The Boston Bruins are heating up. They have won three of their last four games and sport a 17-11-2 record because of it. However, they still don’t look like a team poised for a long playoff run, and they should explore the trade market to help improve their chances.
Considering possible trading partners, the Columbus Blue Jackets stand out. After a solid start to the 2021-22 season, they have cooled off significantly for a 15-16-1 record, and Boston should be calling to find out the availability of these three players.
Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff recently reported that the Blue Jackets are shopping center Jack Roslovic, which should have immediately grabbed the Bruins’ general manager Don Sweeney’s attention. The Columbus native was acquired by the Blue Jackets last season as a part of the Pierre-Luc Dubois-Patrik Laine swap, and following the trade, he performed the best of the three. In 48 games last season, Roslovic scored 12 goals and 34 points. If he can replicate that in Boston, he would be a great option for the second-line center position.
Yet, this season hasn’t been as good for Roslovic, which is why his name has popped up in the rumor mill. In 31 games, he has five goals and 14 points. Those numbers aren’t terrible – he’d be seventh on the Bruins in scoring – however, the dip in production is noteworthy, although his playing time has dropped significantly this season. Perhaps he could regain his scoring touch if given more opportunities to succeed in Boston.
Roslovic would also be more than a rental for the Bruins. Although he has an expiring deal, at 24 years old, he will be a restricted free agent this summer. After such a strong season just a year ago, there will likely be interest in services from around the league. The Bruins need to jump into the sweepstakes.
Max Domi will likely be moved this season. He’s in the final year of his contract, and the Blue Jackets are starting to fall out of playoff contention – as expected. Given that he can play both left-wing and center, Sweeney must, at least, consider him. The Bruins not only need a potential upgrade down the middle, but they will also potentially need a replacement for Jake DeBrusk at left-wing. When Domi’s on his game, he can produce like a top-six forward; he had a 72-point campaign with the Montreal Canadiens in the 2018-19 season.
Domi has dealt with some injury trouble this season, but when healthy, he’s been solid. In 22 games, he has eight goals, eight assists, and a plus-3 rating. This could be a bounce-back season for the 26-year-old, who had just 24 points in 54 games with Columbus last season. If he can maintain this pace of production, he would be a nice addition to the Bruins.
Domi has had a career of ups and downs, so it’s understandable why some fans might be hesitant to see Sweeney bring him to Boston. However, he would provide the Bruins’ forward group with more offensive firepower. Depth scoring has been a major issue for the team, and he couldn’t possibly make it worse.
Defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov would be a solid addition to the Bruins. The 26-year-old is quietly emerging as a legitimate top-four d-man, and he’s left-handed. Although he’s not a star, like Jakob Chychrun, he would still be a notable upgrade to Boston’s defensive core.
In his third NHL season, Gavrikov is becoming a stronger offensive threat. In 32 games, he has two goals and 16 points. That’s solid production from the back end and also has a plus-3 rating on a struggling Blue Jackets team. With that, he’s providing more overall defensive stability. The 6-foot-3 defenseman also doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game, either. He has an impressive 53 hits on the young campaign, another element of his game that would be welcomed by the Bruins.
The Blue Jackets don’t need to move Gavrikov right now, though. His contract doesn’t expire until after next season, and he only carries a $2.8 million cap hit. Yet, he will become an unrestricted free agent in the 2023 offseason, so they might be willing to explore moving him while his value is at its highest. If he’s not available this season, he would be a solid rental in 2022-23.
In theory, all three Blue Jackets can provide something to the Bruins’ lineup, and it would be hard to find much to complain about if they did arrive in Boston. We’ll have to be patient and see if Sweeney makes any of these moves happen.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks 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 NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.