One possible trade target for the Boston Bruins and general manager Don Sweeney can be crossed off their wishlist. Right wing Tyler Toffoli was traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Vancouver Canucks Monday night. If there is a silver lining for the Bruins, it’s that the skilled forward is staying in the Western Conference and not making a move East to one of its conference rivals.
Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers is still a target of several teams, including the Bruins. Boston will have to expand their search for a top-six forward if they also lose out on Kreider. Below are four other forwards (mainly a second-line right wing) that Sweeney and the Bruins could look to acquire ahead of the Feb. 24 deadline.
1. Kyle Palmieri
Last year, Sweeney swung a deal with the New Jersey Devils for Marcus Johansson at the deadline. With the Devils out of contention again this season, Sweeney could grab another New Jersey forward to help a need at right wing. If the Bruins can’t get Kreider from the Rangers, this should be the first place Sweeney looks.
In his 11th season in the NHL, Palmieri has been a consistent player for the Devils, scoring over 20 goals in each of his five seaons in New Jersey. He has 22 goals this season in 54 games with 19 assists. Adding him as a top-six forward would only strengthen the Bruins’ offense with another goalscorer.
He has one year remaining on his current five-year, $23.25 million contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021. He has an eight-team no-trade clause in his contract, so he does have a say if the Devils are able to find a deal for him.
2. Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Playing both right wing and center this season, the Ottawa Senators could cash in on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s breakout by dealing the talented 27-year-old. He already has a career-high 22 goals in his eighth season for the Senators.
In rebuild mode after trading away franchise cornerstone players Erik Karlsson in 2018 to the San Jose Sharks and Mark Stone at the deadline in 2019 to the Vegas Golden Knights, Pageau could be next on the list. A free agent at season’s end, he carries a $3.1 million cap hit. Could he be the Charlie Coyle of this trade deadline for the Bruins with the flexibility to play center and wing and take his game to another level in the playoffs? It’s worth looking into.
3. Josh Anderson
It is not too often that a player who has been limited to just 26 games in a season is the subject of trade chatter, but that is what is facing the Columbus Blue Jackets right wing. A top-six forward when healthy, he could be an upgrade on the second-line right wing and make a difference down the stretch and in the playoffs.
He scored a career-high 27 goals last season and has averaged 21 goals over the last three seasons for the Blue Jackets. With just one goal this season because of injuries (currently out with a shoulder injury), the 25-year-old at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds could also add a physical presence on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.
Anderson’s got just a $1.85 million cap hit and will be a restricted free agent with team control. Expect the Bruins to do their due diligence about his injury if they make a call for him.
4. Wayne Simmonds
It appears that Devils interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald is taking calls on anyone on the roster and is open to dealing. He has already traded Andy Greene to the New York Islanders and Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning. With that said, Simmonds would be an interesting piece that could be moved and fill a void in Boston.
At 6-foot-2, he has been a physical presence no matter where he has played. He had four very good seasons for the Philadelphia Flyers. In back-to-back seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15, he scored at least 20 goals each season. He followed that with two more seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17 with at least 30-goal seasons.
This season he has seven goals and 16 assists, but four goals have come on the power play. He would be a good addition to the Bruins’ second power play unit. He is on a one-year, $5 million contract, which means he would be a rental for the rest of the season and the playoffs.
With Toffoli off the table, Kreider becomes the other big name available. If that doesn’t work out either, Sweeney has other options to fall back on and improve the top-six forwards. With six days left until the Feb. 24 deadline, if he’s going to make a deal, he needs to act before another team does.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.