Bruins: Bye Week Hits Boston at Best Possible Time

The Boston Bruins are coming off a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers Saturday, but they also lost goalie Tuukka Rask in the effort. The netminder is out with a concussion and the silver lining is that the timing isn’t all bad. The Bruins are off on their bye week for the All-Star weekend, which means they won’t play again until January 29 against the Winnipeg Jets.

And that means it’s time to evaluate exactly what Boston needs going forward.

In terms of goaltending, Rask will be back but there is word he could be out longer than the All-Star break would facilitate. He’s under league concussion protocol, but the injury looked nasty and the collision wasn’t good. This is a bad situation for the Bruins because Rask has been 6-0-1 since December 29, when he returned from a leave of absence.

Boston has Jaroslav Halak in the hopper. He’s been playing commendably in Rask’s stead, but the time off might impact his play. Apart from Halak, the Bruins can go with Dan Vladar or Zane McIntyre. The former was called up during Rask’s LOA earlier in the year but didn’t play. The latter is rocking the house in Providence right now.

But really, there’s little in this situation to suggest the Bruins have to actually do anything apart from what they’ve already done.

Elsewhere, however, there are needs.

The Bruins have been short a top-six winger for what seems like forever. They need someone to pad out the second line and to provide secondary scoring, especially when you consider what their playoff matchups could be. There are some idyllic fits, but one stands out more than others.

Wayne Simmonds.

The left winger fits the positional needs of the Bruins and knows how to play the style of hockey Boston needs him to play. He’ll crowd the net and get in the dirty areas. He can be an apt rental and drop off the end of the roster when the season ends if there’s no lasting solution. The red flag is the price tag. The Bruins don’t have mountains of cap space and would have to trade away a pretty dope pick.

Don Sweeney isn’t exactly into that, by the way.

Other names in the mix include Mark Stone, obviously if the Senators can’t get him signed, and St. Louis’ Brayden Schenn. The latter has made more grist for the rumour mills since Blues scouts were seen at the Boston/Montreal matchup a few days back.

Boston has the luxury of time right now and that’ll help them make the decisions they need to make. It’s also a sliver of good news for Rask, as his situation is, honestly, pretty terrible right now.

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