After their embarrassing loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s fair to say that the Boston Bruins would benefit from making at least one upgrade to their roster. Although you could argue that it was just one game, it’s also telling that it was against a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. The Bruins may sport a very good 22-12-2 record, but they also sometimes make it hard to believe that they are capable of going on another long run. One team that could make for an interesting trading partner to help change that is the Dallas Stars.
Although the Stars have some players who the Bruins could target, they aren’t in a position to commit to selling yet. At this point of the season, they have an 18-16-2 record and are sixth in the Central Division. However, they also are behind multiple teams in the Wild Card race. If they eventually fall out of the running completely, it seems probable that they will trade players at the deadline. If so, the Bruins would have some pretty interesting options to choose from.
With the Bruins already expressing interest in John Klingberg, it’s impossible not to say he’s one of their trade targets. If acquired, he would make the Bruins’ right side on defense among the strongest in the entire league. Truthfully, a legitimate top-four left-handed defenseman would be ideal, but it’s almost impossible not to at least consider adding the 29-year-old. Offensive defensemen of his caliber are not often put on the trading block. He’d be a significant upgrade over Connor Clifton and could slot nicely on a pair with defensive defenseman Derek Forbort.
Klingberg’s decrease in ice time has negatively impacted his season a bit, though. In 31 games, he has a goal, 16 assists, and a minus-14 rating. Furthermore, he has openly discussed his frustration with the organization when it comes to their lack of extension talks, so he would welcome a move. Therefore, if presented the chance to play for a new team, we very well could see the Klingberg of old appear. Keep in mind, this is a defenseman who has 66 goals and 344 points in 509 career games. That’s very good production from the back end, and the Bruins would certainly benefit from adding it to their roster.
Joe Pavelski is a very intriguing player to watch as we inch closer to the trade deadline. The 37-year-old forward has a three-team trade list, so one could argue it’s more likely that he will finish the year in Dallas. However, if the Stars remain out of the playoff picture as the season continues, it could spark the veteran to be more open to a move. He has yet to win a Stanley Cup during his long career and may want the chance to do so. Thus, if the Stars were to make him available, the Bruins should do their due diligence and call about him.
Besides the need for an upgrade on defense, the Bruins also are without a legitimate second-line center. Pavelski offers versatility, as he is capable of playing both center and right wing. If acquired by Boston, however, he would more likely play down the middle. He would be a massive addition for the Bruins, and the truth is in his current statistics. In 36 games on the campaign, he has 16 goals, 22 assists, and a plus-10 rating. Adding a point-per-game player to this roster would be spectacular, but he would need to approve of any move, of course.
Out of the trio of Dallas’ big-name rentals, Alexander Radulov is having the worst year and by a significant margin. He’s struggling heavily, as he has just one goal and 11 helpers in 31 games. It certainly is a complete change of pace from just last season, too. In only 11 games with the Stars the year before, he had four goals and 12 points. Furthermore, he also had two 72-point campaigns in recent memory, so he should be capable of producing more. Could the Bruins look at his past production and consider him?
If Radulov were to find his old form as we get closer to the deadline, he could be another player the Bruins would benefit from adding. Although not talked about as frequently, the Bruins do not have the strongest depth at right wing. The 35-year-old could help change that, but that is assuming he begins to perform like a top-six forward again. Furthermore, if a move were to occur, he would have to accept it just like Pavelski. He currently holds a 15-team no-trade list. That’s easier to work with, though.
For our fourth player, let’s look at Michael Raffl. He’s far less flashy than the three players above, but also a realistic option for the Bruins. This is especially the case if the Stars begin to fall even further out of the playoff race. The 33-year-old is the kind of veteran that playoff teams love to add for depth. Just last season, he was a rental for the Washington Capitals and did have some decent moments with them. If the Bruins were to target him, it wouldn’t require them to give up much, either.
In 35 games this season with the Stars, Raffl has four goals and five assists. When looking at this, it’s fair to say that he would give them another bottom-six option for the playoffs. Depth is immensely important to have, and that’s especially the case when looking at how both injuries and illnesses are very common this season. Furthermore, they just lost Karson Kuhlman to the Seattle Kraken through waivers, so maybe Raffl can take over his spot as the team’s extra forward.
The possibility of the Stars selling at the deadline will depend solely on how they perform from here. They are not out of the playoff hunt at all, but they will need to start winning more regularly to make it. However, if they aren’t able to climb up in the standings, these four rental candidates could be good for the Bruins to target. We will have to wait and see how these next two months go for them.
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.