The Boston Bruins would appear to have their trade priorities in order and much of it is about adding depth to a roster that’s been great all season.
With that in mind, the B’s are looking for depth at both forward and defensemen and reportedly are one of the teams “very interested” in St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev, per Blues insider Andy Strickland.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) February 14, 2023
Per Strickland, Barbashev wants to be on a playoff team this season (which the Blues will not be) and has no intentions of signing an extension prior to the NHL trade deadline. The 27-year-old has been an NHL regular for the last six seasons and had a breakout year last season with 26 goals and 60 points in 81 games while moving up in the lineup from a bottom-6 spot for most of his career in St. Louis.
Boston Bruins fans may remember Barbashev as the player that was suspended for one game in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final after clubbing Bruins forward Marcus Johansson in the head, one of two suspensions for the Blues during that rough-and-tumble series with the Black and Gold.
St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev clipped Bruins forward Marcus Johansson during Game 5.
What do you think? Clean? dirty? Suspension worthy? pic.twitter.com/tetGnkl2XI
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) June 7, 2019
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Barbashev is an intriguing blend of skill and physicality that’s been good for double-digit goals and 25-30 points in most of his NHL seasons in St. Louis while playing a style that works on the third and fourth lines. He’d also be a good add as a fourth line center option if Tomas Nosek has any difficulty returning from an injury that currently has him sidelined. He attempted to skate recently and it “didn’t go well” according to Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery.
Barbashev would be a rental as he’s at the end of a two-year deal that was paying him $2.25 million per season, so the cost would likely be a draft pick or a prospect for a player that probably wouldn’t be a long term fit for the Black and Gold. Certainly it’s also a positive that Barbashev has a history with new Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery after the two spent time together last season while Montgomery spent time as an assistant coach with the Blues.
Montgomery said this week that he has discussions with Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney about the fit for certain players the B’s are interested in, and where they might play in Boston’s lineup if they were to be acquired.
“Donnie and I talk quite a bit. I guess my role is ‘where would I use so-and-so player?’ How does he fit in our lineup, so that helps him evaluate what he needs to do to improve our team,” said Montgomery. “That’s my role. We have great communication. I feel very fortunate to be working with Donnie because he keeps me involved in what I need to know. The communication that way is both ways. I seek his opinion a lot with our style of play, and I think it makes us better.”
The Boston Bruins seem to be much deeper into the defensemen trade market and making a big splash there, but don’t sleep on the B’s picking up at least one forward that could challenge for a lineup spot in the top-12 even after Jake DeBrusk returns from injury in the next few days.