Three potential defensive trade targets for the Bruins
Andrej Sekera is the most coveted defenseman for contending teams. Photo: Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images
Now that Kevin Miller is done for the year with a shoulder injury, the need for a NHL caliber defenseman has increased for the Boston Bruins. If last season was any indication, the Bruins need a top six blue-liner who is solid in is own end and can contribute offensively. With the March 2nd trade deadline only one week away, discussions across the NHL will heat up considerably. The current Bruins' defensive lineup is struggling and may not be good enough to contend for a Stanley Cup. General Manager Peter Chiarelli would be wise to sure up his back-end if he intends to make a run this year. Let's take a look at three potential trade targets for the Boston defense:
Andrej Sekera (Traded to Los Angeles Kings):
Sekera is the hottest defensmen on the market right now with many contending teams in both conferences inquiring about him. The reason Sekera is so popular is because he is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) with a cap hit of only $2.75 million. Sekera would be a pure rental for any team looking to trade for him. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the LA Kings have interest in the Carolina defenseman with prospects to shed if necessary. Sekera is having a below-average season by his standards, but a change of scenery on a playoff-bound team could be exactly what the twenty-eight year old needs. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Sekera's popularity will only drive up the asking price for him, especially for Boston, who is in desperation mode at this point. Sekera will be moved at the deadline, but the Bruins will have to pay a hefty price for his services.
Jeff Petry (Still Available):
Another name that will generate considerable interest over the next week is Jeff Petry of the Edmonton Oilers. Like Sekera, Petry is also a UFA with an expiring contract this season so he would also be a rental. Petry's cap hit is higher than Sekera's at $3.075 million. However, according to TSN's Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug), Edmonton has "had recent discussions with the Petry camp". Rishaug also added that it is a long shot that Petry re-signs before free agency, but it is still possible. That being said, Petry is a another solid, top six or even top four option for contending teams in the defense market. That means a high-asking price from Edmonton as they continue to be sellers in a sellers market. The chance the Bruins land Petry at the deadline correlates with what Chiarelli is willing to send to western Canada. Unfortunately, Edmonton isn't exactly a desirable location for players with modified or full no-trade clauses.
Zbynek Michalek (Still Available):
The third name for the Bruins is Arizona Coyotes' veteran d-man Zbynek Michalek. Michalek, like Petry and Sekera, is a UFA after this season, with a cap hit of $4 million. Michalek has been injured with a concussion, but should be ready to suit up soon. Michalek's salary isn't desirable for a team like the Bruins who are tight against the cap, but the thirty-two year old may be the experienced blue-liner the Bruins might be looking for if they turn things around. Arizona is heading towards a re-build and they could be the busiest team on March 2nd. Michalek will most likely be traded and don't be surprised if he heads east to Boston.
The pressure has never been greater on Peter Chiarelli. His team is struggling and about to fall out of the last playoff spot in the standings. Will Chiarelli pay up for one of the above mentioned defenseman? Or will he sit back and see if his current core can step up and lead his team to another playoff birth. Either way, this deadline could be what saves his job or seals his fate as the GM of the Boston Bruins.