Bruins News & Rumors: Smith, Carlo, Kane & More

In this latest edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, Craig Smith has been sent down to the American Hockey League (AHL) days after clearing waivers. In other news, Brandon Carlo became the last Bruin to score his first goal of the season, and one has to wonder if we may see more scoring from the defensive defenseman from here. Meanwhile, it appears that Patrick Kane is the Bruins’ primary trade target from the Chicago Blackhawks, rather than Jonathan Toews.

Craig Smith Sent Down to AHL

On Sunday (Dec. 18), the Bruins placed Smith on waivers. After clearing them, he immediately suited up for the NHL squad for Monday’s (Dec. 19) contest against the Florida Panthers. During the Bruins’ seven-goal explosion, the 33-year-old winger was not much of a factor, as he did not record a point and had a minus-1 rating. Now, in response to this performance, Boston has sent the Madison native down to the AHL to play for the Providence Bruins.

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

The 2022-23 season has not been a good one for Smith. After recording a 36-point campaign in 74 games last season, he has just a goal and three assists in 18 games. His struggles offensively have led him to be a healthy scratch multiple times this season, and now he finds himself off the NHL roster entirely. It will be intriguing to see how the 12-year veteran responds to this demotion. If he dominates while with Providence, perhaps it could lead to another call-up during the season.

Brandon Carlo Scores First Goal of Season

Heading into Monday’s contest against the Florida Panthers, Carlo was the lone Bruin without a goal this season. Yet, that finally changed when the 26-year-old scored with a strong snapshot from the slot. Although it took the 6-foot-6 defenseman 27 games to score his goal of the year, it was well worth the wait because this one was excellent.

Related: Bruins’ 2022-23 Trade Targets: San Jose Sharks

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Carlo is never going to be an offensive juggernaut at the NHL level, but goals like these make me wonder if he has the potential to chip in a bit more offensively. The defensive defenseman has a very good shot when he uses it, so perhaps we could see a few more goals from the seven-year veteran as the year carries on.

Bruins More Focused on Kane Than Toews

At the time of this writing, the Bruins have a 25-4-2 record and are at the top of the NHL standings. With a record like this, they are naturally expected to be buyers at the deadline and have already been linked to big-name trade targets because of it. Kane and Toews are two big examples of this, but Boston is reportedly more focused on the former than the latter, according to Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

On paper, Kane does appear to be a better fit. The Bruins are golden down the middle for the season with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Charlie Coyle as their top three centers, but one could argue that they could use another top-tier winger. If the Bruins acquired Kane, he could take over Jake DeBrusk’s spot on the first line or even replace Trent Frederic at third-line right wing. Either way, bringing in Kane would make Boston significantly deeper as they aim to win one last Stanley Cup during the Bergeron era.

Linus Ullmark Continues Dominance

Linus Ullmark is continuing his dominance, as he improved his record to 18-1-1 after his win against the Panthers. Although he allowed three goals in the second period, he regrouped beautifully as the game went on. Florida tested him a lot throughout the game, but he managed to end the night with 36 saves on 39 shots. Needless to say, it turned out to be another very good game from the 29-year-old.

Ullmark’s outstanding play is currently making him the top goaltender in the entire league right now. He truly has been the team’s most valuable player this season, and it will be intriguing to see if he can maintain this form as the year rolls on. In 22 appearances, he leads the league with a 1.89 goals-against average (GAA) and a .937 save percentage (SV%).

Bruins Have 2 Big Games Before Christmas

Before the Bruins can celebrate Christmas, they have two very big games against the Winnipeg Jets and then New Jersey Devils. Both of these teams are having very good seasons, so these contests are not expected to be easy ones in the slightest.

After missing the playoffs last season, the Jets have been wonderful this campaign, as they sport a 21-10-1 record. Players like Kyle Connor, Josh Morrisey, and Pierre-Luc Dubois are all producing at an over-a-point-per-game pace, so the Bruins will certainly be tested. However, Boston has beaten other top-tier clubs this season, so this has all the makings of being a very entertaining contest.

Not too long ago, the Bruins and Devils were neck and neck in the standings. However, New Jersey has been going through a cold streak as of late, as they have lost six straight games. Although they may be coming back down to Earth a bit from their marvelous start to the year, expect them to come out buzzing against Boston. They want to show that they are legitimate contenders, and beating the Bruins would be a good way of proving just that.

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