With the NHL trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Boston Bruins are a team that could certainly use help through a deadline deal. It will certainly be interesting to see if Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli will make a move, or a few moves like last year, by the today’s 3 p.m. deadline. My personal opinion is that Boston absolutely has to make a move to solidify this team as a legitimate playoff contender. Don’t get me wrong, this 2011-12 Bruins team is a great team, but you have to look at things this season that haven’t quite gone in Boston’s favor.
Tim Thomas has not been the same this year as he was last year. His play has been iffy over the last two months as he has allowed more goals and accumulated a worse save percentage in January and February, than he did the first three months of the season. Granted, Thomas does have a combined winning record of 9-6 in January and February, but he has allowed three or more goals nine times in those 15 games. His play has been noticeably different, as compared to the first three months of the season. The reason? We don’t know. Thomas has however, been the topic of controversy in after he did not attend a visit to the White House and President Barack Obama at the end of last month. Could this controversy attribute to his below average play? Maybe. Thomas’ contract will expire at the end of next season. This raises the question of whether or not to trade Thomas and let the goalie of the future, Tuukka Rask, take over. Rask has proven to be a stellar National Hockey League goaltender, but hasn’t received the opportunity to be a full-time starter because of Thomas. Do you go with the 37 year old in Thomas, or pass the torch over to the 24 year old Rask? I believe that Thomas is an extremely valuable part to this Bruins team, as he is a goaltender that can stand on his head and lead you to another Stanley Cup.
Injuries are another topic which leads me to believe that Boston must make a deadline deal. Both, Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley are important parts to this Bruins team who are absent from the roster due to injury. Horton suffered a concussion from a hit by Philadelphia Flyers forward Tom Sestito back on January 22, 2012. This was Horton’s second concussion in the last seven months. His last concussion came on a hit by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in game three of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. There is no timetable for Horton’s return, but Chiarelli and Bruins management has stated that he will be back at some point this season. Peverley is another guy who the Bruins are noticeably missing. Peverley suffered a third-degree MCL sprain on February 15, 2012 in a shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The timetable for Peverley’s return is approximately another 3-5 weeks. Without these two guys in the lineup, the Boston Bruins are showing that they have been greatly affected.
Another reason I believe that the Boston Bruins need to acquire a player or players at the deadline is the play of it’s current players. David Krejci is having a down year offensively. With 22 games remaining, Krejci needs 21 more points to match his point total from last season (62). Krejci also has a plus/minus of -7, which is a team worst and +30 away from his +23 mark of last season. Chris Kelly has also come back down to earth from his offensive outburst in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, after he was traded to Boston at the trade deadline last season. In 25 postseason games last season, Kelly tallied 13 points in addition to a +11, an average of 0.52 points per game. This season Kelly has accumulated 29 points in 60 games played, an average of 0.48 points per game. This might not seem like a huge deal but when you are relying on young guys such as Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand to be two of the top four point-getters, the veterans scoring is clearly not present. To be a contender to repeat this year, a strong scoring presence, not by second year players, is essential.
There are rumors flying around as to who the Bruins are trying to acquire before 3 p.m. today. General Manager Peter Chiarelli and Bruins management have stressed that they would like to trade for a winger and a defenseman. The winger is pretty self explanatory, as he would be acquired to fill the void of Nathan Horton and the remaining absence of Rich Peverley. The defenseman may be a move that fans might question. However, this move is completely for insurance purposes. With Boston having bad luck with a string of injuries this year, it would not be a bad idea to trade for a defenseman in case any of the top six get injured. This way the Bruins will not have to rely on the likes of Steven Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski to fill in. The names of Dustin Brown, Mike Knuble, Jaroslav Spacek, Johnny Oduya, Steve Ott, Daniel Winnik, T.J. Galiardi, and David Jones have been the buzz of all Boston rumors over the past week. By 3 p.m. today we will know if any of these players, or any other under the radar players, will be joining the black and gold. Stay tuned.