The Anaheim Ducks currently sport a 23-17-9 record and have won only four out of their last 10 games. Due to this, they have fallen to fourth place in the Pacific Division and hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Yet, both the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers have multiple games in hand and are very close to them in the standings. Thus, if they are unable to turn things around quickly, we could see them sell at the deadline. The Boston Bruins should be hoping this happens, as they have several interesting trade targets.
The Ducks have three big potential rentals who the Bruins should consider pursuing, as they each would help fill a different need that they have. There is also one last player who may not be a superstar, but he also would provide a notable element that they have been lacking all season. Alas, let’s take a look at each player now.
One of the Bruins’ biggest weaknesses this season has been the left side of their defense. Truthfully, that’s been an ongoing issue since last season, but general manager Don Sweeney still hasn’t found a way to fix it. Hampus Lindholm is a defenseman who would provide a legitimate solution to it. However, as he’s a top-four defenseman capable of playing big minutes. He would be an immediate upgrade over what they currently are sporting, and if the Ducks continue to fall in the standings, they may have to trade him. This is because the 28-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA).
Lindholm is an immensely reliable two-way defenseman who can be utilized on both the power play and penalty kill. The Sweden-native is known for his speed and puck-moving ability, so that is something the Bruins should be eager to add if the opportunity presents itself. In 47 games this season, he has five goals, 14 assists, and a plus-7 rating. Overall, his excellent all-around game makes him a very appealing trade target, so it’s impossible not to include him in this list.
Yet, Lindholm’s excellent all-around game would likely cost the Bruins a lot in a potential swap. At a minimum, they likely would have to part ways with their 2022 first-round pick but also at least one of their top prospects as well. One player who specifically comes to mind is Jack Studnicka. Fabian Lysell and Mason Lohrei should be their primary untouchables.
Josh Manson is another very intriguing rental candidate. Although adding a right-handed defenseman may not be the Bruins’ biggest priority right now, it still would be welcomed. They do not have too many options on the right side of their defense, and this is only more apparent with both Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen being sidelined, too. Furthermore, they could use an upgrade from Connor Clifton on the bottom pair, and the longtime Duck would be a significant one.
Manson is an old-fashioned defensive defenseman who would give the Bruins’ blue line more overall stability. Furthermore, he is not easy to play against at all, as he doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game. In 43 games this season, he has three goals, four assists, 49 penalty minutes, and an impressive 112 hits. He’s simply another top-four defenseman who could be made available by the Ducks because of his expiring contract. He is the exact opposite of Lindholm but is someone the Bruins should at least consider.
It’s worth noting the Montreal Canadiens are expecting a first-round pick for defenseman Ben Chiarot in a potential deal. This does correlate with Manson, as they each are top-four defensemen who both play a heavy game. Due to his lack of offensive firepower, the Bruins would probably be wise to avoid trading Studnicka for him, though. Still, it may require them to trade at least one other notable prospect and the third-round pick they acquired from the Calgary Flames during the offseason. Essentially, he may cost them a little less than Lindholm but not by too much.
Rickard Rakell is the last big rental candidate from the Ducks who could be a very good fit on the Bruins. Although captain Ryan Getzlaf also has an expiring contract, he has a no-movement clause, so it’s unlikely he would accept a move elsewhere. I recently discussed the team’s need to upgrade at right wing, and naturally, the former would give them just that. Yet, what is also so appealing about the 28-year-old is that he also can play left wing and center if needed. That degree of versatility is very important, as injuries often occur in this sport. He is also not too expensive with his current $3.8 million cap hit.
In 39 games this season, Rakell has 11 goals, 10 assists, and a minus-2 rating. With numbers like these, he would provide the Bruins with more secondary scoring. Yet, this is even truer if he can replicate his previous offensive numbers. He is only two years removed from recording 42 points in 65 games, so the potential is there for him to be more of a scoring threat. He would be an ideal option for the team’s top-six and power play. Perhaps they could even give him a crack at the second-line center role due to his previous experience at the position, too.
When thinking of the Ducks’ potential asking price for Rakell, perhaps the Taylor Hall trade from last season could be comparable. Their 2022 second-round pick and an NHL-caliber player could maybe get a deal done, as the former has similar offensive numbers as the latter did last season. Trent Frederic could be somebody they consider moving the other way in this swap.
Do you think the Bruins need some toughness? When looking at the lack of responses to dirty plays against them this season, it’s apparent that they do. One player from the Ducks who could be an excellent solution to this ongoing issue is Nicolas Deslauriers. He is extremely active in the physical side of the game and is known for his excellent fighting ability.
In 46 games this season, Deslauriers has two goals, six points, 61 penalty minutes, and a whopping 163 hits. Although he certainly isn’t the biggest of offensive threats, his toughness and grit would make him a very nice addition to the Bruins’ fourth line. When looking at how frequently their forwards are getting injured, it also wouldn’t hurt to have a little more depth. This is especially true with Karson Kuhlman being claimed off waivers and Oskar Steen being back in the American Hockey League (AHL). Unlike the other three above, he likely wouldn’t be too expensive to acquire, as a fourth- or fifth-round pick could probably get a deal done.
Time will tell if the Ducks end up selling this trade deadline season. All four of these players would be nice to have on the Bruins, but obviously, it’s immensely unlikely that they could acquire all of them at once. However, out of the quartet, Lindholm is the one who stands out to me personally. Even with this being so, Rakell and Manson would each be big splashes of their own, while Deslauriers could be a nice and entertaining consolation prize.
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Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, & Detroit Red Wings 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 NHL Trade Rumors.