie deals who offer similar production and much more upside. If Moore is included maybe a fifth round pick is added to secure the deal.
Daniel Sprong is probably a name most fans will not recognize, but he should be a player on the Bruins radar if we are unable to make a bigger move. Sprong was a second round pick by the Penguins back in 2015 and has plenty of room to grow, still not even 23 years old. 2016-17 was his last year in the QMJHL, and in 31 games Sprong scored 32 goals and 59 points. That performance was followed up with 65 points and another 32 goals in just 65 AHL games. Sprong didn’t not carry his scoring ability to the Penguins and was traded in 2018-19 to the Ducks. In his 47 games with the Ducks that season he scored 14 goals and 19 points. This season has seen Sprong mostly back in the AHL, playing in 33 games with 10 goals and 26 points. With a cap hit of just $750k this would be a cheap addition cap wise that could help the team for years to come instead of being a rental like most of the other moves. Since Sprong has failed to stick in the NHL with the Ducks they could potentially look to move him for a pick and a chance to add a prospect. Or maybe one of our prospects has their attention. Either way a third and a fourth round pick or a prospect like Senyshyn could get this deal done. Playing along side Krejci could bring out that sniper potential he had shown so in his career.
Anthony Duclair has had a strange NHL career to date. At just 24 years old, the former Rangers third round pick in 2013 has already been a part of five organizations. In 2015-16, his first full NHL season, and after being traded to Arizona, Duclair would score 20 goals and 44 points. Unfortunately Duclair regressed and was then traded to Chicago in 2017-18. Unable to impress in Chicago, Duclair signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 2018-19 season and after 53 games 11 goals and 19 points he was on the move again. This time Anthony was traded to the Ottawa Senators as part of the Ryan Dzingel trade. This time Duclair was able to recapture some of his early numbers and in 21 games scored 8 goals and 14 points for the Senators. So far this season Duclair has played in 56 games, scoring 34 points while setting a career high in goals with 21. His cap hit of $1.65 Million and the fact he will be a restricted free agent this summer make him an interesting asset. The Bruins could move one of their many defensive prospects like Zboril, who has shown potential on the international stage but has been passed within the organization by a handful of more NHL ready players. Moving Zboril and a late round pick, a 5th or 6th rounder this year or next, should be enough to make a deal happen. And with his consistency issues it could drive the price down to retain Duclair on a short bridge deal if we chose to keep him. However, if he clicks on the Krejci line and has a great end of the season and a strong playoff performance the fact that he’s a restricted free agent could net us a decent draft pick if a team wants to take a chance on him realizing his potential.
The majority of the player mentioned over these two parts would be rentals with the Bruins facing some tough cap decisions this offseason. If the Bruins can clear some space by moving Backes, even if they retain some salary, it would create some much needed breathing room. Even just moving Moore and his $2.75 Million cap hit could save the Bruins a lot of headache and heartache if he costs them a player we would all like them to keep. Fingers crossed the Bruins are at least able to shed some salary and don’t just stand pat at the deadline. For all the latest news and updates on all your favorite Boston teams keep checking back and let’s go Bruins.
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