While the olympic break has put an end to an NHL play, the rumors continue to persist, and, per usual, the Boston Bruins are involved.
The most notable being that Darren Dreger tweeted the Bruins have a deal in place to bring a defenseman after the Olympic freeze lifts. Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com mentioned that the name most heavily mentioned is Dan Hamhuis, so let’s start with him.
Dan Hamhuis (Defense, Nashville Predators):
A former top 15 pick of the Preds, Hamhuis, has been a solid defenseman for Nashville since he joined the league for the 2005-06 season. However, he is an impending UFA who will expect a raise. The Preds, all ready with Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, are absolutely stacked on defense in terms of prospects (Jon Blum, Ryan Ellis, Cody Franson, Alexander Sulzer, and Charles Olivier-Roussel) all have legitimate pro potential leading to Hamhuis on the market.
Hamhuis would undoubtedly solidify the Bruins defensive corps. He is arguably better then anyone they currently have besides Zdeno Chara (perhaps Derek Morris would challenge him). He can contribute in the offensive zone, and get the puck out of the defensive zone quickly.
So, would I take Hamhuis? Absolutely.
What he would cost seems a bit cloudy as of now. Nashville is always challenged in the scoring department, so they would probably start with a high asking price of Wheeler/Marchand or any other high end scoring prospect. The B’s shouldn’t/won’t trade those guys for a rental. Michael Ryder comes to mind as a potential target, and maybe throw in Hamill and a pick to sweeten the pot.
Tomas Kaberle (Defense, Toronto Maple Leafs):
Kaberle remains my favorite target for the Bruins. Yes, he has a No Trade Clause, but, Kaberle would waive it to come to Boston.
Reports from Andy Strickland of Hockeybuzz.com are that he would waive it but wants to stay in the Eastern Conference.
The fact is Kaberle is exactly what this defense and offense needs. He can actually skate the puck up the ice! Remember last season when the Bruins would score pretty, transition goals? Kaberle could actually provide that boost. He could probably be had for some picks and a player, and would be worth the cost. He would improve this team more the Hamhuis (and he isn’t an impending free agent).
Aaron Ward (Defense, Carolina Hurricanes):
Fun sentimental value, and would let Jake Duhaime dust off his #44 jersey, but does it make sense or improve the team? No.
John-Michael Liles (Defense, Colorado Avalanche):
This would be interesting. He has fallen into the doghouse over in Colorado, and is expensive at $4 million-plus. Therefore, it seems obvious they would want to trade him. Kaberle is better, but Liles could provide a similar spark. I would bet he could be had for Hunwick (a similar player) plus some pick/prospect just to provide the Avs some cap relief.
In terms of forwards, it just does not seem there is a great, cost-worthy answer to the Bruins problems.
The solution may be to get a little faster (Raffi Torres) and as gritty as possible. Combine that with a defense that can move the puck, and the Bruins would be tough to play against throughout March and in the playoffs. I would love to substitute Ray Whitney and/or Alexi Ponikarovsky for Miro Satan, but, it just isn’t worth killing the future. I still look for Brad Marchand to possibly be called up. Rob Murray had absolutely glowing comments about him, and he too could provide speed, grit, and charisma to the team.
1. Dan Hamhuis
2. Tomas Kaberle
3. Raffi Torres
1. Dennis Wideman
2. Michael Ryder
3. Zach Hamill