By Erik Caron
Follow me on Twitter @ErikCaron20
The Bruins are coming in to camp with “too many NHL defensemen” this season which is honestly something I never thought I’d hear ever.
The Bruins are out of cap space and officially handcuffed for the time being since they still have to resign two important pieces in Torey Krug and Reilly Smith. They could wait until day one of the season when the Savard cap hit of roughly four million can be used for relief when he is officially put on ltr but it doesn’t seem likely. There is a strong argument from many that a trade has to be made to move a defenseman or two. The popular choice and the one that would fetch the most value is trading defenseman Johnny Boychuk. The popular idea that is being debated is to trade Boychuk to Edmonton for young stud Nail Yakupov.
Personally I don’t see this as a full home run for the Bruins. There are positives to this deal though. If Yakupov can learn the Bruins system he would be able to fill the team’s need for a skillful right wing. Yakupov is entering the final year of his entry level contract. That fact alone is huge for the Bruins considered they are handcuffed to the salary cap bed. The problem I see though is I don’t think the Bruins can run the table in the playoffs without Boychuk in their defensemen group.
The lack of salary cap space and wealth of defensemen will force GM Peter Chiarelli to make a move in some capacity.
“Our GM (Peter Chiarelli) is a mastermind,” Boychuk told the Edmonton Journal. “He’s good with doing things like (cap struggles) and we have some good players we’ve developed the last couple of years, but nobody’s heard of them over on the west side (NHL).”
A deal can be made without moving Boychuk even if it doesn’t bring as much value back. I would argue packaging forward Chris Kelly with defensemen Adam McQuaid or Matt Bartkowski. Kelly has become expendable with the emergence of Soderberg and the fact the Bruins have other young centers waiting in the pipeline. Some might hate me for suggesting that the Bruins move Bartkowski but the fact is when everyone is healthy he doesn’t have a spot in the lineup.
You might not be able to get a Yakupov back but that should be enough to get a forward by the name of David Perron. He currently plays on the left wing but he is a right shot which is something the Bruins need. I think that trade would help Edmonton in the sense that they need an established 3rd line center. Kelly also brings proven leadership to a young team still looking for direction.
Whatever Chiarelli does he should avoid trading Boychuk this season because he would be losing a valuable piece to the puzzle.