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Bruins trade possibilities: Five players to watch

Chris Stewart (80) has three goals and an assist in 27 games this season.USA Today Sports

The Bruins will have reinforcements back starting Thursday against Chicago, when Zdeno Chara is expected to return to the lineup. Chara hasn’t played since Oct. 23, when he tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Center David Krejci was optimistic he might also return Thursday.

The Bruins need more help than just their returning players. Their problems are on offense, where they’re averaging 2.5 goals per game, 20th in the league.

Here are some trade candidates to play right wing, their greatest need:

1. Chris Stewart, Buffalo

Stewart, a former first-round pick, is a 6-foot-2, 231-pound right-shot wing who plays a heavy game when he’s engaged. The Bruins have inquired about Stewart since before the draft. The Sabres wanted to keep Stewart longer to expand interest. But Stewart, a healthy scratch for Buffalo’s 1-0 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday, is dropping in value.

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David Perron has five goals and 10 assists in 29 games this season.Getty Images

2. David Perron, Edmonton

The free-falling Oilers are looking for help in the middle, defense, and goal. By trading Perron, they could upgrade in their areas of need. Perron relies on his skill more than bulk to hold the puck and create plays. The ex-Blue scored a career-high 28 goals last year.

3. Michael Ryder, New Jersey

The ex-Bruin was a possibility to return to his old team in 2013-14 as an unrestricted free agent. But the Bruins signed Jarome Iginla instead. Ryder scored 18 goals for the Devils last year. He’s down to four and hasn’t scored since Nov. 6.

4. Chris Neil, Ottawa

The bruising forward doesn’t have the goal-scoring touch the Bruins prefer. But Neil creates chances with his physical play. He’s familiar with ex-Senators Zdeno Chara and Chris Kelly, who consider him a standup player and good teammate.

5. Erik Cole, Dallas

Cole is a left shot, but can play the right side. His best years are long gone, but he’s experienced and is strong on the puck in traffic areas. The Stars are dropping and need to make moves.

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Erik Cole has five goals and four assists in 27 games this season.AP
Bruins scoring stats
Bruins NHL rank
Total goals 70 21
Goals per game 2.5 20
Shots per game 29.9 19
5-on-5 goals 52 17
DATA:
Globe Staff

Follow Fluto Shinzawa on Twitter at @GlobeFluto.