With the acquisition of Tomas Kaberle, as well as Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik, it seems likely that the Bruins have completed their major moves in advance of the trading deadline. But, is there more to come? The first question that we have to ask is: what do the Bruins need? They've got an insane amount of depth at center, but the defense could probably still stand an upgrade, and a sniper on the wing might be welcome as well.
The Bruins don't have a ton of cap room; CapGeek says they have about $1.3 million. More room could be created by demoting Daniel Paille or Johnny Boychuk, both recent visitors to the 9th floor. With bonus penalties lingering for next year, the Bruins should be judicious about using their limited cap space, but the acquisitions of Kaberle and Peverley seem to indicate that Peter Chiarelli believes the future is now, and next year will just have to take care of itself. It's hard to argue with that approach.
"The future is now...hey, what about Brad Richards?" Forget it. Larry Brooks of the New York Post says the Stars demanded a package of Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal and Derek Stepan for the center. Considering age and price, I'm not sure I would trade Dubinsky for Richards straight up. One has to assume Glen Sather giggled and hung up the phone at that demand. Regardless, Richards is a guy that's almost certainly out of the Bruins' price range, if they were ever pursuing him in the first place.
Along those same lines, Ales Hemsky is on the market, and the thought of replacing Nathan Horton with him on the top line might seem inviting. However, Pierre LeBrun reported from the Heritage Classic that he spoke with a GM who phoned the Oilers and came away saying "they can keep their Ales Hemsky."
It should not be surprising that we're looking at a seller's market. After all, the Bruins paid a higher-than-expected ransom for Kaberle. But that, and the team's lack of cap space, makes it almost certain that any move would be a minor one. David Krejci, Michael Ryder and the Toronto #1 pick for Richards? Horton, Boychuk and Colby Cohen for Hemsky? Those deals would be pretty hard to imagine, even if they would work cap-wise. It's one thing to improve; it's another to take a wrecking ball to a team that's in first place in its division. A sniper, the sort they thought they were getting in Horton, would come at a premium. And anyway, Horton has shown signs of turning it around, and has also been a victim of major bad luck (name an NHL player who has hit more posts and crossbars this year). No, any move is almost certain to be minor, along the lines of a depth defenseman.
One name that has come up is Matt Hunwick. Hunwick struggled early this year, and almost all of last year, for the Bruins, and has managed to be even worse in Colorado. If Steven Kampfer has hit the rookie wall, Hunwick would be a candidate to add some mobility to the third pair. The Avalanche would surely take a bag of pucks for him, but one wonders if Hunwick is broken at this point. He's still young, but he's struggled with confidence, and playing terribly in Colorado can't help. He might be more of a reclamation project than the Bruins are interested in taking on.
It's probably just as well that any move on the blue line is likely to be strictly for depth purposes; the big names out there right now have major flaws. Sergei Gonchar's contract is awful and Filip Kuba's contract is awful, and his game is worse. Kaberle makes a Bryan McCabe or John-Michael Liles pickup moot unless the Bruins want an insanely well-paid third pair/second power play unit guy...which they might, but they certainly can't afford one. Chris Phillips would be a nice pickup, but doesn't want to leave Ottawa, which calls his mental state into question.
What about Zach Bogosian? Alas, he has been declared all but untouchable by the Thrashers. And since the Bruins and Thrashers already talked about one deal, you can assume that Chiarelli at least kicked the tires on Bogosian and found the price too high.
Shane Hnidy has been given a tryout, a point lamented previously by our fearless leader, but if that's the aisle the team is shopping in, they might also take a look at Craig Rivet, recently released by the Sabres. Rivet doesn't have much left in the tank, but he would add some toughness, experience and leadership to the blue line, which is never a bad thing.
He's not a defenseman, but a player that intrigues me, and might intrigue the Bruins, is Nikolay Zherdev. The Flyers just put Zherdev on waivers and will outright him to the AHL, presumably not to return. Yes, Zherdev is something of an enigma, but he also has 15 goals in 47 games this year, and a +7, so he can't be that bad defensively. He's 26, so he still has some upside. The Bruins were interested in signing him in the offseason, before he went to the Flyers instead. A Paille for Zherdev deal would work under the cap. Why not give Zherdev a shot at Ryder's third line right wing job? He's younger, more talented and can't possibly be worse defensively.
It's certainly possible that the Bruins will make one more big move, but it's unlikely. If I had to guess, I would say this is the team they will enter the playoffs with. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.