In a recent article, I discussed why the Boston Bruins need to acquire a right winger by this year’s trade deadline. Excluding David Pastrnak, the production from that position has been extremely underwhelming, so they could use a real upgrade to it. Ideally, they should be aiming to add a top-six winger to the roster, but a middle-six one would still be welcomed, too. Now, in this piece, I will take a gander at a few specific right wingers they should consider targeting.
When it comes to this list, there will not only be rental candidates discussed, but also other players who have some term left on their contracts. Yet, the one thing that they all share is that they all have the potential to help fix this ongoing issue. Thus, it would be fantastic to see any of them end up on the Bruins before the deadline passes. Nevertheless, let’s dive into each player now.
Conor Garland of the Vancouver Canucks is reportedly available, and on paper, he would be a perfect fit for the Bruins. Thus, it isn’t surprising to hear that they are expressing interest in the 25-year-old yet again. In 43 games this season, he has 11 goals, 15 assists, and a plus-8 rating. That kind of production would be welcomed with open arms to the Bruins’ top six.
Garland also would be far more than a rental if acquired, as he carries a $4.95 million cap hit until the completion of the 2025-26 campaign. He would be a long-term investment, but he is still young and should have plenty of time left in his prime. However, the one downside is that the Canucks would likely ask for top prospect Fabian Lysell in return, as reported by Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now. To be blunt – it would be very risky to trade their 2021 first-round selection for him. However, if they find a different package that could bring the Massachusetts native home, it has to be at least considered.
Alexander Barabanov is an interesting rental candidate who the Bruins should consider. Out of all the potential right wings on the market, it’s hard to find one with a better contract than the 27-year-old. He only carries a $1 million cap hit, and that’s an extreme bargain when looking at how well he’s played this season. In 38 games this campaign, he has six goals and 23 points. If he were on the Bruins, he would be ranked sixth on the team in scoring.
Although Barabanov may not be as flashy of a name as Garland, he still would be an upgrade to the team’s top six. He is quietly having himself a breakout season for the Sharks, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for him. He will be getting a nice raise this offseason, but the Bruins should contemplate taking advantage of his steal of a contract now. Not only would he work well in their top six, but he also could provide a new spark to their power play, too.
The Anaheim Ducks are starting to fall back down to Earth, as they have won just four out of their last 10 games and are now fourth in Pacific Division. With this, teams like the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers have games in hand and could easily take the second Wild Card spot away from them. If this concerning trend continues, the rebuilding squad will likely be sellers at the deadline. If this does indeed happen, one rental candidate who the Bruins could consider from them is winger Rickard Rakell.
Rakell is a very versatile player, as he can play all three forward positions if needed. He has primarily played right wing this season, however. In 38 games thus far, he has 10 goals, 10 assists, and an even rating. For his standards, it is a bit of a down year, but he is still producing fairly well. With that, the top-six forward only carries a $3.8 million cap hit for the remainder of the season. Thus, he wouldn’t be too hard to fit within the salary cap. He has the potential to produce even more frequently, too, as he did record 69 points in 77 games during the 2017-18 season.
In a recent piece for Daily Faceoff, Frank Seravalli noted that Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli could be a player the Bruins target this deadline season. It is extremely rare to see these two longtime rivals strike a deal, and their last one occurred over 20 years ago. However, with how poorly the Canadiens’ season has gone, they are expected to make serious changes to their roster. Therefore, the 29-year-old winger’s name has come up in the rumor mill because of it.
Like Garland, Toffoli would be more than a rental if acquired. His contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2023-24 season, and he carries an affordable $4.25 million cap hit. He is once again having a strong season offensively, as he has nine goals and 26 points in 35 contests. This is impressive when remembering how poorly the rest of the Canadiens’ lineup is producing. If he were to be placed on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, it would be intriguing to see how much his numbers go up. The Bruins have also been linked to him in the past, so it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t at least consider the idea of adding him.
Truth be told, the Bruins have several different issues that they could aim to fix this trade deadline. With the way they have been playing as of late, it’s apparent that this roster will have trouble competing against top-of-the-line Eastern Conference teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, and Tampa Bay Lightning. However, if they do wish to increase their odds of getting past the first round of the playoffs, improving at the right wing position is a goal they should have. Any of these four would be beneficial to acquire, but time will tell what ends up happening on that front.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.