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Boston a likely buyer but won't mortgage future

Bruins NHL Trade Deadline outlook

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

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2/6/16: Loui Eriksson finishes a beautiful tick-tac-toe play from David Krejci and David Pastrnak to give the Bruins an early lead

  • 01:05 •

With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline approaching at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 29, NHL.com is taking a close look at what moves teams might be looking to make and whether they'll be buyers or sellers. Today, the Boston Bruins:

 

BOSTON BRUINS

Record: 28-18-6, 62 points; 3rd in Atlantic Division

Unrestricted free agents: Loui Eriksson, LW/RW; Max Talbot, C; Joonas Kemppainen, C; Jonas Gustavsson, G

Restricted free agents: Landon Ferraro, F; Tyler Randell, RW; Brett Connolly, RW; Torey Krug, D; Zach Trotman, D; Joe Morrow, D; Colin Miller, D

Projected 2016 draft picks: 10 (2 first)

Projected 2017 draft picks: 6 (1 first)

Needs: Top-four defenseman, depth defenseman, RW

Surpluses: Draft picks

Players Potentially in Play: Eriksson, Connolly, Morrow, Alexander Khokhlachev

Likely status: Buyer

Skinny: In reality, the Bruins reside in a realm between seller and buyer because their stated intention is to compete for a place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs without doing anything that would mortgage their future. That means they wouldn't move any of their most valuable assets for anything that would help only this season. But considering the changes the organization made last season after it missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years, the mandate this season is to get into the postseason. That most likely means tweaks to the lineup. The situation with Eriksson, who will turn 31 in July and is in the last year of his contract with a salary-cap charge of $4.25 million, includes many factors. General manager Don Sweeney has to decide what Eriksson is worth to the Bruins, and then either re-sign him or trade him rather than risk losing him for nothing in free agency in the summer. Sweeney also has to determine if the Bruins can make the playoffs without Eriksson, who is third on the Bruins with 16 goals and is a valuable member of Boston's power play, which is ranked second in the NHL (24.1 percent) and penalty-kill. Also factoring into the decision will be Brad Marchand's contract situation. Marchand, whose 24 goals lead the Bruins, can become an unrestricted free agent in 2017 and will be expecting a hefty raise from his $4.5 million cap charge. Defenseman Adam McQuaid's imminent return from a concussion might lessen the Bruins' need for more experience on the back end. Like most teams, they will be shopping for help in their top four, but prices will probably be too high. Considering the grind of the stretch run, the Bruins might look to add another bottom-pair veteran defenseman in case coach Claude Julien loses trust in Trotman, Miller and/or Morrow, who have been rotating in the lineup most of the season.

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