According to Eklund’s post this morning, the Boston Bruins are making a BIG push for Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien. This is hardly the first rumor involving Byfuglien and Boston. It is yet another in a steady line of rumors indicating Boston GM Don Sweeney is still in the market for proven NHL talent on the blueline.
For the Black & Gold, there’s a lot to like about Byfuglien. From a production standpoint, he’s scored 20 and 18 goals in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively (tallying 56 and 48 points in those years). Those are the types of numbers Bruins fans and management were hoping to see from Dougie Hamilton in the coming years - there’s an obvious age difference (Byfuglien is 30, Hamilton 22) but a known point producer versus one who will achieve those numbers in theory can’t be a bad thing.
That’s all simply point production. Byfuglien’s game is about much more than that.
Anyone watching saw a significant and troubling drop off in the team’s edge and difficulty to play against - Byfuglien comes with size and snarl. Truly the cornerstone attributes of what B’s execs look for in a prototypical Bruin.
“Big Buff’s” versatility, especially on the powerplay, increases his value to any club looking at bringing him in, and given the Bruins off-again on-again (mostly off-again) powerplay in the Claude Julien era they have to appreciate this aspect of Byfuglien’s game as much as any.
In terms of cost, it’s glaringly obvious that a big haul will be required by Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. I’d expect one of Boston’s two first round picks in 2016 will be involved, along with a promising prospect on the blueline. The Jets can choose from a few options here: Colin Miller, Zach Trotman, and Joe Morrow could all be sought after by Winnipeg in the Byfuglien package.
Then there’s the active roster - a lot has been made about Dennis Seidenberg being moved this offseason. However, for me, this seems like a hopeful, borderline unrealistic scenario from the B’s fan base. Given “Seids” contract and concerns over his physical abilities moving forward. Seidenberg will need to show a return to form before any value can be found if the Bruins plan to send no. 44 out of town. In the forward group there only seems to be a couple players the Black & Gold would be comfortable parting with - Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson jump to mind.
The trouble with Kelly is the place he holds in the heart and mind of Claude Julien. The coach certainly wouldn’t be a happy man parting ways with one of his most trusted defensive centers and established leaders in the room.
Eriksson would most likely intrigue a club like Winnipeg as a bonafide 20 goal scorer (he had 36 in 08-09, too). So long as the club was comfortable with his expiring $4.25mil cap hit.
There are certainly assets available for the Bruins to make this deal. What Don Sweeney is willing to offer for Byfuglien’s services could hinge largely on whether or not he sees Buff as a long term option, or a one year fit.
Either way, it would be another big splash for the new Bruins GM and a continuation of a very active offseason meant to shake up and re-direct the club back towards legitimate Stanley Cup conderdership.