Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and the smoke that has been emanating from the Chicago Blackhawks front office is now starting to convert to plumes. As speculated here on more than one occasion, league sources have confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have indeed engaged in trade discussions and on Tuesday, one source mentioned Bruins defenseman John Moore as a potential trade target for the Blackhawks. Whether the Bruins would actually entertain offers for their third-pairing defenseman who returned from shoulder surgery last month, is not known.
Blackhawks Eyeing Defensemen
As reported here a week ago, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman had been scouting the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres leading into the New Year. With both defenseman Brent Seabrook and Calvin da Haan ruled out for the rest of the season and the Blackhawks in need of a defenseman, it was speculated that there could be a fit for the Bruins – who even with Kevan Miller still injured – have a surplus on the blue line both at the NHL and AHL levels. Well, Scott Powers, who covers the Blackhawks for The Athletic reported recently, that he had a source confirm to him that Bowman has indeed been focused on adding a rearguard to solidify the team’s third blue line pairing.
That falls in line with what was told to Boston Hockey Now in the past and on Tuesday when a member of an NHL team management staff told BHN that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney may be “one of, if not the busiest GM’s burning the phones for a trade right now”. Sweeney’s assistant GM John Ferguson Jr. has also been seen chatting it up with other Assistant GM’s and some GM’s in the press box in Boston and in Providence where he runs the team’s AHL affiliate.
Sweeney Still Focused On Top 6 Winger
It’s no secret that Sweeney’s main trade target is a top-six winger to come in and solidify the second line who most recently had Anders Bjork on the left wing and normal second line left winger Jake DeBrusk switched to his off-side, with center David Krejci in the middle. In the Bruins 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators, Krejci scored an empty-net goal late to help seal the win and DeBrusk assisted on Patrice Bergeron’s powerplay tally. DeBrusk looked reenergized after being benched in two of the team’s previous four games and being called out by head coach Bruce Cassidy following a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. That trio will likely get another look Thursday night when the Bruins host the Winnipeg Jets, but it’s likely just more patchwork until Sweeney can finally solidify that right wing slot as he thought he had done when he acquired now retired winger Rick Nash at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline.
As was suggested here last week in the linked article above, it can be confirmed now that Sweeney, as do many other clubs, has an interest in Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad as well as Rangers winger Chris Kreider. The issue with the former is that he still has one year remaining on his contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. Kreider though is set to become an unrestricted free agent and would be a rental unless Sweeney could sign the Boxford, MA native and former Boston College star to an extension. Either way, with just $1.7 million in cap space, Sweeney needs to unload some money to clear room for the coveted top 6 winger. That’s why the belief is that the Winnetka, IL native Moore is a likely target. Moore, has three more seasons left with a cap hit of $2.7 million and whether it’s in a trade that nets them a winger like the 27-year-old Saad, or clears cap space for another winger like the 28-year-old Kreider, the Blackhawks, with $12.2 million in cap space, can help the Bruins and solidify their third pairing with Moore.