Now the NHL season is back into full swing following the Olympic break, the trade deadline at 3 p.m. today is almost here. This is the time of year when teams have to decide whether they are contenders or should start building up for next season. For the Bruins, the answer is simple: They are strong playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference. They look to be set up front, but they need help on the blue line after losing Dennis Seidenberg to a torn ACL. General manager Peter Chiarelli will most likely be looking for a rental to fill the void the rest of the season. Here is a look at some players the Bruins may consider acquiring to help shore up the defensive corps. Next
Team: Carolina Hurricanes
With the Hurricanes falling farther out of the playoff picture, now may be the time to secure some younger assets for 2014-15. One option they may explore is dealing defenseman Ron Hainsey, who is on a one-year, $2 million contract and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Hainsey is in hist first year with the Hurricanes after spending 10 seasons with the Canadiens, Blue Jackets, and Thrashers/Jets. Through the NHL Olympic break, Hainsey played 57 games with a minus-10 rating, scoring four goals and eight assists for Carolina. On Tuesday, the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa listed Hainsey as someone who could give the Bruins good minutes down the stretch to help alleviate some minutes from the Bruins’ veteran defensemen, especially Zdeno Chara. Next
Team: Buffalo Sabres
Henrik Tallinder, 35, is in the final year of his contract with Buffalo, and with the Sabres sitting in the basement of the Eastern Conference, they may be looking to dump some salary and get young players to start rebuilding. Tallinder played 44 games this season prior to the break, collecting two goals and five assists while also missing time with a broken finger. In 658 NHL games, he has scored 141 points and has a plus-minus of plus-14.
Tallinder has played nine of his 12 NHL seasons with the Sabres, while spending three years in New Jersey from 2010-13. Buffalo already made headlines this season by trading star forward Thomas Vanek to the Islanders, so it’s not a stretch to say they may look to deal Tallinder while they still have him under contract. Next
Team: Winnipeg Jets
Déjà vu, Bruins fans? Mark Stuart was originally drafted by the Bruins and played 283 games over 5½ seasons in Boston, totaling 13 goals and 27 assists. The Winnipeg alternate captain played 47 games this season before the break and tallied two goals and six assists.
Stuart was dealt by Boston to the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2010-11 season along with Blake Wheeler in a trade that netted the Bruins Rich Peverley, and he has been with the organization since, following them in their move to Winnipeg. The 29-year-old will be a free agent at the end of the season, so the Jets may be interested in a trade if they are looking to get some young talent for the future. Next
Team: Winnipeg Jets
A star with the Chicago Blackhawks during their 2010 Stanley Cup run, Dustin Byfuglien is one of the top-scoring defenseman in the NHL. He has 286 points in 510 games over nine seasons with the Blackhawks and Thrashers/Jets.
Byfuglien, unlike most trade candidates, would not be a rental, as he has two years left on a contract that is paying him $5.2 million per year, so it may be unlikely that the Bruins would take on that kind of a commitment. They are most likely looking for a rental player to fill the gap until Dennis Seidenberg returns next season. Next
Team: Detroit Red Wings
Rarely sellers at the trade deadline, the Red Wings may find themselves in that position come March if they can’t pick up the slack, as they are on the bubble for the playoffs. If things don’t get better, a target the Bruins could go after is defenseman Kyle Quincey.
Quincey, 28, is in his sixth full season. He began his career with a couple of cups of coffee with the Red Wings, but his first full season came in 2008-09 with the Los Angeles Kings.
He spent the next 2½ seasons with the Colorado Avalanche before rejoining the Red Wings midway through 2011-12. He has played 351 games in his career, scoring 22 goals and tallying 85 assists. This season, he had three goals and six assists in 58 games before the Olympic break, while averaging 20:36 of ice time. Next
Team: Florida Panthers
Tom Gilbert is in his first season with the Florida Panthers after spending the first seven years of his career with the Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild. This season, he played 58 games prior to the break, scoring 3 goals and adding 22 assists. Florida is far out of the playoff hunt — and moving to a division with the Bruins, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Senators, and Red Wings has not helped.
Gilbert, 31, is a veteran who could give the Bruins good minutes down the stretch. After making the playoffs for the first time last year with the Wild, he will be hungry to get back. Gilbert also would be an economical steal compared with other trade possibilities; he is currently on a $900,000 deal that expires at the conclusion of this season. Next
Team: Florida Panthers
Another Florida defensemen the Bruins may look at is Dmitry Kulikov. At just 23, Kulikov is in his fifth NHL season, all with Florida. He has played 289 games for the Panthers, scoring 22 goals and adding 70 assists, while averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game in his career. This season, he played 49 games before the break, scoring six goals and tallying six assists.
Kulikov is a restricted free agent but could be available for the right price. His youth may not be what the Bruins are looking for; however, his status as an RFA could net the Bruins a draft pick if they were to rent him, extend a minimal qualifying offer, then lose him to another team. Next
Team: Edmonton Oilers
A veteran of 868 NHL games, 31-year-old Nick Schultz is a soon-to-be free agent on an Oilers team that currently has the second-fewest points in the league. Schultz began his career in 2001-02 with the Minnesota Wild, playing 9½ seasons in Minnesota before being traded to the Oilers midway through 2011-12.
Schultz has 27 goals and 118 points in his career, this season recording no goals and four assists in 57 games prior to the Olympic break. While he averages only 17:56 in ice time this season, Schultz has a career average of 19:22. He is making $3.5 million this season and could be someone the Oilers are looking to deal for pieces before losing him in free agency. Back to the beginning
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