Recently, I discussed a handful of pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) left wingers that the Boston Bruins could consider pursuing during the 2022 offseason. Naturally, it now seems like a good time to talk about some right wingers who could be intriguing additions to the team’s roster, too.
When it comes to right wing, the Bruins will be all set if Jake DeBrusk takes back his trade request and Curtis Lazar re-signs with the team. However, neither of those possibilities guaranteed yet, so these three players could be worth targeting if both players end up leaving. Let’s now dive into why.
Before the trade deadline passed, the Bruins were reportedly one of the teams interested in Andrew Copp. However, nothing came from that, as the 27-year-old ended up being traded by the Winnipeg Jets to the New York Rangers. General manager (GM) Don Sweeney should feel immense regret about not acquiring the 27-year-old, as he has been playing excellently since joining the Rangers. In 16 regular-season games following the move, he scored eight goals and recorded 18 points. He also has eight points in 10 playoff games thus far. The Bruins could have used that kind of production with their season-long scoring troubles.
Copp has primarily played right wing since joining the Rangers and could do the same if signed by the Bruins. However, he is also one of those special forwards who can play all three positions, so he could be a fit virtually anywhere in the lineup. If the Bruins end up trading DeBrusk this offseason, he would be an ideal replacement at first-line right wing. Yet, if Patrice Bergeron retires, he also could be worth putting him down the middle.
Copp would also be a great addition to the Bruins’ power play. This is an area that the team should be looking to improve upon this summer, as they ended the year poorly on the man advantage. The Michigan native can also be utilized on the penalty kill because of his solid defensive play. Thus, he offers a little bit of everything and should be an ideal target for the Bruins this offseason.
David Perron is one of those rare NHL players who seems to get better as he ages. During the 2021-22 season, the 34-year-old winger scored 27 goals and recorded 57 points in 67 games played. Those numbers are certainly impressive, but he was even better for the St. Louis Blues during the playoffs. In 12 games, he had an impressive nine goals to go along with 13 points. With the Quebec native set to hit the market, the Bruins should consider targeting their 2019 Stanley Cup Final foe.
Perron would also be a very good replacement for DeBrusk if the Bruins honor the 2015 first-round pick’s trade request. In fact, in terms of offensive production, Perron would have the potential to be an upgrade. For example, he recorded a 58-point campaign in 56 contests with the Blues during the 2020-21 season, so he can produce like a star. On a line with Bergeron (if he returns) and Brad Marchand, there’s reason to believe that he could put together another point-per-game campaign.
However, with Perron getting up there in age, a short-term deal would make the most sense in this situation. Even if they inked him for two or three years, it would have the potential to strengthen the team’s forward group. Thus, at the end of the day, this is a player who Sweeney should at least consider targeting during the offseason.
Recently, it was reported that Alex Chiasson might be heading to Switzerland to play for HC Lugano during the 2022-23 season. However, the veteran winger’s agent quickly denied that and noted that the 31-year-old wants to remain with the Vancouver Canucks. Yet, given the team’s current desire to save cap space, it’s hard to determine if they will be open to re-signing him. With Chiasson wanting to remain in the NHL no matter what, the Bruins could target him if he hits the open market.
For the Bruins to consider Chiasson, extension talks with Lazar would have to go south. If they end up losing the 27-year-old, Chiasson would be a potential upgrade to the fourth line when it comes to offensive production. In 67 games on the year, the 6-foot-4 winger scored 13 goals and recorded 22 points. However, it’s also important to note that 10 of those points came on the power play due to him being an excellent net-front presence. With this, he could give the team’s second power-play unit a much-needed jolt.
Unlike Copp and Perron, Chiasson would come at a rather cheap price. It’s hard to believe that the 631-game veteran would make more than $1.25 million on a one-year deal, so this is an avenue that could be worth exploring. Yet, when it comes to the fourth line, the Bruins’ primary focus should still be to re-sign Lazar first.
Nevertheless, the Bruins have some pretty interesting free agent choices at the right-wing position this offseason. Out of the bunch, Copp seems like the perfect player to give a long-term deal to because of his scoring ability and immense versatility. Perron would still be a great short-term addition if he continues to avoid regressing, while Chiasson could be a sweet consolation prize. Alas, we will have to wait and see if any of these three are Bruins next season.