Boston Bruins

Report: Bruins have been scouting middle-six forwards before trade deadline

The NHL trade deadline is March 8.

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The Boston Bruins have been a very active team in the weeks and months before the NHL trade deadline throughout Don Sweeney's tenure as general manager.

Sweeney is no stranger to making in-season moves. He has pulled off several blockbuster deals, too. His hit rate on these pre-deadline trades is very good.

What might he have up his sleeve before this season's trade deadline? Well, according to ESPN's Emily Kaplan, the Bruins have been looking at adding some scoring depth.

"The Bruins, despite once again exceeding expectations, are going to feel pressure to do something at the trade deadline to improve their team," Kaplan wrote Thursday. "It's just the nature of the organization and the market. I have heard they are scouting middle-six forwards, especially someone who could add a scoring punch."

A middle-six forward who can score goals would be perfect for the Bruins. The Bruins have scored a league-leading 36 goals in their seven games since the holiday break. They have scored at least three goals in each of those matchups. Boston now ranks 10th in both total goals and 5-on-5 goals as a result of its recent scoring uptick.

However, the Bruins don't have anywhere near the same depth they had last season. They ranked No. 2 in goals scored, then lost top-six centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, middle-six wingers Tyler Bertuzzi and Taylor Hall, and several other players in the offseason. The Bruins mostly went bargain bin shopping in free agency due to their lack of salary cap space, and some of those moves -- like the additions of James van Riemsdyk, Danton Heinen and Morgan Geekie -- have really worked out.

But they still lack that much-needed secondary scoring punch. Jake DeBrusk has been inconsistent this season. Van Riemsdyk has far exceeded expectations so far, but he has scored only two goals in his last 20 games. Rookie centers Matthew Poitras and Johnny Beecher have combined to score just one goal since the start of December. David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Pavel Zacha and Brad Marchand are all producing at a high rate offensively, but the Bruins cannot afford to be too top-heavy entering the playoffs.

One potential issue for the Bruins is that many other contending teams have better trade assets. Boston's prospect pool has made progress in recent years but isn't a top 15 group. The B's also don't have a 2024 first-round pick, and they don't own a second-rounder in 2024 or 2025.

But even without these prime assets, we should still expect Sweeney to make at least one move before the March 8 trade deadline. The Bruins are again one of the best teams in the league. They have a chance to make a deep postseason run, so there's no excuse to stand pat.

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