The NHL trade market is heating up again and it appears a recent trade target for the Boston Bruins is still on the market.
As reported here on more than one occasion, the Boston Bruins have looked into what it would take to trade for Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen. In the latest TSN Insider Trading, the panel, specifically TSN NHL Insider Darren Dreger, confirmed that Virtanen is definitely available, as is Canucks and former Northeastern University star center Adam Gaudette. Dreger made it clear though that even if the Canucks are able to move Virtanen and his $2.5 million cap hit, they will need equal or less cap space coming back due to their current salary cap constraints.
Also of interest when it comes to the needs of the Boston Bruins, was TSN and Athletic NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun noting that Nashville Predators defenseman Mattia Ekholm is also available on the NHL trade market right now. Ekholm is a 30-year-old, 6-foot-4, 215-pound rearguard that has hit the 30-point plateau four times and 40 points once. Ekholm is coming off an eight-goal, 25-assist campaign in 68 games in 2019-20 and has three helpers in 12 games this season.
With a very reasonable cap hit of $3.7 million and just one year left after this season on his current contract, one would imagine Ekholm won’t last long on the NHL trade market. With Matt Grzelcyk in and more out of the lineup, will Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney try to fill that second pairing left slot with Ekholm?
Now on to the rest of your BHN Daily Links:
Professor Haggerty has submitted his Boston Bruins quarter point grades and I’d say Haggs pretty much nailed them! (Boston Hockey Now)
In addition to Grzelcyk (lower-body), missing another game tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils, fellow rearguard Jakub Zboril (upper-body), will miss his first game of the season as well. (Boston Hockey Now)
How cool are these? Various NHL players are wearing custom-made skates honoring Bruins legend and hall of famer Willie O’Ree as part of Black History Month:
Bauer Hockey has designed a custom skate graphic celebrating the achievements of Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first Black player. Half a dozen or more NHL players plan to wear the skates in games (or warm ups) this week. Game-worn skates will be auctioned through NHL’s auction program pic.twitter.com/UIddLFs0dr
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) February 17, 2021
Speaking of injuries, after just making his debut with the Winnipeg Jets last week after a two-week quarantine following the NHL trade that sent him to Winnipeg for winger Patrik Laine and defenseman Jack Roslovic from the Columbus Blue Jackets, center Pierre-Luc Dubois has been placed on injured reserve. Dubois’ injury? ‘Mechanism of injury’ according to head coach Paul Maurice. ‘Excuse me! Baking powder?’ (TSN)
In more injury news and in the East Division, the New York Rangers will be without defenseman Jacob Trouba for at least a month with a broken thumb. Karma for that headshot on Zboril that has now resulted in Zboril missing at least one game? (New York Post)
One of the main criticisms of the Bruins and the reason fans and media want them to dive into the NHL trade market for a winger is that many believe they’re a one-line team with ‘The Perfection Line’. It appears that’s the knock on their normal Atlantic Division rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Toronto Star)
National Hockey Now
It appears the NHL Lake Tahoe Games will go on this weekend and the Phildadelphia Flyers and the Bruins, despite the Flyers’ COVID issues, will still play on Sunday at 3 PM ET. The big question now is, how many NHL regulars will be missing for the Flyers? (Philly Hockey Now)
One name that’s been rumored to be on the NHL trade market since the NHL Entry Draft in October is Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. While our colleague Dan Kingerski doesn;t dive into those NHL trade rumors, he does dive into a potentially reduced role for Letang on the Penguins blue line. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Former Florida Panthers and current Carolina Hurricanes forward Vincent Trochek is playing his former team for the first time tonight. (Florida Hockey Now)
New York Islanders rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin finally got his win Tuesday night. (NYI Hockey Now)