Columnists, Sports

Light The Lamp: Bruins need to make a move

The Boston Bruins sit in third in the Atlantic Division, at 11-8-0, with 22 points. They’re lucky the team is even at .500.

Claude Julien’s team has been marred by injuries to key players in the first quarter of the season. Captain Zdeno Chára tore his PCL during a game in October against the New York Islanders, a hit to Islanders captain John Tavares gone wrong. He’s been out three of the projected four to six weeks, which the medical staff believes is enough time to either recover, or in a worst-case scenario, have surgery.

First-line center David Krejčí has been day-to-day for the last few weeks with an undisclosed injury, missing nine games total, and the last four in a row. Defenseman Torey Krug was out a week with a gruesomely broken pinky finger, Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise the culprit of a hard slash to Krug’s hand.

Production has been streaky as well. Forward Brad Marchand scored four points in three games in the beginning of November, but has since put up one point in his last four games. Fan favorite Patrice Bergeron manages to put up one point a game, but isn’t doing it by finding the back of the net — instead, off the sticks of his teammates.

Goaltender Tuukka Rask’s performances have been average at best, giving up four goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 12 — getting pulled from the game on the process — and sitting against the NHL’s best team so far, the Montréal Canadiens on Nov. 13.

The team also lacks the “Big, Bad Bruins” that once made them Stanley Cup Champions. Milan Lucic has tried to show it, but either can’t or does so in an inappropriate way, like his gesture to the Bell Centre crowd in a game against Montréal on Oct. 16.

The lack of bruisers, like Shawn Thornton, now a Florida Panther, and Bobby Robins, who was sent down to the AHL’s Providence Bruins, makes this team seem weak and soft. The loss of Jarome Iginla, who signed a three-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche in July, hurts because overall, there is a clear lack of scoring. Seth Griffith has been a bright spot, but is still learning how to play in the NHL and hasn’t established himself as a top line scorer.

The Bruins have to do something to shake this team up. What can they do? What should they do? They have to trade for a right-handed top line scorer.

It’s oddly specific, but it’s just what the Bruins need. The only right-handed forwards on the team right now are Bergeron and Krejci, so the Bruins need some diversity in handedness. The lack of scoring is the most important issue to deal with, as Chára will be back this season at some point, and young guns Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky have done their jobs in holding down the blue line.

Who could the Bruins trade for? My ideal pick would be Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets. A heavy shot, proven scorer and big body, he’s the perfect player to help the Bruins regain their identity. He also has a year left on his current contract, which gives him time to acclimate to the Bruins system and the city of Boston. However, his price would be astronomically high, most likely involving a current Bruins forward and some top prospects.

If a deal goes down, he would be worth it in the short term, but General Manager Peter Chiarelli would need to weigh how it would impact his farm system.

A similar player with a much lower cost is Chris Stewart of the Buffalo Sabres. He hasn’t produced much of anything on a team that isn’t producing in general, but he could come to Boston and re-establish himself on the top line. Having a bruiser like Lucic on the other wing could give Stewart the chance to lay back on being a fighter and work on his scoring game.

A given in all of these trades is the cost, and someone who should be on the move is Chris Kelly. His lack of production and current $3.5 million salary cap hit don’t match up at all, and getting rid of him would provide some relief to the Bruins financials. Some say Loui Eriksson should be the one getting traded, as he hasn’t produced nearly as much as Bruins fans hoped when he was traded for now top NHL scorer Tyler Seguin. But Eriksson’s chemistry with fellow Swede Carl Söderberg is undeniable, and the Bruins should keep that line intact if they want to demonstrate any lower line depth.

We’ll see what moves get made as the season goes on, but for Chiarelli, the time seems to be now to pull the trigger on something to help his team out.

One Comment

  1. Jeeze its Nov.not March,the Bruins will get it together shorty and continue on into April-May.