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How an Erik Karlsson trade to Lightning would affect Bruins

Cameron Kerry
July 07, 2018 - 2:39 pm

The Bruins were one point from being the best team in the conference. They now look like the clear cut third-best team in their division.

This offseason, the Lightning and Maple Leafs look vastly superior to the black and gold. If Tampa Bay adds former Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson, the Bruins could be a top five team in the league that scratches and claws to compete in the Atlantic division.

The worst possible scenario occurred when John Tavares signed with the archrival. The Bruins were a long shot to sign the gifted Canadian center, but now he joins Auston Matthews to form one of the best center pairings in the league. He instantly skyrocketed the hopes of a team that the Bruins narrowly defeated in a seven game series just months ago. Tavares was the most coveted and talented free agent of the decade; a point per game player who can drive an offense, whether it's by scoring goals or finding open teammates. He joins a group of young and upcoming talent in Toronto, making the Leafs a favorite to progress from their finish a year ago.

The Lightning, along with the Stars, are rumored to be the favorite to acquire Karlsson. The Lightning already boast arguably the league's best blueline, featuring reigning Norris trophy winner Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonaugh, and Anton Stralman. The Bruins had trouble generating offense against the Lightning's stout defense, and the addition of Karlsson would ensure that their unit would be the most difficult opponent to contend with. Karlsson has carried the Senators in his time in the Canadian capital. He has produced a Corsi rating above 50 percent in each of his nine NHL seasons. Karlsson accels in all facets of the game and can dictate the pace of the game. 

While two divisions rivals who the Bruins battled in the playoffs have either added or could acquire two of the most dynamic players at their respective positions to their rosters, the Bruins haven't been able to capitalize on opportunities this summer. While the team has flipped and flopped back-end players, management needs to make a significant move in order to compete with the Leafs and the Lightning, espeically if Steve Yzerman pulls off a trade for the talented Swedish defenseman. The Bruins have a stockpile of prospects that would be appealing to teams. The hoard of defenseman and centers that the Bruins have coming through the ranks could entice a team enough for Don Sweeney to pull the trigger for a top six winger. 

If the Lightning land Karlsson, the Bruins need to put together a trade package to acquire an impact player, or they will no longer be able to tangle with the Lightning for the top spot in the Atlantic. The Bruins will be tested by the other foes in their division, despite the fact that the team is one of the best in the league.

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