The Boston Bruins are currently engaged in contract talks with unrestricted free agent Jarome Iginla. That’s good news to hear considering that it would be hard to replace a 30-goal scorer in your lineup. There have been reports that the Bruins have put all other free agent talks on hold in attempts of getting Iginla signed by July 1.
In my mind, one of the two—Iginla or Brad Marchand—have to go this offseason. If I had my pick, I’d resign Iginla and move Marchand. However, if the Bruins don’t give Iginla what he wants, he may walk which would free up some cap space. It’s as simple as you need an upgrade on one of the top two lines. When asked about Shawn Thornton, who is also an unrestricted free agent, Bruins’ General Manager Peter Chiarelli noted that his team would like to move away from a fighting style of hockey. This may not be a good sign for Thornton, who’s been a fan favorite in recent years for his bruising style of play.
Assuming that one of the two in Iginla or Marchand departed along with Thornton, the Bruins may have room to sign a right winger to play on one of the top two lines and a right winger to play on one of the bottom two lines. I’d also like to see them add a defenseman as well. Here are four free agents (two forwards and two defensemen) that may make sense for the Bruins:
RW Marian Gaborik: Gaborik lifted his first Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night. Much of the credit for the Kings’ success has to be attributed to Gaborik, who the Kings acquired prior to this year’s trade deadline. He scored the most goals (14) in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs and also added 22 points. Gaborik would slot in nicely alongside David Krejci on the Bruins’ top line. Enough with the “Bruins’ style of play,” what they really need is a lethal goal scorer and that could be Gaborik.
RW Ryan Callahan: The former New York Ranger captain is on the market and he may just fit in nicely with the Bruins’ third line. A gritty player, Callahan was moved to Tampa Bay in the Martin St. Louis deal prior to the trade deadline. Between the two clubs, Callahan played in 65 regular season games and scored 17 goals and added 19 assists for 36 points. His style of play may fit in nicely with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, while the Bruins could drop Matt Fraser or Chris Kelly down to play with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille on the fourth line.
D Matt Niskanen or Anton Stralman: The Pittsburgh Penguins were once again a disaster when it came to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but none of that blame can be attributed to Matt Niskanen. The 27-year-old played in all but one game for the Penguins this season, registering 46 points from the back end. He also added nine points in 13 postseason games. His next contract may be a little bit pricy, but it may be worth it. Anton Stralman is in a similar boat. He played outstanding in the Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final. Stralman, who’s also 27 years of age, may come at a steep price as well. The Swede is more of a defensive defenseman, but he was durable and reliable this season, playing in all but one game and adding 13 points to go along with a plus-nine rating.