In any other offseason, Jonas Brodin would be a prime target for the Bruins.
However, this is not a normal offseason.
The pre-expansion trade freeze has begun and the expansion lists have been submitted. No trades can be announced between now and June 22, with the exception of side deals with the Golden Knights which will be announced on the 21st.
Last week, CSNNE’s Joe Taggerty reported that The Bruins and Wild were in trade talks for Minnesota’s left handed defenseman Jonas Brodin. Though Haggerty has been suspect to shakey rumors at times, this makes sense on paper. The Bruins have a need on the left side D, with only Torey Krug and 40 year old Zdeno Chara signed for next season, and seldom used Joe Morrow as an RFA. The thinking is that Brodin can fill both a short term need and long term need to fill the void of Zdeno Chara when he retires, and the Wild have 5 really good defenseman and it’s unreasonable that they will be able to keep them all under the cap.
However, a left handed defenseman isn’t necessarily a long term need of the Bruins. Prospects Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Ryan Lindgren, Emil Johansson, Rob O’Garra, and Matt Grzelcyk are all left handed, and acquiring a 23 year old Brodin may block some of those guys coming up. Basically it wouldn’t be worth overpaying for Brodin as a long term solution when there is a plethora of LHD in the system. A 28-29 year old vet would serve the same purpose as Brodin would for a far less price.
Second, and probably most importantly, a trade between the Bruins and Wild for a defenseman prior to the expansion draft just didn’t make sense for either team. Both teams have more good defenseman than they can protect, just the Wild’s defenseman are… more good. The Wild have defenseman Ryan Suter (who has a no-move clause), Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, and Matt Dumba, and forwards Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, all who have NMCs, Eric Staal, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund, and Erik Haula. That’s way too many good players and more than they can protect in either format. They’re better off just biting the bullet and losing just one player to the Golden Knights rather than losing two good players if they trade one. With roughly 11.4 million in cap space, losing a Dumba, Scandella, Brodin or somebody else would give them enough cap space to sign RFAs Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund, and Erik Haula.
Now to the Bruins side of the rumor. Say a deal does work out with the wild. For the sake of example let’s say they give up the 18th pick this year, Jesse Gabrielle, and a 2018 3rd for Brodin. Obviously they would protect Brodin after acquiring him, leaving Kevan Miller, Colin Miller, and Adam McQuaid all exposed. After the playoffs and solid regular season Kevan had, one would suspect that he would be the one Vegas takes from the Bruins. So if you add Kevan Miller to the package of #18, Gabrielle, and the 3rd, is it worth Brodin? No. If you give Vegas a 2nd to not take K. Miller that doesn’t make it any better. The only way it makes sense is if Minnesota protects Brodin then trades him to the Bruins after the expansion draft, which again doesn’t make sense for Minnesota.
Brodin is young and signed long term, but he’s not great offensively. He had a career high in points this past season with 25, scoring just 3 goals and had a career high of 8 in 2014. He’s not a great possession player, supporting a 48.2% CF over his career. He’s a good defender and has good shot suppression metrics, yet doesn’t provide much offense. HERO charts and advanced analytics aren’t always the end all be all of a player’s value, but his number say that he’s probably a number 4 defenseman on a good team. Again, not worth overpaying for.
In a season without an expansion draft, the Bruins trading for Jonas Brodin would make sense for the right price. An overpayment wouldn’t be worth it with the depth in the organization, and exposing another defenseman to Vegas on top of the price paid for Brodin wouldn’t be worth it. However, the Bruins do have a need a LD, and would be better off acquiring a veteran stop gap until the likes of Zboril, Lauzon, or Lindgren are ready to take on a full time NHL role.
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