Could the Boston Bruins shop Zdeno Chara? Could the Bruins ship Johnny Boychuk to the Oilers for Nail Yakupov? Will the Oilers pursue a center?
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty, responding to a reader’s question, doubts the Boston Bruins will contemplate trading captain Zdeno Chara. If they did they would need an exit strategy, as currently there’s no one on the Bruins roster capable of playing Chara’s minutes. He also believes the Bruins must trade something of value (like Johnny Boychuk) to land a scoring right wing to replace the departed Jarome Iginla. He suggests Nail Yakupov or David Perron out of Edmonton, as well as “intriguing young names” like Winnipeg’s Evander Kane, Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg or Detroit’s Tomas Tatar might come up when training camp opens.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples dismissed Haggerty’s suggestion of the Oilers parting with Yakupov for Boychuk, mainly because it makes no sense to part with a promising young asset for a player who’s eligible for UFA status next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara’s not going anywhere. The Bruins would prefer slowly passing his playing time and responsibilities to their other blueliners than dumping him outright. Boychuk would certainly attract interest if the Bruins put him on the trade block. Interested teams, however, won’t be keen to part with a good young forward for Boychuk unless he’s willing to commit to a long-term contract extension, or the Bruins re-sign him and then shop him during the season. Besides, it seems Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli hopes to retain Boychuk. It appears they’ll go with Loui Eriksson as their first-line right wing to open the season.
EDMONTON SUN: Derek Van Diest reports Oilers GM Craig MacTavish was unable to find a suitable deal this summer to add a veteran center to his lineup. MacTavish will look to within during training camp in hopes young centers Anton Lander, Mark Arcobello or 2014 first-round pick Leon Draisaitl can step into that role. The Oilers GM remains unwilling to part with any of his young core.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless those younger centers can step up big time this season MacTavish could have little choice but to address their lack of depth at center during the season by moving a young player. If anything happens to first-line center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers forward lines will resemble a doughnut as they’ll be lacking a center.