The Boston Bruins trade targets are ambitious. The defending Eastern Conference champions are not only the frontrunners should the New York Rangers deal winger Chris Kreider, per TSN, but late Tuesday night, Boston Hockey Now confirmed the Bruins are very much frontrunners for New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri.
“He’s made no secret he’s going for it,” a well-connected NHL source said of Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney.
The source joked in a phone call that the Bruins might get both players by the time the NHL trade deadline strikes next Monday. Considering the returns on rentals (Kreider) and players with term (Palmieri), it’s probably impossible without competing cleaning out the prospects cupboard. However, according to the source, Sweeney’s willingness to deal extends beyond his first-round pick and prospects, but also to roster players in a package deal.
NHL players are something New York GM Jeff Gorton and New Jersey interim GM Tommy Fitzgerald are definitely aiming for in addition to picks and prospects. So, getting two of the hottest trade targets might seem like a joke, but it’s not as far-fetched as it may seem.
Is Studnicka Only Untouchable Prospect?
The chatter around the league Tuesday included Bruins forwards Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman as current roster forwards Sweeney was considering moving in talks with both Gorton and Fitzgerald. Defensemen John Moore, Jeremy Lauzon, and Connor Clifton were the mentioned roster d-men.
Clifton is still recovering from an injury in Providence (AHL) and not on the Bruins’ current four-game roadie that has them slated to play the Oilers in Edmonton Wednesday night.
The mention of NHL players is just Bruins trade chatter at this point. BHN has no confirmation that any of them were involved in a formal offer as of late Tuesday night.
When it comes to available prospects with whom Sweeney is willing to part, the source claimed Sweeney is willing to listen on any prospect except Providence Bruins forward Jack Studnicka who is having a very solid season with the P-Bruins. Studnicka has 39 points, including 19 goals.
Avalanche In On Kreider Too
Late Friday afternoon, Seravalli broke the story that the Bruins and Colorado Avalanche had emerged as frontrunners for Kreider, the Boston College product and Boxford, MA native. Our colleague, Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now backed up that report and one from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet as well, explaining how the Av’s, already without Nazem Kadri (lower-body) had become frontrunners because of Mikko Rantanen’s upper-body injury that could keep him out until the playoffs and maybe longer.
Dater also mentioned that if Kreider doesn’t pan out for them, the Av’s could turn to the Montreal Canadiens for help and try to acquire winger Tomas Tatar, another player the Bruins could have interest in. Word around the league Tuesday was that Habs GM Marc Bergevin who – along with his Assistant GM Scott Mellanby – scouted the Av’s-Lightning tilt Monday night, is now willing to seriously listen on Tatar and defenseman Jeff Petry given the current market, that continued to take shape Tuesday as three NHL defenseman -including Marco Scandella from the Habs to the St. Louis Blues – and one AHL rearguard were dealt.
Can Sweeney Surpass 2019 Deadline?
Sweeney may have been beaten to the punch by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Blake Coleman and according to one source, “backed off” on Tyler Toffoli but he’s certainly not giving up by any means. From the looks of it, he has a much bigger plan he’s hoping comes together. Kreider’s $4.5 million cap hit is coming off the books when the playoffs start and Palmieri has one more season left at $4.6 million. Sweeney’s willingness to deal young roster players not only sweetens the pot for the Devils and Rangers but frees up cap space for any incoming players as well. He’s feverishly trying to move David Backes’ one year with a $6 million cap hit and there have been some teams interested, but it is not known if the Rangers and Devils are amongst those interested parties.
If Sweeney could get just one of Palmieri or Kreider, it would be a win for him and the Bruins, but if he got two 20-goal scorers in Kreider (23 in 57 games) and Palmieri (22 in 55 games) to join the Bruins for another run at the Stanley Cup, that would easily surpass the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline which was easily his best deadline. Sweeney was able acquire center Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild and winger Marcus Johansson from the Devils prior to the deadline last February 25. Those moves helped propel the Bruins to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final before they lost to the St. Louis Blues. One or both of Palmieri and Kreider could very well help them win one more game in June.