If the Boston Bruins can’t land a big fish before the Feb. 24 NHL Trade Deadline, there are some under the radar options should Bruins GM Don Sweeney choose a path of less resistance.
As the deadline gets closer, the Bruins have been linked to a plethora of players via multiple outlets, including Boston Hockey Now. New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider remains the top Bruins trade target, but the coming bidding war for the Boxford, MA native and former Boston College star will be intense. So, BHN has confirmed Sweeney and the Bruins have done their due diligence on players such as Anaheim Ducks winger Ondrej Kase, New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri and Columbus Blue Jackets rugged winger Josh Anderson.
The Bruins are seeking scoring depth and here are three rentals which could be stealth Bruins trade targets:
Wayne Simmonds, 31, New Jersey Devils. RW
The Bruins reportedly had an interest in Simmonds at the 2019 NHL trade deadline when he played for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was a rental last season, as he is again this season. Simmonds provides toughness and could provide more of the jam, which the Bruins showed in the 2-1 win over Winnipeg last Friday. The rugged 6-foot-2, 185-pound winger has cracked the 20-goal plateau six times and scored 30 or more goals twice in 12 seasons. Like most of the Devils, Simmonds has struggled this season with just five goals and 14 assists in 51 games before the Tuesday tilt with the Devils.
Simmonds, 31, is on a one-year deal that paid him $5 million this season.
Craig Smith, 30, Nashville Predators. RW
Smith boomed with a 25-goal campaign (51 points) in 79 games in 2017-18 and 21 goals and 17 assists in 76 games last season. However, before the Tuesday game at Winnipeg, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound winger had just 11 goals and 11 assists in 51 games. Smith has cracked the 20-goal plateau five times. Prospects are knocking on the door in Nashville and the Predators are on the verge of falling out of the playoff race. The word around the league is Nashville may deal Smith for a second or maybe even a third-round pick.
Smith is in the final season of a five-year contract that carried a cap hit of $4.2 million per season.
Jesper Fast, RW, New York Rangers
Out of the three listed here, Fast would be the cheapest The 6-foot-1, 191-pound, 28-year-old Swedish winger is aptly named. He’s got wheels but has never reached the steady 20-goals production levels that Smith and Simmonds have enjoyed. His best season was 2017-18 when he had 13 goals and 20 assists. Fast has eight goals and 14 assists in 50 games this season. On the Bruins, Fast would be a bottom-nine player, but as so many teams learn, you can never have too much depth in the playoffs. Fast is in the final season of a three-year contract that carried a $1.8 million cap hit.