4 Trades the Bruins Must Make to Become Stanley Cup Favorites at the Deadline

Feb 26, 2024; Seattle, Washington, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88, middle)
Feb 26, 2024; Seattle, Washington, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88, middle) / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 4

After 60 games played, the Boston Bruins are tied for the league's highest point total. With the wounds of last season's playoff collapse after a historic regular season still fresh on everyone's mind, it is hard to imagine general manager Don Sweeney and president Cam Neely sitting idly with another postseason appearance on the horizon. The last week or so has also ignited a sense of urgency. The Bruins have lost three straight and are 3-2-5 in their last 10. They have also gone to overtime in seven of their last eight, and the NHL's awarding of a point for overtime losses has been Boston's saving grace.

Boston's front office could have their eye on several trade targets across the league, but the well is nearly barren when it comes to trade assets. The Bruins' farm system is 28th in the NHL, and they don't have a first, second, or third round pick in the upcoming draft. Boston is right up against the hard cap, and they could very well have to part ways with NHL contracts (Jake DeBrusk? Linus Ullmark? Derek Forbort) to make room on the payroll for playoff reinforcements.

This trade deadline will also provide a lot of insight into how the front office assesses this team. Coming into this season, the 2023-24 Bruins were widely regarded as a bridge team. After exceeding expectations through 60 games, how does that change Sweeney and Neely's perspective on the team? At last year's deadline, the team epitomized the concept of going "all in". In totality at the deadline, Boston traded away a 2023 first-round pick, a top-10 protected 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick, a 2024 third-round pick and a 2023 fifth-round pick.

Do Sweeney and Neely pivot after the regular season performance thus far, or do they stay true to the bridge year that they likely anticipated coming into the campaign? It is hard to imagine that they would elect the "stand pat" path with the Bruins atop the standings at this point in the season, but they also can't produce trade capital out of nowhere. As they approach this deadline, it is quite obvious that Boston is paying the price for their "all in" philosophy in past seasons.

Tied atop the NHL's leaderboard with over two-thirds over the season gone, that criteria alone establishes the Bruins as Cup contenders. If they want to hoist the Stanley Cup, here are four trade targets that they need to consider.

4. Anthony Duclair, LW, San Jose Sharks

A member of the Florida Panthers squad that broke the Bruins' hearts last postseason, Boston must be hoping that Anthony Duclair can once again be on the winning side for a deep playoff run, this time donning Black & Gold.

The 28-year-old was traded to the wretched San Jose Sharks this past offseason, who are tied for the lowest points total in the NHL this season. Duclair has shot out of a cannon after the All-Star break, perhaps knowing in the back of his mind that a strong showing could earn him a lifeline out of San Jose and onto a playoff contender. He has scored two games in five games since the break, and doubled his quality chances per game. After the time off, Duclair says that he "feels like a new player" and his play has reflected that. Obviously, the Bruins would hope that he can continue that trajectory if he joins the B's.

In 51 games total with the Sharks, Duclair has found the net 11 times while dishing out 8 assists. His goal total is good for third-best on San Jose. Duclair would provide a faster-paced role for the Bruins while adding another potential contributor to the power play unit, but he doesn't project as a physical or defensive presence that can be so vital come playoff time.

Duclair has been the definition of a suitcase in his 10-year NHL career. If he is indeed dealt, the Bruins would be his eighth team. His contract expires after this season, and his $3 million cap hit would be workable in a trade.