Bruins consider moves prior to draft

The Boston Bruins appear to have several options coming into the 2010 NHL Entry Draft on June 25-26, and GM Peter Chiarelli seems to be all ears, especially when it comes to his team’s second overall draft pick.

Reports indicate that Chiarelli may try to trade up and nab Edmonton’s number one overall pick in order to ensure that the Bruins can select Windsor Spitfire winger Taylor Hall. The Bruins continue to search for a scoring winger to help replace the loss of Phil Kessel from last summer and Hall, a phenomenal goal scorer, would certainly fit the mold. But the Bruins are afraid that Edmonton will opt to select Hall first overall, which would leave the Bruins with Tyler Seguin at the number two spot. While Seguin is seen as the overall better talent and would certainly provide the Bruins with¬† a strong presence, the Bruins are already rather deep at the center position with Savard, Krejci and Bergeron.

This may not be a far-fetched scenario. The Bruins also hold the 15th, 32nd and 45th picks in the first two rounds of the draft. Boston could easily package one of these picks, in addition to the number two pick, and trade Edmonton for the number one overall selection in order to ensure that Hall plays for the Bruins next season.

Recent reports have also¬† suggested that the Bruins may attempt to trade away the second overall pick for Ottawa forward Jason Spezza, who has reportedly asked to be traded. However, this scenario makes little sense as is. Not only does Spezza play center, but he also comes with a hefty cap hit of $7 million per season. Why would Boston inherit that type of cap hit when they could take Seguin with their number two selection and pay him an entry level rookie contract for the next three years? While Boston would get a proven commodity in Spezza, they would be hard pressed to bring on that type of salary – especially when Seguin could prove to be a Jonathan Toews-type player that the Bruins can continue to build around for years to come. Bringing in Spezza would also displace one of the team’s centers, which means that someone would need to be traded. But there are rumors that account for that situation as well.

The possibility that Spezza gets moved from Ottawa seems to be very high. A more likely scenario may see Boston trade the number two pick for Spezza and then trade away center Patrice Bergeron to open up cap space to absorb Spezza’s cap hit. Bergeron is expected to make $4.75 million next season and is an unrestricted free agent the season after. By shedding Bergeron’s salary, the Bruins would be in a better position to absorb Spezza’s lofty price tag. The Bruins currently have 18 players signed for next season with roughly $6 million in room under the cap (if the cap raises by about $2 million as is expected). That would give Boston roughly $3.75 to sign another three or four players to fill out their roster if they brought in Spezza.

It would not surprise me if Boston made some type of move prior to or on draft day, especially since the team has four draft picks in the first two rounds – including the number two selection. Will Boston move that pick? I’m sure that Boston would consider it, especially if the right deal came along. And Spezza could be a heck of a deal. But the team could really use some scoring wingers and it couldn’t hurt to add more secondary scoring depth. The Bruins may also look into dealing right wing Michael Ryder who is severely under-performing for $4 million a season. There are a lot of options on the table for Boston, and Chiarelli has his hands full finding the moves that will benefit the team the most this season and in the future.

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