It's mid-February, and the trade deadline frenzy is almost here! Although, we’re not likely to see much of a "frenzy".
Too many teams are still in the playoff race with the loser point making the standings seem tighter than they are. Many of those teams think they're this years St Louis Blues (still not over it) and if they can find a way into the postseason then "anything can happen". This makes the trade market have considerably more buyers than sellers so there aren't many targets out there for Stanley Cup hopefuls, big names or otherwise.
According to the Bobfather, Bob Mckenzie, the Bruins have had a hand in every cookie jar around the league, calling teams about player availability and such. The biggest name target for teams is New York Ranger winger, Chris Kreider.
Chris Kreider has a respectable statline of 54-22-18-40. He would sit fourth on the Bruins currently in goals and the B’s need that type of finish added to their roster.
As good as young players like Karson Kuhlman, Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk have been, the Bruins haven't seen the type of finish that they'd like, outside of DeBrusk. Jake DeBrusk has 18 goals on the year.
Adding Kreider to this lineup would look soooo good on paper. It'd be hard not to see the Bruins in the Cup final again. At least that's what the expectation would be.
The big problem for the Bruins in obtaining Kreids is price.
The haul that the Minnesota Wild got for winger Jason Zucker in a deal with the Penguins was pretty large and this was definitely a "market setting" deal. Jason Zucker, 45-14-15-29, with three years left after this season on his current deal at 5.5 mil per year cap hit, for forward Alex Galchenyuk, 46-5-12-17, top Penguins prospect, defenseman Calen Addison and a first round pick in the upcoming draft.
Pretty fair trade for both sides I’d say considering the term left on Zucker’s contract. While the Penguins traded a roster player in Galchenyuk, I doubt the Bruins would want to do that in a potential deal for Kreider. Therefore, a potential deal for Kreider could look like:
Rangers trade: Chris Kreider
Both guys are close to, if not, NHL caliber forwards and a 1st will almost be certain in any deal for Kreider. That seems a little steep for GM Don Sweeney who has said in the past that he doesn't like trading his 1st rounders.
Let's say the 1st is "untouchable" for Donny. If that's the case, the Bruins would have to part with a roster player like Heinen or Bjork. That would also be a bad idea because the upgrade would only be slight and the Bruins are most likely not going to be able to resign him in July. Either way, these prices seem pretty high for the Bruins.
What if there was a potential deal with the Rangers that made sending a guy like Heinen or Bjork, or giving up a 1st round pick more tolerable? What if the Bruins proposed an offer like this?
Rangers trade: Chris Kreider, Alexander Georgiev and Greg McKegg
Now that's a lot of moving parts but this gives the Bruins an upgrade on goal scoring and the Rangers get a cost controlled, young and smart player in Heinen. Now if this trade were to be discussed, there might also be other pieces added like conditional picks or lower grade prospects but this would be the core deal.
What makes it interesting is Rangers goaltender Georgiev (24). He’s a RFA at seasons end and the B’s 1B goaltender, Jaro Halak, contract is up as well. The B’s don't currently have a reliable option in the system for if Halak walks. This way, the B’s get that reliable option.
The Rangers are likely to trade the upcoming RFA because they are currently rotating 3 goalies and between franchise star Henrik Lundqvist and young stud Igor Shesterkin, Georgiev seems to be the odd man out.
McKegg, 44-3-3-6, is a career fourth liner and is added to the deal so that Sweeney feels like he’s adding a forward to the rosters depth.
When it comes to the added prospects, Zboril and Keyser just seem to make sense here. In a trade like this, the Bruins should have all prospects for sale except Vaakanainen, Studnicka, Beecher and, hopefully, Lauzon; although, that won’t stop the Rangers from asking.
If the Bruins think Halak may in fact re-sign on a team friendly deal to play half a season behind a contender, then maybe the Bruins ask for disgruntled center Lias Andersson.
Lias is a former 7th overall pick who has asked for a trade earlier this season after being juggled around the organization and is now playing in Sweden for HV71.
Andersson is still very young (21) and needs a change of scenery. He would be a decent chance at a Krejci replacement when the time comes. You could argue Studnicka is to be Krejci’s replacement but I don't like to put all of my eggs in one basket. Andersson would also likely bring the price down a bit as Georgiev likely has more value being a somewhat proven commodity.
Prices are going to be steep for deadline pick ups this year. Maybe the Bruins can try and make the prices a little more worthwhile if they ask for a little bit more with a focus on the future.