After a very good road trip, the Boston Bruins now have a 14-8-2 record and are starting to look more like a legitimate playoff team. The Arizona Coyotes are in an entirely different position, however, as they are 5-20-2 and are at the bottom of the NHL standings. Given the fact that they traded away multiple core members during the offseason, this was to be expected. Yet, even with all of this, they are likely to continue selling as the season continues and the Bruins should be calling them.
Although the Bruins have been starting to heat up a bit more as of late, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to start exploring the trade market more frequently. The Coyotes do not necessarily have too many notable options left to choose from, but these three players could certainly help the Bruins if acquired. They each would have different roles in Boston, but also could provide upgrades to them, in theory.
If the Coyotes make Lawson Crouse available as the season continues, the Bruins should seriously take a look at him. The 24-year-old winger is having himself solid campaign, as he has six goals and 11 points in 27 games. Although the production isn’t necessarily that high, it’s certainly acceptable enough for him to be an excellent addition for Boston’s bottom six. With that, he plays a very physical game, as evidenced by his 67 hits already this season.
At 24 years old, Crouse still has room for further development, too. The former 2015 first-round pick may not be that legitimate top-six winger that many expected, but he has been able to offer very solid depth scoring over his career. For example, besides this campaign, he also scored 15 goals and had 25 points in 66 games during the 2019-20 season. One has to wonder if a change of scenery could help him take that next offensively. He could be a piece that heads the other way in a potential Jake DeBrusk trade, as he of course is another 2015 first-round pick himself.
Crouse has a very affordable contract, as he only possesses a $1,533,333 cap hit. He is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, though, so he will understandably be due for a raise if he continues to play this well. We have seen the Bruins get roughed up a bit this season, too, so he also could provide them with a bit more sandpaper that they truly need.
Although Travis Boyd wouldn’t be the flashiest of additions for the Bruins, he would offer them more depth down the middle. The Coyotes quietly signed him to a one-year, $750,000 contract during the offseason and it’s working out very nicely for them. In 20 games so far, the 28-year-old has six goals and 10 points. With Arizona, he’s been given the chance to play at the NHL level on a more regular basis and he’s making a very solid case to stay.
Boyd is a player who could potentially slot in the bottom-six. I recently discussed a few third-line center options for the Bruins and perhaps he could fill the role if he continues to produce at this pace. Erik Haula looked solid when switched to left wing, so that is a possible avenue the Bruins could go down if they want to play things conservatively.
Yet, Boyd could also fit well as a potential fourth-line center for the Bruins, too. Tomas Nosek is another versatile forward who can play left wing and the same can be said with Curtis Lazar with the right side. When everyone is healthy, the Bruins have Anton Blidh and Karson Kuhlman as their depth forwards, but Boyd could be a nice veteran addition in this aspect, too. Acquiring him wouldn’t cost the Bruins too much, either.
Phil Kessel’s tenure with the Boston Bruins certainly didn’t end well, as he would be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs immediately after his entry-level contract expired in 2009. This left a sour taste in the mouths of Bruin fans, but it’s now been over a decade since then, so perhaps they’ve moved on. The 34-year-old would surely strengthen the team’s right wing position, so this could be an intriguing reunion to explore. Back in 2019, when the Pittsburgh Penguins were shopping him, he put the Bruins on his eight-team trade list, so he wasn’t against a return to Boston not too long ago.
Although the Bruins need to upgrade at center, one could argue the same thing when it comes to right wing. We’ve seen a lot of mixing and matching at this position, but especially when it comes to the third line. Nick Foligno seems to be the primary option for it, but Kuhlman also has gotten into his fair share of action there, too. With a DeBrusk trade looming, it also could allow Foligno to move back to his natural left wing while opening the door for a legitimate top-six to middle-six right winger. Kessel surely fits that description.
In 27 games this season, Kessel hasn’t necessarily been dominating, as he has four goals and 15 points. However, even with the slow start for his standards, he actually would be tied fourth on the Bruins in points with Charlie McAvoy. He is also known for his immense durability, he’s played a whopping 927 games straight without an injury. All of this could make him a solid addition to Boston’s roster for a playoff run, but the Coyotes would need to retain some of his $6.8 million cap hit in a hypothetical swap. Given the fact that they are rebuilding and he has an expiring contract, it’s hard to imagine them being against it.
The player that every NHL team wants the most from the Coyotes is defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Although he has struggled this season, he is a legitimate top-pairing defenseman and only has a $4.6 million cap hit for the next four seasons. However, he is the player Arizona is building around, so it seems like a longshot that they’d be willing to move him. Can you imagine a pair with him and Charlie McAvoy, though? That would make the Bruins a lot stronger on paper.
Time will tell if the Bruins view the Coyotes as a potential trading partner as we inch closer to the deadline. Although they may not be able to provide the Bruins with a legitimate superstar for their playoff run, these three options are certainly worth considering at a minimum. At the end of the day, whether it’s with the Bruins or other teams, the Coyotes are surely to be sellers.
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Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, & Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHL Trade Rumors.