The Boston Bruins had an impressive stretch in the last 72 hours. They knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, and then played a strong game that resulted in an overtime defeat to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. Sure, losing to the Canadiens is a tough hit, but the Bruins managed to collect a point and I thought played well enough to earn two. Sometimes the other goalie just beats you, and Carey Price did just that.
The Bruins are now 26-15-5 on the season, good for 57 points and third in the Atlantic Division. They sit just one point behind the Maple Leafs in the hunt for second place while firmly being entrenched in a playoff spot. Last week we touched on the Bruins’ trade deadline plans, looking into why the club would be wise to buy and what their wish list looks like.
Today, we start matching them up with the likely sellers on the market. Up first, the St. Louis Blues.
Why The Blues?
The Blues are a bit of a surprise seller as we head towards the trade deadline. They added Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and David Perron, among others, this past offseason in an effort to return to the postseason. It didn’t work early on, as the Blues stumbled out of the gate and got Mike Yeo fired. Craig Berube took over, and things have gotten better since then.
The Blues are back in the playoff race, but out on the fringes of it for the second season in a row. Is GM Doug Armstrong willing to hold onto to his assets and make a push, or is he going to retool this Blues team a bit? The heat appears to be off a little bit, but with three representatives at TD Garden on Monday night it seems like the trade talk isn’t exactly dead at this point either.
I realize #STLBlues play here Thursday but they have 2 scouts, VP of Hockey Op’s Dave Taylor, Asst GM and Dir of Amateur Scouting Billy Armstrong and GM of San Antonio Rampage & Pro Scout Kevin McDonald here at #NHLBruins vs #GoHabsGo 👀 pic.twitter.com/RBrWPSFayY
— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) January 15, 2019
The Blues are a motivated team right now, and appear to be poised to make a little noise on the trade market this season given their early struggles. Although it doesn’t seem like a blockbuster deal involving someone like Vladimir Tarasenko is in the cards, it is worth remembering that Armstrong isn’t scared to sell when his team is in the mix. After all, he dealt Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals at the deadline in 2017. The Blues went on to make the second round of the playoffs that spring.
The most connected Blue to Boston this season has been Brayden Schenn. The veteran forward is in his second season with the Blues after a draft day trade with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017 sent him west. Schenn exploded offensively in his first season, registering a career-high 28 goals and 42 assists for 70 points. His career-best season has been followed up by a slightly lesser campaign, as he has just nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points in 40 games. The production hasn’t been the same for him this season.
That said, I think we can safely say that the 2017-18 season was Schenn’s outlier campaign. He’s been a pretty consistent player throughout his career, averaging between 40-55 points since joining the league full-time in 2013-14. If anything, he is following up his career year with a down one this season, and his stock likely hasn’t been lower in recent memory. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad player, however, and a team like the Bruins could get him at a discounted rate.
Schenn brings good speed to the table, with offensive ability at a top-six clip as part of his arsenal. He’d fit the Bruins perfectly thanks to his two-way ability, which in my opinion makes him a perfect complement to Patrice Bergeron. He’d be solid Bergeron insurance too, because although he isn’t as good as Bergeron, they play a similar style and Schenn is a heck of a player in his own right.
The versatility here is key too. He has the ability to play all three forward positions and could help on the second or third line for the Bruins as a center or right winger. The price is likely to be decently high, with potentially a first-round pick heading back in the deal. That said, he is not a rental and is under contract through the 2019-20 season. He’d be worth the investment for the Bruins at this time.
The Bruins had interest a season ago when the Edmonton Oilers were moving Maroon, but they ended up with Rick Nash instead. Maroon is likely to be dealt again this season as the Blues appear to be a bubble team at best. Unfortunately for the man dubbed ‘The Big Rig,’ Maroon hasn’t had the homecoming he was hoping for in St. Louis.
He has just four goals and eight assists on the season, and has been relegated to the press box on occasion. He hasn’t fit in with the Blues like he did with the Oilers or even the New Jersey Devils last season. Perhaps Maroon is done, or perhaps his dream scenario just isn’t a fit for him hockey-wise.
I suspect the Oilers will push hard to get Maroon back north, but the Bruins should be asking about him too. He’s proven that he can play with skill and has the ability to put the puck in the net. The pending UFA left winger won’t cost much via trade and has a minimal salary. If the Bruins want to add some solid depth at a cheap price, they could do a lot worse than Maroon. Heck, he could turn out to be much more than a depth add. He’d be a fan-favorite in Boston, no doubt in my mind.
A Deal To Be Made?
The Bruins and Blues make sense on a few levels. The Blues are potentially without their first-round pick in June’s draft, and I think the Bruins would be willing to move theirs in the right deal. A trade for Schenn really helps the Bruins and would fill the major hole they have in their top-nine forward group at the moment. While Maroon also makes sense for the Bruins, someone like David Perron could also make sense if the Blues were willing to take some money back.
Out of all the teams likely to sell this deadline season, the Blues are the best match for the Bruins in my mind. Schenn just makes far too much sense and a guy like Maroon could become a fan-favorite and be a steal for this Bruin team. I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if Don Sweeney and Doug Armstrong made something happen in the next month.