It didn’t take long for the Boston Bruins trade speculation to begin.
From CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty:
According to separate hockey sources, there has been some level of recent trade discussion about veterans Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand with other teams around the league, just to name a few B’s players. The talks haven’t been substantial but more exploratory in nature, as the team quietly gauges the market value of higher-priced veterans who may not fit in the long-term picture if the decision is made to tear down the current roster.
Chara, 38, is signed through 2017-18 for a cap hit of almost $7 million. Given his age, if the Bruins aren’t going to be contenders for the next few years, it may make sense to try and trade him.
Marchand, 27, is signed though 2016-17 for a cap hit of $4.5 million. He’ll be approaching 30 when his contract is up, and probably won’t be cheap to re-sign as an unrestricted free agent.
Of course, all this trade speculation assumes the Bruins don’t turn things around. It’s possible Chara will return to the lineup this afternoon at home versus Tampa Bay. If not, he’ll be back soon.
Marchand is out with a concussion, his return date unknown.
The B’s remain winless after two games, losing to the Jets and Canadiens by a combined score of 10-4. After today’s game, they play five of their next seven on the road.
“We just need to focus on getting better as a team, and there’s a lot of work to be done,” said coach Claude Julien. “We need everybody right now. There are a lot of people we need to get more of if we’re going to battle out of this. This is where we need players to step up.”
The Boston Bruins are already playing with a badly depleted defense, they just have to hope that they don’t start losing key forwards as well.
That’s a possibility though as Brad Marchand left Saturday’s contest early after inadvertently being elbowed in the head by Dale Weise, per CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty. Bruins coach Claude Julien couldn’t provide an update after the game, according to the team’s Twitter account.
Whatever happens there though, Boston already has a hole it needs to dig out of as Montreal handed the Bruins a 4-2 loss tonight.
Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk led the charge by scoring two goals and three assists respectively. Alexander Semin registered two assists after going scoreless in his debut with Montreal on Wednesday.
The Bruins are now 0-2-0 and have allowed 10 goals over that span. They have been playing without their top two defensemen in Zdeno Chara (upper body) and Dennis Seidenberg (back).
Boston’s task isn’t getting any easier as it will face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. Montreal, which is opening the season with a four-game road trip, is now 2-0-0 ahead of Sunday’s contest against Ottawa.
While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.
Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes–Ryan Spooner–Brett Connolly
Chris Kelly–Joonas Kemppainen–Zac Rinaldo
The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.
So, where is Krejci’s game now?
Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.
So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?
On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.
So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?
“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”