The trade deadline remains the focus for many around the NHL - indeed it's only looming larger as the clock ticks down.
Nobody's quite sure what Don Sweeney has in his thoughts moving forward, but let's assume, as all the indications of talks with the Avalanche show, that the Bruins are buyers this deadline. What have they got to give up? Let's take a deep dive.
This section is an intriguing one, because there are, frankly, many possibilities but, perhaps, not a monumental amount of value for many teams. We can safely assume that the names on the untouchables list include Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and David Backes (although the last one of those is there perhaps more by dint of his recent signing than actual untouchability merit). Behind them, though, anyone's possible. Matt Beleskey, David Krejci, Ryan Spooner...any one of these could legitimately be in play and would be relatively easy to justify in a move. The ever-changing cast that is the Bruins bottom six, too, is frankly all moveable, simply because while many parts of it are effective, none are irreplaceable.
Biggest trade piece: David Krejci
Most likely to move: Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes
Unlike the forwards, defensively, at least among the players already settled in the NHL arena, the Bruins have the problem that whatever they might want to sell, no-one's really buying. Whilst Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo would doubtless attract a fair chunk of interest, moving them would see the Bruins weaken an already-stretched blueline-unless there's a blue-chip player coming back the other way to fill the gap, they shouldn't really be going anywhere. Zdeno Chara, too, is only likely to move if there's an absolute monster gain.
Players that the B's do want to move, like Adam McQuaid, Joe Morrow, and sundry other lower-pair defensemen, are likely not going to find many, if any, takers as the key piece of a deal. As supplementary pieces, they might sweeten the pot a little (particularly if B's find an analytics-focused team who are sucked in by McQuaid's impressive fancystats this season as a result largely of him playing with Krug). Colin Miller is another player who could attract some looks - it doesn't make a huge amount of sense to trade him, but if he's a player who'll make the difference in a trade, Sweeney will likely have no compunction in throwing Chiller in there.
Biggest chip: Brandon Carlo (unlikely to move, though)
Most likely moved: Colin Miller, Adam McQuaid
Here, the B's don't have anything. Which is probably a good thing, frankly, since they need to bring reinforcements in, if anything. Barring a truly miraculous waiver claim, the B's are going to end the season with the same goaltending they started with. In the case of Tuukka Rask, that's a very good thing. In the case of Anton Khudobin...maybe not so much.
Here, the cupboard for the Bruins is stacked. With names like Charlie McAvoy, Jeremy Lauzon, Danton Heinen, Zack Senyshyn and Jakub Zboril there are options everywhere for the B's to move.
The problem, again, is the return. McAvoy could be the next great defenseman in Boston and Lauzon, too, has some serious upside. Don't expect them to be moved unless there's something really, REALLY special coming the other way.
The AHL is perhaps a little looser in terms of genuinely attractive talent for other NHL teams, but there are names like Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Peter Cehlarik and others that could be thrown into deals as a sweetener.
In the NCAA ranks, it's all about Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson in the forward ranks alongside McAvoy defensively. Anders Bjork of Notre Dame, too, might attract some interest. Further down the line, Trent Frederic is having a heck of a first year for the Wisconsin Badgers and could be a very useful chip as a quick cash-in for the B's if they sell high.
In Canadian juniors, Jesse Gabrielle and Zack Senyshyn are both turning into useful scorers who some teams might have their eyes on, and could certainly be used as levers in deals.
Biggest trade chip: Charlie McAvoy, Jakub Zboril
Most likely moved: Jakub Zboril
The Bruins are currently picking 20th in the first round, which, in a relatively weak draft, is probably not going to excite many.
However, with the exception of a 5th rounder, they have at least one pick in every round this year (two in the 7th) which gives them some more chips to play with.
The cupboard may not exactly be stacked, but there are definite possibilities for deals the Bruins can make without hurting themselves hugely - although a home-run deal will require either some truly hardcore negotiation or possibly some form of Jedi mind control.
One thing is for sure, the B's are going to have to give a lot to get a lot this deadline, so hunting for value is more of a priority than ever.