Report: Bruins, Lightning have ‘reached out' to Canucks about Schenn

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Veteran defensemen are among the most coveted players for contending teams looking to upgrade their rosters before the NHL trade deadline each season.

The Boston Bruins are no exception.

Just last year they swung a blockbuster trade with the Anaheim Ducks to acquire top-four defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who they signed to a long-term extension soon after. Lindholm has been fantastic for the B's this season, making that 2022 trade look pretty good.

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While acquiring a defenseman of Lindholm's caliber might be tougher for the Bruins to pull off in 2023 due to the salary cap, a lack of quality trade assets and other reasons, they could still look for some lower-tier blue line depth before the March 3 deadline.

Which players might the B's target?

Luke Schenn of the Vancouver Canucks is an interesting option, and according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, the Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have shown interest in the veteran defenseman.

"My understanding is that some contenders have reached out to the Canucks to check on Schenn, including the Bruins and Lightning," LeBrun wrote Wednesday. "Not surprising. But the dilemma for Vancouver is whether to grab the best possible trade return or extend Schenn, who is an important leader on the team with Horvat gone and I believe is open to staying."

Schenn will be a free agent in the offseason, so he'd probably be a rental for the Bruins. What could the 33-year-old defenseman provide the Bruins if they traded for him? He can play 15-18 minutes per game in tough, defensive situations and also kill penalties. Schenn has plenty of playoff experience and won two Stanley Cup titles with the Lightning in 2019-20 and 2020-21. His salary cap hit of just $850,000 is pretty attractive for contenders as well.

The fact that the Bruins and Lightning have reportedly checked in on Schenn is interesting. These Atlantic Division rivals could meet in the second round of the playoffs this spring. They also have similar roster needs at the trade deadline.

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Sportsnet's Jeff Marek, speaking on Monday's episode of the "32 Thoughts" podcast, talked about a conversation he had with someone on an NHL team last weekend regarding the Bruins. One interesting part of what Marek said involved the Lightning.

"This person also said to me, one of the sidebars we're going to watch here is how both Tampa and Boston fight over the same players. They've fought over the same players before, when Tampa got (Ryan) McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the Rangers (in 2018). It sounds like Boston was in that as well. That's going to be a really interesting one here to follow."

The Lightning, like the Bruins, don't have many quality trade assets. The Bolts have already traded away their 2023 and 2024 first-round picks (both top-10 protected), and they also don't have a 2023 second-round pick. Tampa Bay's prospect pool is pretty weak, too.

None of the top teams in the Eastern Conference standings have made a substantial move and we're a month away from the trade deadline, which could set the stage for an exciting next few weeks as these contenders search for roster upgrades ahead of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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