The Boston Bruins are currently a 5th seed in the Eastern Conference, and in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. By no means is this team a championship contender, but they are not too far away either. Only 5 points behind the Florida Panthers with 24 games to go, the Bruins could make a move or two at the deadline that at least gives them a fighting chance at a Cup appearance. However, I do not think the Bruins should be buyers at the deadline.
With 170 goals on the season so far, the Bruins rank 4th in the league in goals scored. It has been clear over the first 58 games of the season that the offense is not the problem with this team. There is only so much a team can accomplish when you throw out a 38-year-old Chara and 25-year-old Zach Trotman as your first defensive pairing. Especially if your second pairing is Dennis Seidenberg and Kevan Miller.
Although the Bruins are currently in a playoff spot, it seems that they cannot beat any teams that are also in the playoffs. They have lost their last 13 games to teams currently in the playoffs, which makes the upcoming schedule that much more dreadful. Of the remaining 24 games, 16 of them are against playoff teams, including the 2nd place Dallas Stars tonight. For this reason, the Bruins should try to sell off pieces at the deadline and either clear up cap space or trade for a need.
In 2009, Zdeno Chara won the James Norris Memorial Trophy for top defensive player in the league. 2 years later, Chara would lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup Championship over the Vancouver Canucks. However, since then, Chara has been slowly trending in the wrong direction, and Father Time seems to be taking over. Chara has always been a pivotal part of this Bruins team, but at the same time has always been part of trade rumors since the 2011 season ended.
So, have the Bruins waited too long to trade Chara? Big Z has very clearly struggled to keep up this season, and has definitely lost a step. A year or two ago, the veteran defenseman may have been a great piece for a contending team in need of a defenseman, but that might not be the case anymore. Chara is signed through the 2017-2018 season and becomes an unrestricted free agent after that, but it does not look like he will last that long. The Bruins need to be sellers at the deadline, and as painful as it is, it's time to move on from the captain.
As I said before, a trade involving Chara may have been a blockbuster deal between the Bruins and another team, but his skill has fallen off a good amount since then. If they were to trade him now, I can't imagine he would be anything more than an addition to an already good defense on a contending team. Teams tend to overpay at the deadline, and if it is appealing enough, hopefully there is a team that is still willing to overpay for the big defenseman.
By Matt Watts