Bruins ‘believed’ to be in the market for a left defenseman
Report: Bruins ‘thought’ they were looking for left-back who originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Bruins are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season, but they could still use reinforcements before the NHL’s March 3 trade deadline.
There’s no doubt the Bruins would benefit from another defenseman. But what kind of defender could they be aiming for?
Here’s what Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wrote in his latest 32 Thoughts column on Wednesday:
7. Boston is also believed to be in the left defense market. Wouldn’t be surprised if they checked out Jakob Chychrun and Vladislav Gavrikov, among others. They have a special chemistry, and altering that can be dangerous. But it’s been an absolutely crazy year because you don’t know how long the band will be together. You also don’t know how long you’ll have your top two centers combined for $3.5 million from the cap – an absolute giveaway from Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. (Yes, they will have to deal with bonuses next season, but it’s still a gift.)
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The Bruins are in pretty good shape on the left side of the blue line.
Hampus Lindholm is on the verge of setting a new career single-season points high, and he’s been playing like a true top-tier defenseman all season. His excellent two-way performance gave the Bruins two legitimate No. 1 defensemen, as well as Charlie McAvoy. Boston hasn’t been in this position for a while.
Matt Grzelcyk also plays well on the left side. He drove puck possession at a good pace and produced a more consistent offense. Ten of his 19 points have come in the last 15 games. Derek Forbort was a strong physical presence during the third pairing and one of the most important players in the league’s top shorthanded ranking. He ranks No. 1 on the Bs with 5.53 blocked shots per 60 minutes.
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Boston also has veteran defenseman Mike Reilly, who is a left-handed pitcher buried in the minors with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Jakub Zboril also plays on the left side.
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So the B’s have pretty good depth on the left back, but there’s always room for improvement.
Chychrun would be an upgrade over Grzelcyk. They have similar skills, but Chychrun is a bit more skilled and can better withstand bigger and tougher competition. He’s also signed for two more seasons with a $4.6 million salary cap. While Chychrun is an exciting attacking player, durability is a concern. He battled multiple injuries throughout his career and played more than 60 games in just two of his first six seasons with the Coyotes. Chychrun had 25 points (five goals, 20 assists) in 34 games, while playing 23:05 per game.
The Bruins reportedly had an interest in Chychrun last season. They ended up making a successful trade for Lindholm, which worked out really well. The asking price for Chychrun would have been very high, and since he’s not a free agent this summer, the Coyotes don’t have to rush with him.
Gavrikov would also be a good addition. His scoring is down from last season, but he is playing a physical style, killing penalties and can log over 20 minutes per game against quality competition. He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and has a cap of just $2.8 million.
You can never have enough defensemen for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Bolstering the team’s depth on the blue line, either side, would be a smart approach to the trade deadline for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.