Buckle up. With Olympic competition in the rearview mirror, the NHL trade deadline on the horizon and only five clubs meriting exclusion from the current playoff conversation, we’re in for a bout of activity to launch the final quarter of the regular season. The Boston Bruins are one of several contenders looking to add that one piece (or two pieces), and in the case of GM Peter Chiarelli, a top-four defenseman -- preferably of the puck-moving variety -- appears to be atop the wish list. While the market isn’t exactly bursting with countless options, there are a few fantasy-relevant candidates in play.
As a replacement for the injured Dennis Seidenberg (out for the season), Dan Girardi strikes as an appealing potential addition, as a solid all-around blueliner. However, there’s word that the New York Rangers remain committed to working out a new deal with the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent. And, according to what TSN’s Darren Dreger reported during Tuesday's trade center broadcast, the two sides aren’t that far apart.
As a result, Tom Gilbert (owned in 7 percent of ESPN.com leagues) might be a more realistic target. Enjoying a decent season with the Florida Panthers, Gilbert would likely relish better numbers with the Bruins, especially if significant power-play action is in the cards. Even if he doesn’t land in Boston, the 31-year-old pending UFA is likely headed for lusher productive pastures. At $900,000, his salary is super-appealing for any contender interested in such a player. Gilbert could serve as a useful fantasy pickup through March and early April.
Then there’s Andrej Meszaros. Two seasons removed from playing a steady role with the Philadelphia Flyers, Meszaros has seemingly worn out his welcome. And, as relayed by Broad Street Hockey, the Bruins are potentially interested in forging a deal for the 28-year-old blueliner. While GM Paul Holmgren has hinted he wouldn’t make any major moves (history suggests a fair dose of skepticism is justified in this regard) ahead of the deadline, moving Meszaros wouldn’t qualify as such anyway. Under coach Craig Berube, the former top-four D-man has often sat as a healthy scratch. No wonder he’s owned in only 3 percent of ESPN.com leagues. A trade would do only good things for his subpar fantasy value.
Other blueliners believed to be on the pre-deadline market include Andrew MacDonald (New York Islanders), hybrid D-man/forward Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets) and Alexander Edler (Vancouver Canucks). As it stands, MacDonald is allegedly interested in remaining an Islander, if possible, and Byfuglien and Edler carry high trade costs (draft picks/prospects), in addition to the added challenge of jamming $5 million-plus in salary under the cap for several seasons to come. With Seidenberg expected back next season, a short-term "rental" might be more to Chiarelli’s taste.
However it all unfolds, we’d be surprised to see the B’s stand pat in regard to their blue line, which suggests youngsters like Torey Krug (owned in 100 percent of ESPN.com leagues) and Dougie Hamilton (owned in 15 percent of ESPN.com leagues) might see their respective roles reduced.