Entering the March 2 NHL Trade Deadline, the Boston Bruins are a team in flux. Are they buyers? Are they sellers? Are the Bruins a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in 2015, or are they more suited for a bit of a rebuilding effort? Currently sitting in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins are expected to look to make a deal or two that would bring in a bit more scoring power. More specifically, they are likely to target a winger who can help improve upon Boston’s power play unit. But, what if the Bruins are unable to land a player they feel will be enough to launch them up a few spots in the standings? Would the Bruins ever consider dumping some salary, despite still clinging to a final berth in the playoffs with less than 20 games remaining in the regular season? If the answer is yes, expect Peter Chiarelli to feverishly work the phones leading right up to the 3 p.m. deadline on Monday. The question remains, if the team feels desperate enough, would the Bruins consider trading Zdeno Chara to the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets or Minnesota Wild?
Before you scoff or begin typing your hateful comments, at least consider the possibility.
Yes, there is a very strong chance that the Bruins can make the playoffs. But, are they going anywhere? The team is getting older. They have not done all that well in recent NHL Draft history. Chara has been a crucial part of the past and, to a lesser extent, the present. But, he is not going to be a vital part of the team’s future. I am not saying that Boston should actively shop Chara and settle for the best of only average offers. But, if the right phone call is made, and the package offered is well worth making the move, then the Bruins should not hesitate to trade their captain.
If the Bruins do decide to move Chara, which teams would make for a decent fit? The Ducks would have to be a favorite, considering their recent early exits in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, despite often going in as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. Chara is not the same player he was when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, or even when the team lost to the Chicago Blackhawks a couple of years ago, but he would still make a difference for the Ducks.
The same could be said for the Sharks, who are often staring down early round exits after turning in very good regular seasons. This year, if the Sharks are able to qualify for the playoffs, it would not be as a high seed, meaning a first round exit would not come as a big surprise. But, with a team that has little difficulty scoring, adding a player such as Chara could be enough to help push San Jose at least into the second round.
The Islanders currently sit at the top of the Metro Division in the Eastern Conference, and are just a few points away from chasing the President’s Trophy. The Isles are having a very strong season, but you just get that feeling that many will not consider them a serious Stanley Cup contender. That would all change in an instant with the addition of a player such as Chara. It would send a strong message to the players and the fans that the Islanders are here for a long run come April and May. With Chara, perhaps, even into June.
Aside from those aforementioned teams, the Wild and Jets could also show very strong interest in acquiring Chara, as could a handful of other teams looking to make a splash prior to Monday’s 3 p.m. 2015 NHL Trade Deadline. If the Bruins do decide to dangle Chara, look for a plethora of playoff contenders to look to bite.