As we head into 2022, there are some weaknesses with the Boston Bruins’ current lineup. At the time of this writing, they have a 14-10-2 record and are fifth in the Atlantic Division. Therefore, they certainly aren’t guaranteed to make the postseason. As a way to change that, it seems inevitable that they are going to make multiple trades by the end of the regular season. When this occurs, it would not be surprising in the slightest to see at least one of these four Bruins players wearing new jerseys by season’s end.
It would be surprising if Jake DeBrusk isn’t traded this season. As all Bruins fans know, the 2015 first-round pick has requested a trade. Even though he has had his struggles over the last two seasons, it has been reported that multiple teams are interested in the 25-year-old winger. This truly isn’t that surprising, as he has two 40-point seasons under his belt. He most notably scored 27 goals during his sophomore season, too.
Yet, after recording just 14 points in 41 games last season, DeBrusk has been cold again this campaign. Being disgruntled with the organization obviously doesn’t help, but he has just five goals and eight points in 25 contests. The Bruins must be hoping that his play can pick up once they finally return to the ice, as it will only heighten his trade value. If the team finally strikes a deal for a second-line center, left-handed defenseman or top-six right winger, he will likely be one of the pieces heading the other way.
Zach Senyshyn is the other 2015 first-round pick who has requested a trade from the Bruins. When it comes to his trade value, it’s extremely low. At 24 years old, he has only played a total of 14 career NHL games. In them, he scored an empty-net goal and added two assists. The Ottawa native wants the chance to become an everyday NHL player, and that clearly isn’t going to happen in Boston. If the franchise had faith in him, he would be given opportunities.
It’s apparent that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was entirely incorrect for drafting Senyshyn so much earlier than scouts predicted. It put an immense amount of unnecessary pressure on the winger and with that, it’s another reason why he wants a fresh start. Ultimately, it would be nice to see him get more playing time as a member of a different organization. At this point, it feels like both parties would benefit from moving past this disastrous chapter. A trade involving him would likely get back a late draft pick or fellow American Hockey League (AHL) player.
The Bruins surprised fans when they opted to waive Chris Wagner at the start of the season. Over the three previous seasons, he had a permanent spot on the Bruins’ fourth line. Yet, the team was impressed by Anton Blidh and Karson Kuhlman’s play more during training camp, so the 30-year-old winger has since been playing with the Providence Bruins. In 18 games with the AHL squad, he has five goals and an assist.
When it comes to Wagner, he could find himself traded before the end of the season. It is less likely than DeBrusk and Senyshyn, sure, but it’s hard to believe that Boston wouldn’t move him if given the chance to. Keep in mind, he has proved himself as a bottom-six forward over the last handful of years and teams could be willing to give him a shot because of this. Perhaps even a rebuilding franchise would take him off their hands if the Bruins sent a draft pick or two along with him. With injuries and illnesses piling up around the entire league, it doesn’t seem out of the question.
If the Bruins decide to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline, one prospect who could be dealt is defenseman Urho Vaakanainen. The 2017 first-round pick has yet to cement himself as a true NHL defenseman, and it’s starting to feel that he may never receive that opportunity with the Bruins. Even with the Bruins being weak on the left side of their defensive group, the 22-year-old is still playing for Providence. Furthermore, he’s fallen lower on the depth chart, as the team opted to call up John Moore and Jack Ahcan over him on multiple occasions this season.
After recording 14 points in 30 games with Providence during the 2018-19 season, Vaakanainen’s production has dropped off rather noticeably. He had just 14 points in 54 games the following season and then had three points in 11 games last year. Yet, due to the fact that he’s still just 22 years old, there could be other teams interested in the prospect. Don’t be surprised to see him as a piece heading back the other way in a move later this season.
It will be interesting to see which of these four end up traded by the end of the season. The most likely candidate has to be DeBrusk, with Senyshyn just behind him. No matter what ends up happening, all the Bruins can hope for is that they make their team stronger in the process. It’s truly needed if they hope to be in the postseason this spring.
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.