fb-pixel Skip to main content
Coyotes at Bruins | 7 p.m. (NESN)

On eve of trade deadline, Bruins get peek at a possible target

Arizona right wing Radim Vrbata could be dealt ahead of Wednesday’s trade deadline.AP

With just over 24 hours to go before the NHL trade deadline, the Bruins Tuesday morning took the ice at Warrior Arena in Brighton to prep for their 7:05 p.m. faceoff vs. the Coyotes at TD Garden.

General manager Don Sweeney thus far has remained out of the swap meet, maintaining his hold ’em posture in part because of his club’s success (6-1-0) since Bruce Cassidy took over the bench from Claude Julien.

On Monday night, the Capitals made the boldest deadline move of the season, swapping for veteran St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Washington sent former Boston College standout Zach Sanford, who departed the Heights last spring after his sophomore season, to the Blues as part of the deal.


Sweeney said late last week that his appetite remained low for a deal, unless it involved acquiring a player who might fit into the club’s long-term plans. But he did identify possible priorities for a trade, including a left-shot defenseman, a scoring winger, and possibly added insurance in goal, where Anton Khudobin (two straight wins) has show improvement of late.

Asked if he felt some of his players had a sense of anxiety around the deadline, Cassidy said, “I don’t know the answer to that question. I think that’s an individual thing.

“I am sure there are a few in there who are probably wondering. I hope they just focus on the game and the task at hand, but it’s part of the business.

“For me personally, it’s just about the team in front of us tonight, Arizona, and play our best hockey.”

The club’s positive traction of late, noted the coach, has not influenced how he might feel about a trade.

“That’s all up to [Sweeney],” said Cassidy. “My job is to coach the roster that’s in front of me — not trying to skirt your question, but that’s entirely my focus. If new bodies come in and a few leave, I’ll coach the roster that’s available tomorrow. That’s as simple as I can make it.”


Trade bait

The Coyotes, with yet another season gone for naught, likely will deal their top scorer, Radim Vrbata, prior to the deadline. For the right price, he would be an ideal fit for the Bruins, offering depth on the third line and the ability to move higher if top six wingers Brad Marchand, David Backes, Peter Cehlarik, or David Pastrnak needed relief.

Vrbata, 35, also has been one of the Coyotes’ key power-play contributors this season. Born and raised in the Czech Republic, he also would be surrounded by countrymen David Krejci and Pastrnak, along with Slovak neighbors Zdeno Chara and Cehlarik.

First strikes

In their seven games under Cassidy, the Bruins have scored the opening goal six times and trailed only once after the 40-minute mark.

They also have enjoyed a staggering advantage in lead time: 278:43 to 29:34.

.   .   .



Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes

Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes

Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash


Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller-Colin Miller


Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Coyotes at a glance

■  When, where: Tuesday, 7 p.m., at TD Garden.

■  TV, radio: NESN, WBZ-FM 98.5.

■  Goals: Radim Vrbata 15, Tobias Rieder 13, four tied with 10.

■  Assists: Vrbata 31, Oliver Ekman-Larsson 23, Alex Goligoski 23.

■  Goaltending: Louis Domingue (6-14-1 3.31 GAA), Mike Smith (16-17-6, 2.92 GAA).


■  Head to head: This is the second of two meetings. The Bruins won the first, 2-1, Nov. 12 in Arizona.

■  Miscellany: Vrbata recorded his 600th career point Sunday, netting the winning goal with 18.9 seconds left to complete a 3-2 comeback victory over Buffalo. . . The Coyotes shipped their top goal scorer, center Martin Hanzal (16), plus forward Ryan White and a 2019 fourth-round pick to the Wild Sunday for a 2017 first-round pick, 2018 second-round pick, 2019 fourth-round pick, and minor leaguer Grayson Downing . . . Smith (illness) is expected to miss his third straight game.

Follow Kevin Paul Dupont on Twitter at @GlobeKPD