When the Boston Bruins chose to honor Blake Wheeler’s $2.2 million salary arbitration award, speculation began regarding how the team would clear up salary cap space. Shortly after the Bruins honored the deal, rumors began to circulate that the Los Angeles Kings might be interested in trading for playmaking center Marc Savard.
Now, it’s important to note that this is just a rumor and there aren’t even any specific details about who would go Boston’s way. That being said, there are a few reasons why a deal could make sense.
Pardon me as I get hypothetical for a bit.
Why the Kings should send a defensive prospect (or two … or a draft pick) to the Bruins for Marc Savard
LA lost out in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes and has some money to burn. They can spin things any way they want, but it’s hard to imagine that they’re satisfied with Alex Ponikarovsky, especially since he might only take up Alexander Frolov’s spot on the roster. While Jarret Stoll is a solid center, the team needs a strong number two center behind Anze Kopitar and a reasonably healthy Marc Savard would fit the bill. His bargain $4 million cap hit would also make it easier for the Kings to wrap up future pieces Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and Wayne Simmonds.
From Boston’s perspective, the Kings have a treasure trove of prospects that GM Peter Chiarelli could stash in the Bruins’ minor league system. Kings GM Dean Lombardi seems a bit obsessed with stockpiling young defensive talent, but my guess is that they can part with someone after looking at a list of their young blueliners (Colten Teubert, Thomas Hickey, Vyacheslav Voinov, Davis Drewinskie, Johan Fransson, Derek Forbort and more).
Obviously, the Bruins and Kings would have to find a happy medium to make it work, but look at the pluses for both sides. The Bruins would bolster an already improving farm system and save most (if not all) of that $4 million hit for Wheeler and Tyler Seguin to boot. The Kings wouldn’t have to sacrifice an NHL-level talent to get a guy who – if healthy – could bring All-Star playmaking skills to the table.
After the jump, I’ll add a brief counter-argument
Why both sides might not want to make such a deal
I discussed some of the risks involved with trading for Marc Savard before, but here they are in bullet point form (with a few bonus blemishes).
* – His concussion problems make him a serious risk (and Kings fans might still have some emotional scars from the Adam Deadmarsh concussion days).
* – His cap hit might be light, but he’s already 33-years-old so his production will decline over time, making the deal a long-term risk. (Especially if he decides not to retire toward the end)
* – Savard isn’t an especially rigorous defensive player and he’s quite small. Will that make him less effective in the Western Conference and in Terry Murray’s system?
* – The Kings don’t have a Phil Kessel-type sniper, so he’ll have to boost players who either are still going through a maturation process or simply don’t have the same finishing touch.
There are also some minuses for the Boston Bruins.
* – Savard is obviously a catalyst for what was a very sluggish Boston Bruins offense last year. Are they really willing to put that much pressure on rookie Tyler Seguin to carry some of their offensive burden in his first year?
* – As any sports writer will tell you, there are few guarantees when it comes to prospects. Especially if the Bruins settle for a second-tier prospect or two. What if those bluechippers go sour?
Again, it’s important to note that the Savard talk is just a rumor. No one discussed prospects being involved – in fact, the Bruins might demand a Jack Johnson type roster player – but I think that would be one of the most realistic options for a trade.
How would you feel about the Kings and Bruins making such a swap? Would both sides benefit or would it be lopsided? Share your thoughts in the comments.