With the announcement yesterday that veteran blueliner Dennis Seidenberg will miss two months of play, it appears that the Bruins are amping up their interest in trading for a defenseman, according to CSN’s Joe Haggerty.
The Bruins have some concerns about blue line depth with Seidenberg sidelined and Dougie Hamilton shipped out of town. The team still has veterans Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuiad, free agent acquisition Matt Irwin, and third-year defenders Torey Krug and Kevan Miller, but that’s just five guys and it looks a little thing for a team whose MO has been strong play in their own zone.
Experience in that group and beyond is a big question as well. Only Chara has regularly played 20+ minutes per night at the NHL level. For the next spots, likely candidates include Joe Morrow (15 NHL games), Colin Miller (0 games) and Zach Trotman (29 games) appear to be next in line, but there’s a lack of experience and no back-up option with experience available if they get the opportunity.
In one scenario, they could offer a veteran defenseman on a PTO with another team a deal. Sheldon Brookbank, Keith Aulie, Ryan Wilson, Jan Hejda, Lubomir Visnovsky, Andrej Meszaros, Matt Carkner, Brett Bellemore and Sergei Gonchar are all currently on PTOs.
Another option is a trade.
Practicing some Confucian eloquence, Sweeney told Haggerty of the team’s blue line situation:
It’s a void that internally we’re trying to assess. As I’ve always said, I’ll continue to talk to other teams, and people that may, or may not, be available to see if we need to fill that void… [The frequency of trade talks could be raised] under the right circumstances, if it’s going to be the right fit for us relative to the guys that we have, and that we’ve been assessing overall.
The Bruins likely have the depth to roll for two months, hoping that Seidenberg will be healthy and ready to go on time. It gives them a chance to see what they have in their younger players, who show a lot of promise. But if, following last season’s disappointment, they don’t want to take a chance on falling behind in the division early, the trade could happen.
Haggerty suggests a player about whom we should expect lots of rumors this season: “[D]on’t be surprised if the Dustin Byfuglien rumors to Boston start kicking up again as the Bruins were already seeking a dynamic puck-moving defenseman prior to the Seidenberg injury.”
Byfuglien would certainly fit the style of play, give a versatile offensive force and provide the experience they feel they’re missing without Seidenberg. The Bruins would need to move some salary out in a potential swap to make it work, with the team having about $4.76 million in cap space remaining and the final year of Byfuglien’s deal carrying a cost of $5.2 million.
For now, they’re likely to see what they’ve got in young players through training camp and assess the situation later, but with Sweeney’s summer of unpredictable moves, it seems like all options are on the table if he says they will “continue to talk to other teams.”
RELATED: How Will the Bruins Cope Without Dennis Seidenberg? (A great look at how they fill all the roles he played on the ice.)
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.