Who will the Bruins trade or trade for in what promises to be a fast and furious month of wheeling and dealing coming up in the NHL?
The NHL trade market is already buzzing like it never has before and the Boston Bruins are smack dab in the middle of that buzz. With a flattened $81.5 million salary cap and the team potentially not being a cap team for the first time since the NHL became a capped league in 2005-06, there’s a solid chance of a major Bruins trade happening over the next month.
If the Bruins, who will have an estimated $14.4 million in cap space when free agency begins on October 9, decide they want to dive into the unrestricted free agent market, then they will look to move some salary before then. Or instead of trying to make a splash in the UFA market, the Bruins add impact players directly via a likely ‘hockey trade’ that sees a fairly equal salary and skill exchange. On that note, let’s begin a look at the names Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney could be looking to acquire and fulfill his club’s needs.
Sweeney and Bruins team President Cam Neely have made no qualms about their desire to acquire a top 6 winger with that combo of scoring, size, and grit that the Bruins have been looking for in their second line right wing slot since Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton skated alongside center David Krejci. Leading into the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline, BHN and later TSN Insider Bob McKenzie confirmed that the Bruins had looked into what the price may be for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson.
After scoring 17 goals in 78 games during the 2016-17 season and 19 in 63 games the following season, the 6-foot-3, 222-pound winger broke out for 27 lamplighters in 82 games in 2018-19. Not surprisingly, Anderson’s trade value soared last offseason and rumors spread that the Blue Jackets may not be able to re-sign the 2020 restricted free agent if his stock continued to rise. This past season though, Anderson was felled by multiple injuries and a shoulder injury in December that limited him to just a goal and three assists in 26 games. In those three seasons prior to 2019-20, Anderson had an 11.7 shot percentage but this season he finished at 1.6 percent. Anderson just finished a three-year contract that carried a $1.8 million cap hit.
This is not the first time Sweeney had investigated the trade cost of Anderson who can become a restricted free agent on October 9 and given the aforementioned power forward combo and what’s likely a cheaper price in a trade and for a new contract, there’s a solid chance the Bruins GM has already rung Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. If he pulls some more cap magic, Sweeney might be able to re-sign RFA Jake DeBrusk and acquire Anderson who will likely cost a third round pick and a prospect.