Which Prospects Might Don Sweeney Use As Bait?

The NHL Trade Deadline is less than one week away. Over the past few weeks, quite a few NHL teams completed trades, in which several prospects were dealt.

The price for talent is going up. This means that if the Boston Bruins were to make a significant addition prior to Monday’s Trade Deadline, that it could mean that one or two prospects might be on the move. Let’s take a look at which prospects have been dealt lately, as it will give you an understanding of who the Bruins would likely need to move to acquire offensive depth.

Let’s Look At The Prospects Who Were Dealt

Since February 10th, several prospects including Calen Addison (Lethbridge Hurricanes, RHD), Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets, LW) and Tyler Madden (Northeastern University, C) have been on the move. Addison was part of the Minnesota Wild-Pittsburgh Penguins trade that helped the Penguins bring Jason Zucker to the Steel City. Foote was used as bait in the Blake Coleman trade. The Tampa Bay Lightning wanted to add some more offensive depth and in exchange they coughed up Foote (in addition to the 2020 first round pick from Vancouver, which was previously acquired in the J.T. Miller trade). Madden (former NHLer John Madden’s son) was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings in the Tyler Toffoli swap. With the Canucks having some health issues with Brock Boeser, the need for a top-six winger emerged. Canucks general manager Jim Benning decided to part with Madden, in an attempt to ensure that Vancouver can make a long playoff run.

The Tyler Toffoli trade is an interesting one. The Canucks coughed up Madden and a 2020 second round draft selection. Given that Toffoli is in the last year of his contract, it seems rather shocking that the Canucks needed to part with Madden, who was one of the best prospects in Vancouver’s system. Madden was not on the same level as other Canucks prospects like Nils Höglander, Michael DiPietro and Vasili Podkolzin, but Madden has the potential to be a quality top-six forward down the road. Madden is in his sophomore season with Northeastern and has been lighting up the lamp since he came to the Huskies. The 20-year-old possesses strong mobility and is truly dynamic in the offensive zone. He is consistently hovering all over the offensive zone and finding open ice. When his opponent has the puck in their own zone, Madden is hungry for the puck and is always looking for the optimal forecheck.

In the clip below, you can check out Madden on the power play against Harvard University at the Beanpot Semifinals. As I mentioned above, Madden hovers all over the offensive zone and hunts for open ice. Once he has open ice and possession of the puck, he delivers a quality pass to Chicago Blackhawks prospect Ryan Shea. Shea fires a shot from the point to pave the way for a Northeastern goal.

In the Jason Zucker and Blake Coleman trades, both forwards are on decent deals and still have term left. The return on the Coleman trade was far more substantial than the Zucker one, when you look at the production from Coleman.

PlayerTeamIndividual Expected GoalsGARGoalsAssistsGoals Per 60
Blake ColemanTampa Bay17.8710.721101.28
Jason ZuckerPittsburgh8.818.317160.85

*Expected Goals and GAR is from their time with their previous club

Stats from Evolving-Hockey.com, Hockey-Reference.com and NaturalStatTrick.com

While historically Zucker has been more efficient in the offensive zone, Coleman has had an outstanding campaign and is proving to be a dependable asset in the offensive zone. In fact, Coleman has a higher Goals/60 than Travis Konecny, Adam Henrique, Nikita Kucherov, Conor Garland, William Nylander, Jake Guentzel, Roope Hintz and Bryan Rust.

In addition, as @EvolvingHockey pointed out the other day, Coleman is fantastic in the defensive zone and is quite familiar with the “powerkill”. For those who are not aware of the “powerkill”, I highly recommend checking out Alison Lukan of The Athletic’s post on how the Columbus Blue Jackets have been implementing the “powerkill” penalty kill technique.

With Coleman and Zucker both being quality producers all over the ice, they were bound to fetch a solid return. In terms of Zucker, the Minnesota Wild managed to add a strong mobile defenseman in Calen Addison.

On the other hand, Foote has the potential to be a top-line winger and has been outstanding in the offensive zone. Below is a clip from the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. Foote was a key contributor on Team Canada’s power-play and had a quality snipe against the Americans in group play.

What Does This Mean For The Bruins?

If the Boston Bruins were to go and make a trade with the New York Rangers and acquire Chris Kreider, the price might be higher than it was a couple of weeks ago. The Tyler Toffoli trade makes it even more challenging for the Bruins to net a strong power forward like Kreider. Plus, Kreider’s ixG (individual expected goals) is higher than Toffoli’s. Kreider is also a physical specimen and seems to be a natural fit for the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately, that would mean that the Bruins would have to move a solid asset. The Rangers would likely be asking for one of the following prospects: John Beecher (University of Michigan), Axel Andersson (Moncton Wildcats), Jeremy Lauzon and/or Jack Studnicka (Providence Bruins). In addition, Boston would likely cough up a high pick.

If the Bruins were to engage in conversations with the New Jersey Devils for Kyle Palmieri or the Montreal Canadiens for Ilya Kovalchuk, the return would be slightly different. While Kovalchuk has been productive since joining the Canadiens, his inconsistent play over the past couple of seasons will not warrant a massive return. The Canadiens will get a solid return on investment, but not a significant one.

On the other hand, acquiring Palmieri will be costly. He has another year left on his deal and has been quite productive in the offensive zone. The Devils would likely demand a similar return as to what they received for Blake Coleman.

All-in-all, if the Bruins want to make a significant acquisition, it will come at a high cost. They will need to give up one of their top prospects such as Beecher, Andersson, Lauzon and/or Studnicka.

stats from Evolving-Hockey.com, NaturalStatTrick.com and Hockey-Reference.com

Josh Tessler

QMJHL/US Scout for FCHockey, Sabres/NCAA Scout for DobberProspects, Prospect Contributor for BruinsDiehards My Twitter Handle - @JoshTessler_

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