Sunday, April 14 2024

NHL rumors: Bruins could pursue Sean Walker trade in this scenario originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Philadelphia Flyers have a couple important decisions to make ahead of the March 8 NHL trade deadline. And what they ultimately decide could impact several contenders hoping to upgrade their blue line.

The Flyers have two quality defensemen in Nick Seeler and Sean Walker who will be unrestricted free agents this summer unless they are re-signed before then.

The Flyers entered the season as a rebuilding franchise, but as of Monday, they have a five-point cushion over the New Jersey Devils for the third and final playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. They are ahead of schedule so far.

Should Philly be trade deadline buyers or stand pat, hoping that Seeler and/or Walker re-sign? Or should they treat the trade deadline with a more long-term outlook and trade Walker and/or Seeler to stockpile future assets? A strong case could be made for either approach.

If the Flyers decide to move one of these two defensemen, there should be no shortage of potential suitors. Both are veterans who play a physical brand of hockey, kill penalties, and can play 16-20 minutes per game.

Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period provided an update over the weekend on the Seeler/Walker situation in Philly. He says that if Walker doesn’t get an extension before the deadline and his price tag drops, the Boston Bruins are expected to have interest.

The Bruins’ No. 1 need at the trade deadline is another defenseman. Hampus Lindholm and Matt Grzelcyk are banged up, and Derek Forbort is struggling in the defensive zone (especially on the penalty kill). The ideal trade deadline addition for the B’s would be a defenseman who clears traffic from the front of the net, wins puck battles in the tough areas of the ice and kills penalties.

Walker fits that description, and he also is capable of giving a little more offensively than Seeler. Walker has tallied 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 59 games, putting him on pace to surpass his career high of 24 points set in 2019-20 as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

There are two main issues with Walker in regard to the B’s.

The first is the price to acquire him could be pretty high, and rightly so considering he’s a top-four defenseman in the midst of the best season of his career. The Bruins lack draft capital, lack quality prospects and lack salary cap space. They don’t have the trade assets to outbid many teams.

The other potential issue with Walker is he plays on the right side of the blue line, and the Bruins’ primary need is on the left side. Lindholm, Grzelcyk and Forbort are all on the left side. Mason Lohrei is a left-shot defenseman, too, but he doesn’t kill penalties. The Bruins maybe could slide Walker into Shattenkirk‘s spot on the right side of the third pairing. They already have Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo on the right.

Put simply, there are fewer question marks on the right side of Boston’s blue line than the left. For example, how confident should the Bruins be in Grzelcyk and Forbort’s ability to stay healthy for a full playoff run? When will Lindholm come back?

Walker would be a good trade target for the Bruins, but there are factors out of their control. The Flyers might end up just keeping him.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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