Bruins’ 2022-23 Trade Targets: Vancouver Canucks

Although many hockey fans believed that the Boston Bruins were going to fall off this season, that certainly has not been the case at all. At the time of this writing, they sport a dominant 19-3-0 record and are at the top of the Atlantic Division. As a result, they are understandably expected to be buyers at the trade deadline. One team that general manager (GM) Don Sweeney should consider doing business with is the struggling Vancouver Canucks. They have three rather intriguing trade candidates that should be on the Bruins’ radar. Let’s discuss them.

Bo Horvat

NHL insider Frank Seravalli named the Bruins as a team who could potentially pursue Bo Horvat in his recent Trade Targets piece for Daily Faceoff, and it does make sense. The pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) would be a major addition to the Bruins’ roster as they prepare for the playoffs, as he would provide them with another legitimate star. Furthermore, if an extension is agreed upon following the hypothetical move, he would be the Bruins’ eventual replacement for legend Patrice Bergeron.

Bo Horvat Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In the short term, Horvat could center the Bruins’ second or even third line if acquired. Having a trio of him, Bergeron, and David Krejci down the middle would make Boston unstoppable, so why shouldn’t Sweeney consider the prospect of making a push for the 2013 first-round pick? With that, Horvat’s offensive game has been marvelous this season (17 goals and 24 points in 24 games), so he would have a guaranteed spot on the Bruins’ power play, too. However, his defensive play is also very impressive, so he would surely assist Bergeron with penalty-kill duties.

The Bruins would need to part ways with a good amount to have any chance to acquire Horvat, however. Their 2023 first-round pick and Mason Lohrei may be a starting point for this transaction to go through. However, from a financial standpoint, the Bruins would also need to add NHL players like Trent Frederic and Craig Smith to help this move go through. Furthermore, if Vancouver retains some of Horvat’s salary, Boston’s 2025 second-round pick would also need to be thrown into the swap.

Andrei Kuzmenko

Although the idea of acquiring Horvat is fun to think about, there’s another Canucks forward who should be grabbing the Bruins’ attention. Andrei Kuzmenko has been spectacular in his first NHL season, and the truth is in his statistics. In 23 games thus far, the 5-foot-11 winger has 11 goals, 10 assists, and a plus-4 rating. Although the Canucks would love to keep him around because of this, that is certainly not guaranteed given his pending UFA status. Thus, if an extension is not finalized when the deadline is near, Kuzmenko will be one of Vancouver’s top rental candidates.

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Kuzmenko would be an outstanding addition to the Bruins’ middle six. Since he can play both wings, Boston would have several options when it comes to his placement in their lineup. For example, the 26-year-old could replace Pavel Zacha at second-line left wing, while Zacha could take over Frederic’s current third-line right wing spot. Yet, Kuzmenko could also simply take over Frederic’s third-line role as well. Either way, the Bruins’ offense would become immensely deeper if they brought in another player with point-per-game potential like Kuzmenko.

However, the best aspect about Kuzmenko is that he carries an easily affordable $950,000 cap hit. As a result, this makes him an easier trade target to acquire than Horvat. The Bruins could throw in Frederic ($1.05 million cap hit), prospect Brett Harrison, and their 2023 first-round pick to help make this move go through.

Luke Schenn

Another Canuck who could be a very good addition to the Bruins is veteran defenseman Luke Schenn. The 33-year-old is currently playing the best hockey of his career right now, so there will be a ton of interest in him around the league near the deadline. In 24 games on the year thus far, he has two goals, eight points, and a plus-9 rating. Yet, he has made his biggest impact when it comes to his physicality, as he already has a whopping 101 hits. Only Philadelphia Flyers forward Nicolas Deslauriers has more with 105.

Luke Schenn Vancouver Canucks
Luke Schenn, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

When looking at the Bruins’ lineup, it’s fair to say that they could use a defenseman like Schenn. He would provide Boston with a bit more toughness as they get ready for the playoffs, and that’s an area that Boston would benefit from improving. Furthermore, he would have a real chance of taking over Connor Clifton’s spot on the bottom pairing if acquired. Yet, even if he was an extra defenseman for Boston, he would be an excellent one to have given his very reliable defensive play and plethora of experience.

Schenn only carries an $850,000 cap hit, so he is a player who the Bruins could afford with relative ease. One player who could head the other way in this hypothetical swap is 2015 first-round pick Jakub Zboril ($1,137,500 cap hit). However, the Bruins would also likely need to throw in their 2023 third-round pick to help finalize this move.

Nevertheless, the Bruins have some players worth considering from the Canucks. Out of the trio, Horvat would of course be the biggest splash, but Kuzmenko and Schenn also have the potential to be notable additions for Boston if acquired. Alas, we will have to see if the 2011 Stanley Cup Final opponents strike a deal before the deadline passes.

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