Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins are exploring the trade market for forward help, general manager Don Sweeney confirmed to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, as noted in Friedman’s 31 thoughts column on Tuesday.

“Up front, certainly.” Sweeney said when Friedman asked if he’s searching for help outside the organization.

Sweeney’s search is hardly a surprise, as the Bruins have lacked center depth since their youngsters failed to seize a third-line job out of camp, while their second-line situation has been a revolving door due to the inability of Ryan Donato (one goal and 12 shots in 11 games with the Bruins before a demotion to the minors) to fit with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

The B’s have scored the eighth-fewest goals in the NHL this season (67 in 24 games), and that figure becomes even scarier when you realize that 34 of those 67 goals have come from their top line trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak (who has scored a league-leading 19 goals this season). That means the 24 other Boston skaters to appear in at least one game this season have scored just 33 goals, leaving the Bruins in dire need of a boost somewhere down the roster.

In an Atlantic Division featuring the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs — as well as surprises such as the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens — such scoring inefficiency simply isn’t sustainable and Sweeney knows it.

The Bruins have no shortage of assets — from picks to players and tweeners without a projected long-term fit in Boston — to make a move, and you’re beginning to see some of the teams that consider themselves ‘open’ for trades (the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues are open about their desire to tinker, while the Philadelphia Flyers could be right behind them).

Sweeney also downplayed any potential concern of the 33-year-old Bergeron and his injury woes, saying that if anything, it’s the Black and Gold that have to slow the all-world center down.

“I don’t want to make it sound like I’m downplaying anything, but I don’t worry as much because it’s not concussion-related,” Sweeney said of Bergeron. “If anything, sometimes we have to make him wait, because Patrice tries so hard to get back. He’s wired differently — all about winning, everything he does, you name it. It’s all about winning.”