June 24, 2024

As the NHL trade deadline approaches on March 8, the Boston Bruins find themselves at the forefront of the Eastern Conference and in contention for the Stanley Cup once again. General Manager Don Sweeney faces the task of evaluating the team’s needs and determining their level of aggression in the trade market.

Now the bullseye is on Don Sweeney's back

While goaltending has been solid this season with Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark performing well, the Bruins could benefit from bolstering their defense. Despite ranking among the league’s top teams in goals scored and goals against, injuries to key defensemen have highlighted the need for additional depth on the blue line. With Boston’s defensemen collectively missing significant playing time due to injuries, there is a clear demand for a big, stay-at-home defenseman to provide stability.

One potential target for the Bruins is Noah Hanifin of the Calgary Flames, who is in the final year of his contract and could fill a void in Boston’s defensive lineup. However, the Bruins face challenges in acquiring Hanifin due to their limited cap space. With only minimal room under the salary cap, Sweeney may need to explore creative solutions to make a deal work.

One option could involve leveraging long-term injured reserve (LTIR) status for injured players like Hampus Lindholm, potentially freeing up additional cap space to accommodate Hanifin’s contract. This strategy would allow the Bruins to accrue cap space if they operate below the accruable cap space limit.

Acquiring a defenseman of Hanifin’s caliber would not only address immediate needs but also provide valuable depth and support for the team’s defensive core heading into the playoffs. By reducing the workload on key defensemen like Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, the addition of Hanifin could help keep the defensive unit fresh and effective for a postseason run.

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