The NHL’s December holiday roster freeze is almost upon us, which means that trades and trade rumours are primed to heat up. It’s possible that the next week and a half or so will involve very little by way of movement, but there are some teams that could be making waves ahead of December 19.
Among them are the Boston Bruins. They’ve been searching for a top six forward for some time now, likely since losing out on Jarome Iginla. As a team, they’ve since their offensive production slip from an average of 3.15 goals per game in 2013-2014 to just 2.50 goals per game this season. Iginla, who posted 30 goals last season, was a big piece of that pie.
As for who the Bruins would focus on, there are some choices. Jordan Eberle has been among the names batted around. The 24-year-old would be a nice addition to Boston’s roster and Edmonton certainly is interested in some of the Bruins’ assets, but it’s a matter of putting those elements together and getting a deal done.
In the past, the Bruins and Oilers were in talks around Johnny Boychuk. The defenceman is now with the New York Islanders, but that hasn’t closed up communications between Edmonton and Boston.
Also in the game are the Detroit Red Wings. They’re largely considered to be buyers at this point in the game and Ken Holland has been shopping for a defenceman. Mike Green is among the more likely options and he’s in his last year of his contract with the Washington Capitals. By most accounts, he’s not going to re-up with the club. And by most accounts, he should be affordable at this point and time.
And the Pittsburgh Penguins are also looking for something. In their case, it’s likely a top six forward to help flesh out those top lines. With Pascal Dupuis out for six months or so, the need for a winger is even more pronounced. General manager Jim Rutherford has come out against the idea of a rental player, which shouldn’t be a problem given the shallowness of the market.
Players like Vincent Lecavalier and Antoine Vermette are among the bigger names who could be up on the blocks soon. Lecavalier in particular is considered a must-move for the Philadelphia Flyers, but his big contract is going to be a tough sell. And Vermette is in the last season of his contract with the Coyotes, which means Arizona could be looking to use him as a bargaining chip down the line.
Other teams will be using the winter period to break down what they’ve to work with. The Chicago Blackhawks have a lot of green committed for next season and have pending restricted free agents Brandon Saad and Johnny Oduya to contend with.
And the Maple Leafs are also in the mix, as usual. They have to figure out what to do when it comes to giving players like Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Bernier raises. There have been rumblings with respect to Joffrey Lupul, although it’s hard to imagine a good on-ice reason to push him out. If he is moved, that clears up cap space and gives Toronto more options when it comes to signing other deals.
Right now, there’s a lot of chatter when it comes to pre-break trade movements. There’s nothing concrete as of yet, but as usual the conversation is at least interesting.