The Bruins and Avalanche are once again talking trades. It’s believed both Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene are available. (Roy Chenoy/USA Today Sports)
The Bruins are running out of it. Energy. Solutions. Ideas. Excuses. Internal options. You name it, and they are sure to be running out of it.
That’s simply not going to work for a Bruins team that’s been put on the notice and told that a third straight season of missing the postseason is just plain unacceptable. And it’s led to the Bruins sticking out as one of the more active teams involved in the trade market, too.
Earlier this season, the Bruins were among those most interested in trading for Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba during his holdout with the Jets, but balked at the asking price when it included Brandon Carlo. And they seemed to do to the same when the Avalanche inquired on Carlo’s availability in early talks for Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog.
The word spread throughout the league: being the first of Don Sweeney’s draft picks to crack an NHL lineup, the Bruins considered Carlo pretty damn close to untouchable.
But now, with B’s executive director of player personnel John Ferguson Jr. in Colorado to scout the Avalanche-Blackhawks game tonight after a bizarre turn of events that saw the Bruins cancel a practice they had scheduled less than 24 hours prior, the rumor mill is once again buzzing with the talk of the Bruins and Avalanche trying to work something out.
With the potential of the Bruins bending on their initial refusal to move the 20-year-old Carlo in a trade.
But if the Bruins are bending on this, it’s likely with the intentions to acquire more than Landeskog (who has attracted interest from the Kings and Penguins as well), which creates an interesting dynamic between these two teams. See, the Avalanche are the ones that believe the Bruins have to up their offer and not the other way around. And it wouldn’t be a shock to find out that the Avalanche are merely trying to drive up the price — be it from the Bruins or any other team — intrigued in their captain.
Still, with the Avs looking for a top-notch defenseman in any trade involving Landeskog or Matt Duchene, Carlo seems like an expected starting point, even if the Avs already have two high-end right-shot d-men in Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie. That price paid by the Bruins is not expected to change, either, even if this is a bit of gamesmanship on the part of Avalanche GM Joe Sakic.
In Carlo, the Bruins believe that they have found a first-year pro that can handle the way that the new NHL is trending, and has shown that he has the smarts and defensive prowess to make himself a legitimate top-four option for the Bruins in the now. It also goes without saying that players with the upside and on affordable entry-level contracts like the one Carlo is on are treated as precious gems in this hard cap world, and viewed as an absolute necessity if your team is going to compete for more than one run.
Moving Carlo (who makes less than $800,000 for this season and the two after that) and more for Landeskog (on the hook for just under $6 million per season through 2021), would be a move that shows that the Bruins didn’t really learn enough from a little-by-little fall out of what should have been perennial Cup contention had the Bruins not been handcuffed into overpayments for aging roleplayers and terrible cash-clearing trades (Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders) because of a non-existent farm system.
It’s not that Carlo is untradeable for the Bruins, but he’s untradeable if the deal is one that puts you closer to the hole you’ve spent the last two seasons trying to claw your way out of, and one that landed Sweeney into this job in the first place.
But desperate times call for inflated asking prices in this NHL, and there’s no doubt that these Bruins are desperate.