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With just about 26 hours to go before the trade deadline, things are starting to heat up in the rumors department among NHL circles.

Could Gaborik be Boston bound? (photo via SI.com)
And the Bruins are big players in those rumors.

According to a report  from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE, Marion Gaborik, Nikita Nikitin and Jack Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets could all be in play for the Bruins before tomorrow's deadline.

David Pagnotta of thefourthperiod.com also jumped in on the discussion, tweeting that he doesn't believe Gaborik is Boston's first target, but that he has been discussed in trade talks.

Haggerty notes that the Bruins top scout Adam Creighton has watched the last three Blue Jackets games, and there were a pair of CBJ scouts at the Garden on Saturday watching the Bruins/Capitals matchup. Haggerty connects the dots with Blue Jackets sniper Marion Gaborik.

The notion around the NHL is that Gaborik will be moved at the deadline, its just a matter of where he will go. Gaborik has one year remaining on his contract at $7.5 million, which is a pretty heavy price but he'd be more than just a rental.

The Bruins first need before the deadline is defensive help on the blueline, so why would they be pursuing Gaborik? Nikita Nikitin and Jack Johnson, both defensemen that could provide the kind of relief and steady play the Bruins blueline needs, should be the primary targets for Boston.

Johnson would be a nice fit in Boston (via penguins.com)
Nikitin has one year remaining at $2.15 million and Johnson's contract runs until the end of the 2017-18 with an annual hit of $4.357 million. Both contracts are manageable, as the Bruins have just under $5.5 million in cap space at the moment, but money would have to be going back to Columbus. Would it be in the form of Loui Eriksson's $4.25 million?

Adding to speculation, Eriksson will not play in tonight's game versus the Panthers, due to what coach Claude Juien would only call "a minor issue." But Haggerty also notes it may just be a way to showcase Jordan Caron one last time for NHL teams looking to take a shot at the young forward.

I think Johnson or Nikitin would be great fits for Boston, as they would provide much more experience and a bit of nasty to the defensive unit. They're under contract, relatively cheap, young ( both 27 years old) and could fill the role of a top-four defensemen that the Bruins need.

Haggerty's report also links the name of Stars defensemen Stephane Robidas and the Bruins, with one NHL executive stating the Bruins and Robidas "would be a perfect fit." Robidas is still recovering from a broken leg suffered back in November, so the Bruins would have to wait a week or two before adding him to the lineup. Robidas would warrant a smaller return price of the d-men available on the block, and he would provide a veteran presence and steady minutes.

With the Bruins already needing another defensive body to shore up the unit, the news that Adam McQuaid may be shutdown for an extended period of time adds to the need of acquiring help before the deadline.

The clock is ticking and the rumors are heating up. Let's see where the deals fall.

Mark Burke 3/04/2014 01:37:00 PM Edit

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