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Prior to last season’s NHL trade deadline, the Bruins acquired Rick Nash in hopes of boosting their second-line scoring punch. The move failed to pan out and some observers feel it’s an issue that still needs addressing for the coming season.
In a recent mailbag segment, NBC Sports’ Joe Haggerty was asked if the Bruins still intend to acquire a winger. He believes that decision will have to wait until after all clubs have evaluated their rosters during training camp next month.
Haggerty suggests Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin could be available before the start of the season. The 26-year-old left wing is due to become an unrestricted free agent next July and is reportedly reluctant to discuss a contract extension with the Jackets.
Like Panarin, Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds is also slated for UFA status next July. Haggerty believes the physical 29-year-old would be a great fit with the Bruins. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall last month said he’d like to retain Simmonds but declined to discuss contract talks publicly.
Simmonds is coming off pelvic surgery, which could affect his performance. The Flyers will likely assess his early-season play before deciding on whether to re-sign or trade him.
The Bruins have depth on defense to use as trade bait to bring in a forward. Puck-moving rearguard Torey Krug was a frequent subject of trade conjecture but that talk has died down in recent weeks. Haggerty believes Bruins management could be reluctant to move him unless the deal is a winner for them.
Acquiring Panarin or Simmonds would be an expensive undertaking for the Bruins in return and contract extension. The Jackets and Flyers could also prefer getting a forward as part of any potential deal for either guy.
Haggerty also noted former Bruins center Tyler Seguin has yet to sign a contract extension with the Stars. Should Seguin become available via trade or free agency, however, Haggerty doubts a reunion with the Bruins will happen, citing in part the high cost of acquiring a player whose production tends to dry up when the going gets tough.
Red Wings vets facing uncertain futures
Entering 2018-19, the rebuilding continues for the once-mighty Red Wings. As they transition toward younger talent, questions linger over where veterans such as goaltender Jimmy Howard, winger Gustav Nyquist and defenseman Trevor Daley fit into the club’s future plans.
Howard, 34, has filled the role of starting goaltender with the Wings since 2009-10. He becomes eligible next July for unrestricted free agent status. In a recent mailbag segment, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press was asked if the Wings’ recent signing of Jonathan Bernier means Howard might be dealt before the Feb. 25, 2019, trade deadline.
St. James said the Wings know what they have in Howard and would prefer keeping him, suggesting he could get a two-year contract extension if he has a good season. However, she doesn’t rule out the possibility of Howard being moved at the deadline if the Wings get a good offer and returning to Detroit next summer as a free agent.
Like Howard, Nyquist is also slated for UFA status next July. Though he’s tallied 40 or more points in each of the last five seasons, the 28-year-old winger is a streaky scorer who leaves Red Wings fans wanting more.
MLive.com’s Ansar Khan believes the Wings will evaluate Nyquist’s performance during the first half of this season. With several promising young forwards already on the roster and in the Wings’ pipeline, he might not fit into their long-term plans. Nyquist carries a no-trade clause but Khan speculates he could waive it to join a playoff contender.
Unlike Howard and Nyquist, Daley remains under contract through 2019-20. He also carries a no-trade clause, but Khan reports that expires within 10 days of next February’s trade deadline. As a result, the 34-year-old blueliner could get moved come deadline day. Having term on his contract could make him an attractive option for clubs seeking more than a rental player for the playoffs.