Boston Bruins need more offensive punch to be legitimate Cup contenders

In what will come as a shock to no one that’s watched more than a handful of Boston Bruins games this season, they don’t have enough depth scoring on the roster. Through 28 games this season the team only has three goal scorers in double digits, David Pastrnak with 14, Brad Marchand with 12, and Patrice Bergeron with ten.

It will also come as no surprise that they’re the only Boston players with more than 20 points, and they all skate on the same line.

Nick Ritchie is a nice depth player, but when he ranks fourth on your squad in goals scored you know you’re having some offensive problems. He, along with defenseman Charlie McAvoy, Craig Smith, and the suddenly unable to put the puck in the net David Krejci round out the Bruins with double-digit points.

With the NHL’s trade deadline on April 12 Boston general manager Don Sweeney really needs to find some way to add some goal scoring to the roster.

At the beginning of the season, it looked like the blue line was going to be the Bruins’ biggest issue with the losses of Torrey Krug and Zdeno Chara, but all in all that portion of the team hasn’t really been a problem. An addition there wouldn’t be terrible if the cost is right, and several sites have indicated the Bruins are interested in Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm, but one would think the cost may be too high for him.

For goal scorers, if you’re one of the fans that think Tyler Hall should be on the Bruins’ radar, allow me to tell you that you’re dreaming. Sweeney kicked those tires when Hall was a free agent and walked away at the insane amount of money Hall got from Buffalo. Now add that Hall is playing like crap for the Sabres and you can quickly erase him from your “go get” list. We won’t even get into the fact that, according to CapFriendly, where all of my salary cap information comes from, Boston can’t fit him under the cap without making a couple of big moves.

And, yes, I’d love to have Jack Eichel, but even if Buffalo is dumb enough to trade him the Bruins don’t have enough pieces to offer the best return for the Sabres, and really don’t have enough cap space over the next couple of seasons to fit him in.

One player that could help out is Bobby Ryan, currently playing for the absolutely terrible Detroit Red Wings. He has six goals and 13 points in 28 games, which on paper isn’t a real improvement over what Boston already has, but surrounded by better players those numbers would certainly be better. His salary cap hit will be low, under half a million dollars, and he shouldn’t cost much to acquire.

Another possible target is Nashville’s Mikael Granlund. He’s another player not having a great year statistically playing on a pretty bad hockey team, with just 13 points so far this season. He’s shown in previous seasons he can score with decent linemates, and like Ryan shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to get. His cap hit would be about $1.5M, which is a touch more than what they are projected to have for the remainder of the season if they make no moves, so just sliding a player to the taxi-squad remedies that situation.

Calgary’s Sam Bennett is an interesting possibility. He’s never really shown the skills one would expect from a top-5 draft pick, but despite his young age, he’s shown a knack for performing in the playoffs. He could be a player that gets a career boost from a change in scenery, and he asked the Flames for a trade back in early February. He probably could be gotten in a conditional draft pick type trade, and his $1M cap hit would fit nicely on the Bruins sheet.

For sentimental reasons, we’ll toss the name Joe Thornton out there. I’m pretty certain he won’t be much help offensively for the Bruins, but many fans would love to see him finish his career in Boston. His $300K cap hit is inconsequential, as would be the very low draft pick it would likely take to get him from Toronto.

Writers and fans love to point out names of players a team should trade for so they can point to themselves when a team actually moves a player they’ve mention, but truth be told Sweeney shouldn’t overlook any legitimate opportunity to improve the team no matter who the player is.

Because it doesn’t matter who claims credit when the Boston Bruins succeed, he’s the only one getting the blame if they don’t.


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