Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

(With the NHL trade deadline less than a week away, Ty Anderson and 98.5 The Sports Hub will provide you with the deepest of dives into the plans and possibilities that await general manager Don Sweeney and the Bruins. Please keep in mind that not all of this information has any sort of inside scoop to it, and is largely based on what makes sense, prices paid around the league, and what teams are looking for in potential deals with the Bruins. And fun!)

The Boston Bruins are in it to win it, according to everybody that’s even met an insider.

That’s no secret, and speaks to the idea that the Bruins are aware of their status as a team with an aging core, and as a team that may very well be just a couple of moves away from elevating themselves to true contending status.

But the truth is that the Bruins are not going to be a true contender until they add to their current group. Sweeney has already made his first move, acquiring center Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round pick. Still, the Bruins need more.

That’s where The 98.5 The Sports Hub Big Board’s latest countdown comes into play, with a focus on some potential top-six wingers that could certainly help lift the B’s this spring.

(For the Big Board’s first 10 names, click here and click here)

10. Derick Brassard (C, Florida Panthers)

Now, the Bruins have seemingly acquired their third-line center with the aforementioned Coyle pickup. But you can never have enough center depth, and if the Bruins are unable to add a top-six winger by Monday’s deadline, the ability to move Coyle up to David Krejci’s right and add another potential third-line center should be worth an investigation.

That could lead the Bruins to veteran pivot and current Panther Derick Brassard.

Traded from the Penguins to Florida earlier this month, there’s many that believe the Cats will flip the 31-year-old Brassard by Monday’s deadline. And while this season has not been his best (he has just 10 goals and 19 points in 50 games between the Pens and Panthers this season), there’s something to be said for Brassard’s resume and versatility.

Since 2013, only four NHLers have skated in more playoff games than Brassard, and only seven have been more productive, as Brassard is on the trade block with 23 goals and 59 points in 90 postseason tilts.

But a sneaky big reason why I’d be interested in a Brassard addition: He would give the Bruins another left-shot faceoff man next to Sean Kuraly, which has to be welcomed in a division and playoff format that will force you to consistently go up against some of the league’s top centers in Toronto and Tampa Bay. Also: You may remember that Brassard was a beast in Ottawa’s first-round series win over the Bruins in 2017, and was consistently getting the better of Patrice Bergeron at the dot.

(Any player that can do that somebody that I would like to think could provide a lift to your team.)

9. Tyler Toffoli (RW, Los Angeles Kings)

The word on the B’s interest in Tyler Toffoli is… tricky. Toffoli seemed like a hot name to the Black and Gold when their search for offensive help first began, but has since cooled. Perhaps Toffoli’s ‘meh’ season with 12 goals on 168 shots (his third straight season of a dipping shooting percentage) has limited their interest, but this is still a player that would check off a ton of boxes for the Bruins as a right-shot, right winger with term on their contract. It’s also no secret that the Kings would love to shed some salary, meaning a trade with L.A. could allow you to unload some prospects currently stuck in limbo.

DENVER, COLORADO – JANUARY 19: Tyler Toffoli #73 of the Los Angeles Kings looks for an opening on goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the first period at the Pepsi Center on January 19, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

8. Mike Hoffman (LW/RW, Florida Panthers)

A 20-goal scorer in five straight seasons (his 130 goals over that span rank as the 20th-most in the league since 2014), Mike Hoffman is a seemingly new name to the trade block. It’s largely due diligence on the part of the Panthers, but it’s worth mentioning that the Bruins had an interest in Hoffman last season, and that he would certainly fit a need for Boston.

Of course, Boston’s interest was before the fallout between Hoffman and Erik Karlsson’s love interests (something that you could argue spelled the end of the Senators as a somewhat competent organization), so it would be curious if that whole situation has pushed Hoffman off the table for the Bruins. I mean, this is a team with an extremely close locker room, and an organization that invests in the person as much as they do the on-ice production (sometimes to a fault), so it’s worth asking.

But Hoffman, who does own a partial no-trade, is believed to be pretty happy with his situation in Florida, meaning that the Bruins (an obvious contender) may be among those he would not include on his trade list.

7. Wayne Simmonds (LW/RW, Philadelphia Flyers)

All aboard The Wayne Train. It’s something I’d love to sign up for… four years ago.

Listen, Simmonds is everything you love about a hockey player.

He’s never seen contact or conflict he didn’t want a piece of, isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with anybody for on-ice positioning or in a scrap, and scores the kind of goals that are the actual dreams of a fanbase that loves grit and sandpaper.

…But he’s also in the midst of a four-year downward trend, and is due for a big payday as a 31-year-old free agent this summer. For the Bruins, who have already made this mistake with long-term deals for Matt Beleskey and David Backes for a combined $49 million, it just seems like the absolute worst time to buy in on No. 17.

Over the last two seasons, Simmonds is averaging just 0.58 goals per 60 minutes of five-on-five play. That’s the 11th-worst rate out of 108 skaters with at least 1,700 minutes of time on ice. He’s even struggling to generate chances, with just 6.53 shots per 60 minutes, ranking him 86th out of that 108-skater group.

At this point in his career, he’s basically a power-play specialist, and the Bruins don’t exactly need a massive lift to their man advantage, as it enters the weekend clicking at a 26.5 percent success rate, the second-best mark in the entire NHL.

Still, if the price is right, it’s not hard to argue that s Simmonds rental wouldn’t fill a need for the Bruins on the second line.

I just wonder if that price will be palatable for the Bruins, as Simmonds has drawn interests from several teams, including the Predators, Lightning, and Jets. It stands to reason that they are all more comfortable than the B’s in a bidding war.

DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 18: Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Detroit Red Wings tries to get around David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena on January 18, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

6. Gustav Nyquist (RW, Detroit Red Wings)

Deadline Season has been a weird one for career-long Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist.

In the final year of his current contract, the belief at one point was that Nyquist had some potential to actually sign an extension before the deadline. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland sang a different tune on Friday, essentially saying that he was talking trades more than he was talking contract extensions with his respective trade chips.

That includes Nyquist, of course, who may very well be one of the deadline’s more underrated targets.

In the midst of another solid year in Detroit, Nyquist has tallied 15 goals and added 33 assists in 60 games this season. He’s also been one of Detroit’s stronger possession players, too, which seems worth investing in, if only because the Red Wings are among the league’s worst possible clubs, entering the weekend ranking as the NHL’s ninth-worst possession group. He could slide in with the Bergeron Line, or could skate as a solid boost to the Jake DeBrusk-Krejci pairing.

A little bonus of sorts? Nyquist has totaled 18 goals and 34 points in 48 combined games against the Leafs and Lightning.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.