Entering this off-season, Bruins management made no secret of their need for a skilled, puck-moving defenseman. That issue has yet to be addressed.
Entering this off-season, Boston Bruins management made no secret of their need for a skilled, puck-moving defenseman. With September and the start of training camp fast approaching, that issue has yet to be addressed.
NBC Sports’ Joey Alfieri reports the Bruins blueline still needs work. Captain Zdeno Chara, 39, is aging and no longer the dominant defenseman he once was. Torey Krug is their only reliable offensive rearguard.
Alfieri notes trade chatter earlier this summer tied the Bruins to St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The 27-year-old is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency and could prove difficult for the Blues to re-sign. While there was considerable speculation regarding Shattenkirk in late-June, the talk has largely gone away.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty includes blueliners Kris Russell, Jacob Trouba and Marek Zidlicky on his list of free agents who could help the Bruins. Russell and Zidlicky are UFAs, while Trouba is a restricted free agent with the Winnipeg Jets.
Russell is a good skater with some decent offensive skills, but he’s largely known as a shot-blocking specialist. Zidlicky exceeded 40 points six times in his NHL career. At 39, however, his best seasons are well behind him.
The Bruins could attempt to sign Trouba away via an offer sheet, but Haggerty doubts they’re unwilling to go that route. It’ll take a trade to get him, but the Jets remain committed to re-signing the 22-year-old. If they are willing to move him, their asking price could be too high for the Bruins.
If the Bruins don’t make a move soon, Alfieri believes they’ll enter this season with their current D-corps and hope the trade market improves.
TYLER ENNIS LATEST SABRE ON THE TRADE BLOCK
Buffalo Sabres left winger Evander Kane was a frequent subject of trade speculation this summer. However, he wasn’t the only Sabre mentioned as a trade candidate.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports Buffalo winger (and Edmonton native) Tyler Ennis was on the block during the NHL draft in June. The Sabres were reportedly in the market for a defenseman.
While the 26-year-old exceeded 20 goals and 40 points three times in his NHL career, he missed most of last season to concussion symptoms. Matheson believes that hurt the winger’s trade value.
Now recovered, Ennis is hopeful of regaining his form in 2016-17 and believes he still has a future with the rebuilding Sabres. While another 20-goal, 40-point campaign will certainly help the Sabres’ offense, it could also improve Ennis’ trade value.
Earlier this summer, Sabres GM Tim Murrray was very interest in Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler. The Ducks require scoring punch at left wing and a healthy Ennis could address that need. Both players lack no-trade clauses in their contracts.
While a Ennis-for-Fowler swap seemingly makes sense for both clubs, the Ducks could be unwilling to take on additional salary. Ennis’ annual average salary is $4.6 million through 2018-19, while Fowler is slightly more affordable at $4 million per through 2017-18.
Ducks followers will likely sneer at the notion of Fowler being dealt for Ennis. But in a summer where the Edmonton Oilers dealt top-line left winger Taylor Hall for second-pairing defenseman Adam Larsson straight up, we shouldn’t be too dismissive.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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