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Ranking Bruins’ best assets to use at 2022 NHL trade deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The 2022 NHL trade deadline is set for March 21 and the Boston Bruins are among the teams to watch.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has been pretty active at the trade deadline throughout his tenure in Boston. In fact, last season was good example. He acquired top-six winger Taylor Hall, bottom-six center Curtis Lazar and veteran defenseman Mike Reilly in two trades that involved multiple draft picks and forward Anders Bjork.

His team has turned it around in January with a 10-3-0 record to begin the New Year. The Bruins’ needs at the deadline include a No. 2 center and another right-shot defenseman.

2022 NHL trade deadline: Top 20 players for teams to target in deals

Let’s rank the Bruins’ best assets to use before the March 21 trade deadline (excluding obvious cornerstones such as David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, etc.).

1) Fabian Lysell, RW

Lysell is the only Bruins prospect with legit top-six forward potential. He’s playing great for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL with 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists) in 24 games. Lysell should be untouchable in trade talks unless a young NHL star with term on his contract is available.

2) Jeremy Swayman, G

Swayman has shown flashes of being a No. 1 goalie at the NHL level. 

We don’t know what will happen with Tuukka Rask after this year. Even if Linus Ullmark ends up playing with the Bruins for most or all of his current five-year contract, Boston still needs another competent goalie to back him up or be a 1B option. 

After trading Dan Vladar to the Calgary Flames over the summer, the Bruins really can’t afford to deplete their goaltending depth even further by moving Swayman unless the deal brings back a premium star. 

The Bruins don’t have much depth or talent at goalie throughout their prospect pool, which makes Swayman a pretty valuable and important part of the organization.

USA TODAY Sports

3) Mason Lohrei, D

Lohrei has made tremendous strides over the last two years, vaulting him up the list of the Bruins’ top prospects. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Lohrei is a big-bodied defenseman with exciting two-way talent. He’s easily the top blue line prospect in the system and the only one with a good shot at being a top-four defenseman at the NHL level. 

Lohrei, like Lysell and Swayman, would be really tough to move. None of these three players should be dealt for any kind of short-term fix.

4) 2022 or 2023 First-round pick

The Bruins’ prospect pool is pretty weak, and one of the reasons for that is they’ve dealt a bunch of draft picks over the last five years, including their 2018 and 2020 first-rounders. If the B’s want to be a real contender, they’ll need to add another middle-six center and a quality defenseman. It’s hard to envision addressing both needs without surrendering a first-rounder. That said, Sweeney did add Taylor Hall and Mike Reilly before last season’s trade deadline without parting with a first-round pick, so maybe it’s possible to do it again.

USA TODAY Sports

5) John Beecher, C

Beecher is the top center prospect in the Bruins’ system and a 2019 first-round pick. He’s in his junior season at the University of Michigan. Beecher has underwhelmed offensively with seven points (three goals, four assists) in 19 games this season. He’s 14th on the Wolverines in scoring. In Beecher’s defense, Michigan has a loaded roster with several first-round draft picks, but he hasn’t taken the leap you’d expect at this stage of his college career.

Vaakanainen was Boston’s 2017 first-rounder and after failing to earn a regular role at the NHL level over the last few years, he’s received more consistent ice time this season and making the most of it. But what are the odds he beats out Matt Grzelcyk, Mike Reilly or Derek Forbort for a permanent job on the left side of the blue line? Not great, in all likelihood. If the Bruins are looking for a short-term upgrade with a rental defenseman, Vaakanainen is one prospect to dangle to make that move.

7) 2022 Second-round pick

The Bruins haven’t been afraid to give up second-round picks in recent years. They parted with one at the 2021, 2019 and 2016 trade deadlines. 

8) Jake DeBrusk, LW

DeBrusk is still with the Bruins despite his trade request becoming public in late November. The 25-year-old forward, who was one of Boston’s three consecutive first-round picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, hasn’t done much over the last few months to increase his trade value. DeBrusk has scored only one goal in his last 12 games.

9) Jack Studnicka, C

Studnicka has ranked among Boston’s top prospects for the last couple years, but he’s been unable to earn a consistent role at the NHL level. Studnicka has tallied just four points (one goal, three assists) in 25 NHL games since the start of the 2020-21 campaign. 

10) Oskar Steen

Steen played quite well in the AHL to begin the season with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 16 games. He has provided some much-needed bottom-six scoring with two goals with two assists in 11 games since being called up in early January.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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