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Friedman: Bruins poking around a few big deadline names

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All big names, all big prices. Are any realistic?

Edmonton Oilers v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The last pre-deadline edition of Elliotte Friedman's 31 Thoughts came out today, and as always, it was filled with interesting information.

While there was nothing concrete or even super juicy about the Bruins, he did have the Bruins linked to three different players: Artemi Panarin, Mats Zuccarello and Wayne Simmonds.

On Panarin, Friedman mentioned that the Bruins "hover[s] as a rental option," while noting that the teams most likely to sign him long-term are the Panthers, Kings, Islanders and Rangers.

Friedman then mentions the Bruins as a team that is looking at both Zuccarello of the Rangers and Simmonds of the Flyers.

Their interest in those guys makes sense, as both are wingers with scoring touch.

Of course, Friedman saying the Bruins are interested doesn't mean a deal is imminent or even likely; he could be wrong, or the team could have kicked the tires then moved on.

But these are three names that have been linked often to the Bruins; would any of them make sense?

Let's start with Panarin. He's the big prize of this year's deadline and will command the highest price. The UFA-to-be has made it reasonably clear where he'd like to sign this summer, and the Bruins have never been mentioned.

He'd improve the Bruins lineup exponentially, but it's not worth it for a two-month rental.

Simmonds is someone many Bruins fans have been pining for for years. He fits the mold of other fan favorites: a guy who plays physical, with a little bit of nasty and a willingness to drop the gloves. He's good on offense too, hovering around 30 goals for the last five seasons.

One could see him being a great fit on David Krejci's wing. He has a modified NTC (12 team no-trade list) and is a UFA after this season.

He's a little less effective than he may have been in his prime, but could be worth a gamble. He's a fan favorite in Philly, so if they let him go, they're going to want a good return.

Lastly, Zuccarello is a left shot who could probably play either wing. He's having his best goal-scoring season in four years (on pace for 21 goals) and is a UFA at season's end.

He's got a little more speed to his game than Simmonds, and could probably be had for a slightly lower price.

Simmonds' physical game might mesh better with Krejci, but Zuccarello could be asked to play on Patrice Bergeron's right to add more depth to the second line.

Of these three, how would you rank your preference?

I'd go: Zuccarello, Simmonds, Panarin.