3 Bruins That Could Be Moved Before the Trade Deadline

Like every other team fighting for a postseason berth in the NHL, the Boston Bruins have needs on their roster if they are going to get to where they want to go. In order to fill those needs, general manager Don Sweeney will attempt the fill them through a trade. 

In late November, the Bruins front office got a trade request from Jake DeBrusk as the 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft has asked out of Boston after being a healthy scratch against the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 28. Zach Senyshyn was selected one pick after DeBrusk, has also requested a trade, but he was placed on waivers earlier this season and passed on by the other 31 teams. His value is not as high as he or his agent might think it is.

If a deal is going to be made, Sweeney has an opportunity to move some NHL-ready prospects, but in order to turn it into a deal where the Bruins get what they need in return, Sweeney might have to include someone off of the current roster too. Here are three Bruins that could be traded before the March deadline to help bring back a need in return.

Mike Reilly

Acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline in April of 2021, Reilly was a puck-moving, left-shot offensive defenseman the Bruins were looking for. He had nine assists in 15 games following the trade and played in all situations. Like most of his teammates, he struggled as the playoffs went along, but was still brought back in the offseason on a three-year, $9 million contract.

Mike Reilly, Boston Bruins
Mike Reilly, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Things have not gone as well this season as they did following the trade for the blueliner. Reilly has struggled at times, turning the puck over, failing to clear the puck out of the zone, and being caught up ice creating odd-man rushes. He has been suspect on the penalty kill, being on the ice for some key goals scored against.

Boston is in need of another left-shot defenseman, especially with Jakub Zboril lost of the season with an injury. Reilly is someone that could be an interest to other teams on a deal that carries a $3 million cap hit with two more years remaining on his contract after this season. He is not untouchable and if he can be part of a deal to upgrade the blue line on the left side, he is something worth considering moving as part of a deal.

Craig Smith

This might be a stretch, but it’s safe to say that things have not gone as planned for Smith in his first year and a half with the Bruins. A 20-goal scorer in five of his first nine seasons with the Nashville Predators, he signed a three-year, $9 million free-agent contract in October of 2020. In his first season with the Black and Gold, he had 13 goals and 19 assists in 54 games. This season has been much different.

Craig Smith Boston Bruins
Craig Smith, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bouncing around between the first, second, and third lines, he has six goals and eight assists in 36 games. Last season when the Bruins acquired Taylor Hall at the trade deadline, the second line of Smith, David Krejci, and Hall supplied much-needed secondary scoring behind the top line. When Krejci decided not to return for the 2021-22 season, Charlie Coyle slid up to take the second line center spot and things did not click with Hall, Coyle, and Smith this season. Following the league shutdown during Christmas, Smith was moved up to the first line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron in an effort to get the 32-year-old going offensively. 

Related: 3 Bruins Tradable Prospects for 2022 Trade Deadline

On a recent three-game road trip, Smith was moved to the third line after nearly a month of not being productive with Marchand and Bergeron. It is not for a lack of effort when Smith has not been able to produce this season, but maybe a change of scenery could do him some good. The two most pressing needs for Boston are a second-line center and left-shot defensemen, but if the Vancouver Canucks make Conor Garland available, making room for the Massachusetts native and moving Smith is a move that Sweeney would need to seriously consider.

Jake DeBrusk

Of the three names on this list, obviously, this one is the most likely to be moved and has the opportunity to have the most upside with a new team. In November, he requested a trade following a healthy scratch against the Canucks, and the former first-round pick in 2015, who was a healthy scratch multiple times last season, would like a change of scenery.

Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins
Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There is no doubt that the talent is there for him to be a consistent 20-goal scorer. In 2018-19, he scored a career-high 27 goals, then was on his way to a second consecutive 20-goal season in 2019-20 with 19 when the season was paused in March of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the last two seasons in 78 games, he has just 12 goals and 17 assists.

Related: Reviewing the Bruins’ 2015 Draft

Sweeney has made it clear that he is in no rush to move DeBrusk and will wait for a deal that helps the Bruins. Since the trade request, Boston has needed DeBrusk with a three-game suspension to Marchand and injuries to some of the other left wings. During that time, the case could be made that he has increased his trade value for Boston. 

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