The Boston Bruins are currently loaded on the blue line. The club re-signed Steven Kampfer earlier this week and will return a group that includes Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, John Moore, Matt Grzelcyk, Kampfer and the injured Kevan Miller. Circumstances can change though and while Boston’s defense looks great on paper, it won’t necessarily look this way when the season starts on October 3. Krug is entering the final year of his contract and could be trade bait this summer; Moore is battling back from an injury, and McAvoy and Carlo are both restricted free agents. In the event McAvoy or Carlo’s negotiations get prolonged or someone gets dealt for cap space, the Bruins, at some point, could be in the market for another defender this July and here are some affordable options if they are.
D Dion Phaneuf
Dion Phaneuf isn’t what he used to be. A former top-pairing defender for both the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs, Phaneuf is now more of a depth defenseman. He was bought out by the LA Kings earlier this summer and is seeking a one-year deal to revive his career. Phaneuf is a left-shot D who plays a physical game, can break up the cycle and possesses a big shot from the point. Phaneuf can also contribute on the penalty kill.
He’s still a good third-pairing defender in the NHL. His numbers were bad a season ago due to a terrible on-ice save percentage with the Kings. He could fill the role John Moore does at a much lesser price. That could allow Boston to dump Moore’s contract in the hunt for cap space.
D Andrew MacDonald
Overpaid and overused in Philadelphia, MacDonald is an NHL defender that got a bad name. He’s not the $5 million defenseman the Flyers hoped he was when they traded for him in 2014, but he’s another solid depth guy on the right team. In a third-pairing role, MacDonald brings strong penalty killing and a solid two-way game to the table. He can move the puck well enough to survive in today’s game and is actually quite mobile for a veteran.
D Kevin Gravel
Lost in the shuffle in Edmonton, Gravel was actually solid for the Oilers a season ago. He doesn’t play a flashy game, but as a seventh defenseman, he does provide value. Gravel is a decent skater whose game is predicated on defending. He won’t provide much offense, but he can kill penalties and he does play a physical brand of hockey. On a poor possession team in Edmonton, Gravel actually posted a Corsi For percentage of 48.7%. Not great, but positive relative to his teammates (+.7%).