1. Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames
The Boston Bruins need another top six center if they want to win the Stanley Cup. Charlie Coyle is at his best on the third line, 19-year-old Matthew Poitras doesn't appear to be a long-term solution for this season, and Morgan Geekie is a serviceable player but not a top line caliber talent on a championship team.
Elias Lindholm will almost surely be caught up in the aforementioned Calgary Flames' fire sale this season, and the center ranked first in TSN's first trade bait rankings of the year. The 29 year old is an established NHLer, suiting up for 775 games and notching 533 points. Lindholm is a responsible 200-foot player with multiple top-10 Selke finishes. There should be no shortage of teams kicking the tires on him.
The Bruins and Lindholm were linked in trade rumors over the summer and Boston sought to fill the center positions left vacant by the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Boston's center play this year has somewhat alleviated those gaps in the roster, but it's not a championship top six group. Lindholm could get them much closer to that point.
If it arrives at a point where Sweeney has to decide between Hanifin and Lindholm, the forward should be the clear frontrunner. The Bruins have enough depth in-house on the back end to compensate for missing out on Hanifin, but they simply don't have top six center talent like Lindholm. The Swede should top Sweeney and Neely's shortlist.
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