The Boston Bruins, even with the Zdeno Chara situation unresolved are scouring the NHL trade and free agency markets for preferably a top 4 left-shot defenseman but at least a veteran for the third pairing.
With a lack of high-end defenseman still available in NHL Free Agency, sources have told Boston Hockey Now that the Boston Bruins are looking at UFA defensemen Karl Alzner and Sami Vatanen. On Monday, my partner in crime at BHN, Joe Haggerty reported that the Bruins were also interested in UFA defenseman and former Maine Black Bears star Ben Hutton.
Haggerty actually reported back in October that the Boston Bruins had an interest in former Alzner, the former Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens defenseman. The Bruins were looking at Alzner as an inexpensive veteran left-shot defenseman to replace some of the grit and leadership void that captain Zdeno Chara could leave behind should he decide to retire or sign elsewhere via unrestricted free agency.
Sadly for Boston fans, those two scenarios currently seem more likely than Chara playing another season as the Bruins’ captain. Sources confirmed to OTR that the Bruins, along with numerous other teams such as the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have looked into bringing the 32-year-old Alzner on board and the chatter is that whoever does, will do so via a PTO. All of the teams mentioned here are also scouring the NHL trade market for a defenseman.
Alzner spent the majority of the last two seasons playing for Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket before being bought out this past offseason.
The same is being said about Vatanen, who is starting to get more interest and BHN has confirmed that the three teams mentioned above, as well as the Ottawa Senators, have inquired about the 29-year-old veteran defenseman who last played with the Carolina Hurricanes.
“The Bruins have definitely looked at Vatanen more than once,” one NHL source told BHN over the weekend. “They’re waiting on Chara but they’re not sitting around by any means. If anything, it seems like they’ve worked harder to have something waiting than they have to not need to have something waiting.”
Vatanen had five goals and 23 assists in 47 games for the New Jersey Devils last regular season. He also had ten power play points. Vatanen was actually traded to the Carolina Hurricanes prior to the NHL Trade deadline but couldn’t play for them until the playoffs due to injury. He had three helpers in five playoff games and two qualifying round games.