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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

What to Expect at the NHL Trade Deadline

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Staff writer Sean McLean writes that a trade swapping Bruins winger Loui Eriksson for Jets captain Andrew Ladd and defenseman Tobias Enstrom would make sense for both Boston and Winnipeg. 

As February 29 quickly approaches, the NHL trade deadline is nearly upon us.
There is always hype and chatter heading into any trade deadline in any league, and more often than not, fans are left disappointed with no really big trades.
This NHL trade deadline is a tough one to read. There are a ton of teams that are in the playoff hunt that did not expect to be such as Carolina, Philadelphia, and Arizona. There will be no shortage of buyers this year at the deadline, with teams like Boston and New Jersey just a couple moves away from a legitimate shot. However, it is hard to predict because this market lacks big names. Outside of Carolina’s Eric Staal and Cam Ward, and Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd, everyone else is a long shot.
There have been whispers of the injury riddled Canadiens selling this year, with even P.K. Subban being mentioned. I find that rumor to be ridiculous, as the Habs front office is aware their struggles are linked to the injury of Carey Price, and I think they are willing to just take this year off. Outside of a blind side trade, the big names aren’t very plentiful, but you never know what could happen with desperate teams who know how close they are.
The Boston Bruins are in an interesting position — playing inconsistently, but have been prone to streaks of exceptional play. That is a testament to the talented youth on the team, and we all know that a youth movement can often result in team inconsistency. However, with talented veterans like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Zdeno Chara on the team, you could say that in the weak Atlantic Division, the Bruins are just one top four (preferably top two) D-man away from having a chance in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins also have a great trade chip: Loui Eriksson. The skillful winger has been having a respectable and healthy year, and with him on an expiring contract, he might not be the best buy for the Bruins. He could be sold to a team looking for a wing; the most likely spot would be Winnipeg, potentially trading team captain, Andrew Ladd. The Jets will look for a less expensive replacement for Ladd and Eriksson fits the bill. The Jets also have a top four D-man in Tobias Enstrom, and a swap for the two is possible and would make sense for both sides.
There is another possible trade that is of a lot of interest to the league. Andrew Ladd, as previously mentioned, is being shopped by the Winnipeg Jets. Ladd has been a solid player, and more than anything else, a terrific leader in his career, even winning a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. With his contract expiring and Winnipeg already extending free-agent-to-be Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets will not be able to also commit to their captain. The most recent rumor involved Ladd heading to the Kings in exchange for young winger Tanner Pearson. Pearson is having a down year with only seven goals and 22 points in 55 games played this season, but the former 30th overall pick has promise. If Winnipeg really has faith in the player, don’t be shocked to see them take a chance on Pearson, even if it means giving up a great player that they expect to lose anyway. Overall, the return would not be bad for Winnipeg if the deal is sweetened with draft picks, and that is a trade the Kings would be crazy to pass on.
Those are the two trade ideas I would suggest keeping an eye on. Winnipeg is no doubt in seller mode, as they sit at the bottom of the Central Division. It’s a bit of a disappointment for the Jets, coming off the franchise’s first playoff berth in Winnipeg. The team has a lot of pieces that other teams will undoubtedly have interest in, and it won’t come as a surprise that the team will look to rebuild again. The Bruins, not struggling in their rebuild as much, will look to make a low risk, high reward move that could give them a shot — if they don’t they still will be playoff hopefuls, just not contenders. The season has been a pleasant surprise, and a playoff berth, though great, is not necessary. The team will continue its set course for a future of prosperity, and as a Bruins fan, I really can’t complain about that.