The Boston Bruins currently have a 22-11-2 record and appear to once again be a legitimate playoff team. There were some concerns about them with the way they started the season. Yet, after winning eight out of their last nine games, it’s fair to say that doubts are starting to fade away. Even with this being so, it’s also apparent that they should be aggressive as we inch closer to the trade deadline. One area where they could improve specifically is on defense.
At this point of the season, there already are some very interesting defensemen who have been coming up in the rumor mill. Thus, if the Bruins wanted to make a big splash on the back end, they do have a handful of very good options. The need for a second-line center is certainly there, but the same can be said when it comes to their defense, too. Let’s discuss a handful of their potential big-name defenseman who they should target.
Jakob Chychrun would be the perfect answer for the Bruins’ struggles on the left side. They certainly would benefit from adding a legitimate top-pairing defenseman to play with Charlie McAvoy, and there’s no better option than the Coyotes’ best player. Even with this being the case, it’s important to note that the 23-year-old has struggled this season. In 26 games, he has two goals, five assists, and a minus-29 rating. However, he is just one season removed from a 41-point campaign in just 56 games last season. Thus, a bounce-back is surely on the way from him. He’s too good to continue to produce this little.
Chychrun also comes with a fantastic contract. He’s locked up at a $4.6 million cap hit until the completion of the 2024-25 season. Although he has struggled this season, this is a complete steal for a player who is capable of playing on the top pair. However, the price to acquire a defenseman of his caliber is immensely high. This may be an issue for the Bruins, as they do not possess the strongest prospect pool. Yet, if possible, Boston needs to partake in the sweepstakes. A defenseman with that good of a contract like him isn’t available too often.
Mark Giordano would be a sweet consolation prize for the left side of the Bruins’ defensive group. The longtime Calgary Flames captain found himself selected by the Seattle Kraken in last summer’s expansion draft and now holds the same role there. However, general manager Ron Francis stated earlier this season that he’s not against the idea of trading the veteran defenseman. If officially made available, he would instantly become one of the top rental candidates available. When seeing as how the Kraken have an 11-23-4 record, it certainly seems possible.
Giordano would instantly become another leader on Boston’s roster, and a playoff team can never have too many of those. Like Chychrun, however, he is having a bit of a down year himself. In 32 games, he has four goals, eight assists, and a minus-15 rating. The 38-year-old did have 26 points in 56 games with the Flames just last season and won the Norris Trophy only three years ago. Thus, there is hope that he could rebound. Furthermore, he would cost the Bruins far less in a hypothetical swap, too.
John Klingberg may be a right-handed defenseman, but he would still be an excellent addition to the Bruins. It appears that general manager Don Sweeney is thinking the same thing, as according to Jim Murphy of Boston Hockey Now, the Bruins are showing interest in the 29-year-old. The Swedish defenseman has requested a trade from the Dallas Stars, and the franchise is actively working to get a deal done. Although he would be a pricey rental, it has great potential to be worth it.
Klingberg is a very gifted offensive defenseman. In 30 games this season, he has a goal and 17 points, but even that solid of production is a bit low for his standards. Keep in mind, he just recorded 36 points in 53 games and has had his ice time dropped as of late. If the Bruins acquired him, they would have an extremely strong right side of him, McAvoy, and Brandon Carlo. With that, he would also give the Bruins a top-of-the-line quarterback for the power play. They have been missing that a lot since Torey Krug left and signed with the St. Louis Blues.
The Anaheim Ducks are slowly starting to crash back down to Earth. Although they still have a 19-15-7 record, they have won only two out of their last 10 games and are looking more like the rebuilding team we all expected them to be. If this trend continues, we could see them elect to sell at the trade deadline. One of their pending unrestricted free agents is Hampus Lindholm, and he’d be a great addition to the Bruins’ top four.
Lindholm is a bit underrated and may not be as popular as the three players above. However, the 2012 first-round pick is having himself another very good season this year. In 39 games, he has five goals, 10 assists, and a plus-5 rating. That kind of production from the back end is impressive and something Boston would surely love to have. With that, he’s similar to Klingberg in the fact that he works well on the power play. However, he also plays reliably and can be utilized on the penalty kill, so he provides a bit of everything. If made available, the Bruins should seriously consider pursuing him. He’d be an upgrade over what they currently have on the left side.
Time will tell if the Bruins decide to prioritize adding a big-name defenseman at the deadline. The need for a center is certainly there, and one could even argue it’s more important. Yet, if the door is potentially open for the Bruins to do both, why shouldn’t they at least try? The Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Tuukka Rask era isn’t going to last forever. If the Bruins were to add one of these defensemen, it would be a big sign that they are aiming to win one last Stanley Cup with the veterans. Alas, let’s see what occurs over these next few months.
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.