Offensive two-way defencemen. They're a streaky bunch of players. They're also the kind of defensemen who are most likely to become superstars. Drew Doughty, Nicklas Lidstrom ...Boston's own Dougie Hamilton. Elite or even quasi-elite defensemen are a hot property this time of year if and when they become available.
This time round an offensive defenseman is also one of the most intriguing players available at the deadline. Mike Green is a pending UFA with a monster cap hit of $6.063 million. He's also a 6'2, 207lb offensive dynamo who once scored 31 goals in an NHL season from the blue-line. And at the age of 29, he's coming into his prime.
The knock on Green early in his career was that while he was an offensively-gifted player, he needed a map to find his own zone most of the time-and at times his plus-minus would seem to back that up...one particularly wince-making example being the 2013-14 season where he managed to be -16 on the year despite scoring 38 blueline points (a figure, incidentally, that he's well on pace to beat this season.)
There's no doubt that a player like Mike Green could help the Bruins massively. The problem that the Bruins face is that monster contract (although the cap-space issue may be solved somewhat by a) putting David Krejci on LTIR until the end of the season-although Cam Neely has already said that that apparently violates some sort of "code"-and b) either asking the Caps to retain some salary short term or sending salary the other way.
Salary like Dennis Seidenberg's, perhaps. The German defenceman is $4 million worth of odd-man out in Boston, with Chiarelli and rumours all round the league that the Bruins brass have finally lost patience with his efforts (not least the fact that he's probably one of the few Bruins defensemen who actually gives up MORE close-in scoring chances when he's on the ice than when he's off it...impressive work for a supposed crease-clearing D-man. He's not producing at the other end either, with only 11 points...28 less than Green. Oh yeah...and he has a worse +/- by some distance.
Let's use one of the best ways of directly comparing two players graphically out there in Own The Puck's HERO charts for a graphical representation of how the two players compare. First Green, then Seidenberg. Bear in mind they're both currently playing third pairing...
As you can see, Green is still currently playing at a top-4 level, and it's interesting to see that despite nominally currently being on the third pairing with Cam Schilling, Green is still earning first-pair minutes, and using them well.
Dear god. MAKE IT STOP. Despite receiving first-pairing minutes, Seidenberg is currently playing at a "decent bottom pairing" level and no more in every category apart from points/60. For $4 million a year.
Of course, Seidenberg and Green are arguably very different types of players, but if you're Claude Julien given the chance to add one of the NHL's premier offensive d-men who has now reached the maturity to play the kind of two-way game he was previously derided for, and you can get rid of an anchor at the same time, what would stop you?
Green would instantly add a huge mobility upgrade over Seidenberg and indeed a few others on the Bruins roster, & at the age of 29 he's four years younger.
The Bruins would probably have to put some work in to acquire Green-there are salary cap issues that need to be worked around...however, the flexibility is there, potentially.
Mike Green is just the kind of big name that could give the Bruins a kick up the rear in the playoff race-a race that increasing chatter around Boston says Chiarelli and Julien need to win in order to keep their jobs next season in Beantown. His acquisition would also potentially allow for a "trial" before a summer free-agent signing, too, were the Bruins wanting to go that way.
Green is probably the marquee name on defense available this deadline. He'd undoubtedly improve the Bruins massively in the short term. It would take a brave move from Chiarelli-but it's one that could pay big dividends indeed.