No beating around the bush here—the monkey is out of the bag.
Ignoring the typical writing clichés, the argument for this one can be made without reasonable doubt. No, this has nothing to do with the fact that the Boston Bruins just faced off against the Edmonton Oilers—a 5-2 victory on home ice for the Black and Gold—this past Thursday night. Early reports indicated that the B’s were looking to bolster their offense.
Honestly, why not go after Jordan Eberle? From 2010-2012, Edmonton drafted three number-one overall picks that yielded some great talent. With Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov on the roster, you would think that the team would be competitive. However, with Eberle and the young defensive core, this mix has not gelled and someone has to be gone.
Whether it would be in early 2015 before the trade deadline or during next summer, the Bruins have the firepower and assets to trade for the Regina, Saskatchewan native.
Eberle just recently signed a five-year extension with the Oilers, a deal in which he will make $6 million/year. If the Bruins manage it correctly, they can swing his contract. According to local reports, the Oilers were looking for Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Malcolm Subban (or another young prospect), and draft picks to be included in the return package.
Is that too much? Let’s find out.
Kelly, who is off to the best start of his career from a statistical standpoint, has seven points through 15 games. This year would be the perfect time to sell high on Kelly. He makes $3.5 million/year, plus the Oilers need veteran leadership and depth at the center position. If they want a young center, Alexander Khokhlachev would be a viable option if the Bruins do not want to part ways with Ryan Spooner.
As far as Bartkowski goes, he was a nice player in the aggregate. Lately, he has been on a downward spiral. His team-worst minus-4 rating has earned him a permanent seat up in the level nine press box at TD Garden. Unfortunately, fans will gladly chip in for his flight out of Boston at this point.
Now, we come to Subban, the highly-regarded goaltender prospect. Yes, he is doing well down in Providence this season. With that being said, both Tuukka Rask and Niklas Svedberg are both in their mid-twenties. Together, they comprise one of the best goalie tandems in the Eastern Conference, and that will continue to be the case for the next decade. When would Subban actually get a REAL chance to suit up for the big club? Barring injury, not very often.
If the Bruins are seriously interested in Eberle, who is 24 years of age, Subban should be expendable. You already have the goaltender situation figured out, so why not give up a player who would give you someone that will solve your top-line winger position for the next decade?
Since draft picks are never a guarantee, that package the Oilers are allegedly seeking should sound pretty great to the Bruins. If they seek a trade-deadline deal, they should target the talented winger. With the emergence of Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky, and Joe Morrow on the blue line in the absence of some key pieces, trading for another defenseman would be a waste. The B’s need help at wing.
Eberle has three goals and six assists so far on the year, which are not bad numbers. He would provide an immediate impact to this team who needs a top-line right winger for the next several seasons. Whether Edmonton pulls the trigger on the deal with the proposed package is another story, but Eberle sure would look great in a Bruins’ sweater.