If there is one position the Boston Bruins should focus on to improve this off-season, a consistent and reliable left-shot defenseman would be ideal.
Don Sweeney said at the beginning of last season that a left-shot defenseman remains the Bruins’ priority. At the trade deadline, the Bruins traded defenseman prospect Rob O’Gara and a 2018 third-round pick to the New York Rangers in exchange for left-shot defenseman Nick Holden.
At the time, the trade seemed great as this move brought the kind of depth the Bruins were looking for on the back-end on the left side. But Holden’s performance in Boston has Bruins fans questioning this move.
Holden recorded just one point during the Bruins’ run for the Stanley Cup and could very well be on the move this off-season.
The Bruins have a projected cap space of $8.8 million to possibly sign an unrestricted free agent to fill this hole in the roster. Or does a certain NHL team—the Carolina Hurricanes—have what the Bruins need?
Tom Dundon, the new owner of the Hurricanes, announced to the league that any of his players, with the exception of Sebastian Aho, are up for grabs. That means Jaccob Slavin and Noah Hanifin—both left-shot defensemen that the Bruins should very much be interested in—are available.
If the Bruins were to attempt to land Slavin, it might be too pricey—the 27-year-old had his contract extended last July through seven years at $5.3 million.
While Hanifin may be more reasonable to obtain, he won’t come cheap either. For the Bruins, this may mean an impact roster player could see his way down to Carolina along with a prospect and a draft pick.
Who could that roster player be?
Because of Sweeney’s desire to get bigger on the left side, that could mean either Torey Krug or Matt Grzelcyk would have to go. Because the Bruins need to make room for their young players in the upcoming years, Krug and his $5.25 million contract for the next two years makes him the most likely to head down south.
However, the question remains for which prospect could be a part of the package that would send Hanifin to Boston.