It’s no secret that the Boston Bruins need to make changes. It was only months ago when higher management relieved Peter Chiarelli of his general manager duties. However, many believe that the structure of the roster itself needs a change.
After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight years, fans as well as local media are questioning whether or not many of the Bruins most valuable players should be kept around. The most popular potential trade piece surfacing on social media is 27 year-old power-forward and noted agitator Milan Lucic.
Lucic has spent 8 seasons with the Bruins, playing in 566 regular season games while tallying 139 goals and 203 assists for a total of 342 points. It’s hard to picture the Bruins without the left-wing train. However, with Lucic being an unrestricted free agent next season, he will be looking for a pay raise that the Bruins will likely be unable to afford. This is especially true if the Bruins manage to re-sign current restricted free agent Dougie Hamilton, who is rising as one of the NHL’s elite defensemen.
The Bruins don’t have many options in this situation, which is why many suggest trading Lucic. At the end of the day, this is probably the easiest course of action. Lucic has a ton of trade value, so it wouldn’t be difficult to find teams interested in his services. He’s the type of player that can single handedly change the momentum of a game, much like he did in 2013 in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and other playoff series through the years. He carries a $6 million cap hit, which some teams looking for a deep cup run may find affordable. Trading him at the 2015 NHL Draft would open up cap space to re-sign Hamilton, as well as bring in prospect and/or a higher draft pick.
But what would a trade look like?
It all would depend on the team that is willing to take on Lucic’s $6 million cap hit, as well as contract negotiations the following year. If the Bruins are interested in a higher draft pick, they could reach out to the Arizona Coyotes who have more than enough cap space to afford Lucic’s contract. In return, the Bruins could receive the Coyotes’ 3rd overall pick where they would have the opportunity to draft one of two very different players in Noah Hanifin or Dylan Strome. Depending on what area the Bruins want to address, both of these players could help shape the organization in the future.
Hanifin, born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, played one season for the Boston College Eagles before being recognized as one of the highest sought-after prospects of 2015. He recorded 23 points in 37 games this season, which ranks 3rd among NCAA freshman defenseman.
“Everybody looks at him and says he’s a gifted offensive player, and he is, but what makes him so special is his transition game. He ‘gets it’ – that you have to play defense first and the offense will follow.”
-Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting
According to Marr’s reports, the 18-year old defenseman is exactly what the Bruins are looking for. This season, the Bruins struggled with their transition game, therefore adding Hanifin to the roster may be what can help the team spark in transition again.
The other option is Dylan Strome. Strome spent this season as a center for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League where he registered 129 points in 68 games, which set franchise records for points in a season in the Erie Otters organization. Strome has the offensive ability the Bruins crave. It’s obvious now what shipping now superstar Tyler Seguin out of Boston has done to the Bruins offense, however drafting Strome could bring back elite offense ability to the squad. According to Marr’s scouting report, Strome also has a “competitive edge and grittiness”, which could cover the void of lack of grit by sending Lucic out of town.
Of course this is all speculation, but the Bruins should seriously consider moving Lucic at the draft. He’s a great player with a lot of talent and physicality. However, given the Bruins cap situation, trading Lucic now may be what’s beneficial for the future of the Bruins.