Last week it was reported that the Boston Bruins are interested in trading for Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin.
The Bruins had been linked to former Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat for the better part of the season. Apparently, Vancouver coveted the return they got from the New York Islanders over any offer made by the Bruins.
The Islanders received Horvat in exchange for top prospect Aatu Raty, 20, Anthony Beauvillier, 25, and a top-12 protected 2023 first-round pick. They will also retain 25 percent of Horvat’s remaining cap hit this season. On Sunday afternoon, the Islanders signed Horvat to an eight-year extension that averages $8.5 million per season.
What would a hypothetical return for Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin look like from the Boston Bruins?
Boston will have an immediate need for a top center with captain Patrice Bergeron now 37 years old, and David Krejci, 36. Larkin should fetch a similar or even larger return if the Red Wings are willing to trade him, especially in their division. It’s difficult to see Yzerman move Larkin within the division knowing there is a good chance he’d be signing an eight-year extension immediately following the trade.
If Detroit elects to make a deal with Boston, the centerpiece returning to the Red Wings will undoubtedly be Bruins’ top prospect winger Fabian Lysell. The Swedish-born Lysell, 20, was selected 21st overall by Boston in the 2021 NHL Entry Level Draft. Last year with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Lysell recorded 22 goals and 62 points over 53 games and was a plus 10. Lysell really excelled in the postseason for the Giants, notching 21 points in 12 games.
Lysell has also faired well this season playing for the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL), having recorded nine goals and 24 points through 29 games.
Another player Yzerman may be intrigued about acquiring is right-handed defenseman, Brandon Carlo. Carlo, 26, is currently under contract through the 2026-27 season at a very affordable $4.1 million per season rate. Carlo has recorded two goals and nine points for the Bruins this season over 47 games while skating to a plus-20 rating. Carlo is maintaining a Corsi For Percentage of 50.2% in even-strength situations and is starting a whopping 67.4% of his five-on-five shifts in the defensive zone. The Detroit Red Wings don’t have many right-handed defenders in their pipeline, so adding Carlo to the right side behind Moritz Seider and Filip Hronek gives the organization flexibility and solidifies that side of the ice now and in the future.
When you look at the left side of Detroit’s backend, you’ve got Ben Chiarot, Olli Maatta, and Jake Walman, with Simon Edvinsson and William Wallinder expected to arrive in Detroit eventually. Suddenly Detroit’s backend, which had been a weakness over the past few seasons, may become a strength.
If Detroit does elect to move Larkin, Boston will need to add a first-round pick into the deal. Boston doesn’t possess a second-round selection in 2023 or 2024, and I wonder, with how well the Bruins are playing, if Yzerman would rather gamble on a Boston reset and prefer a future first-rounder, say in 2024 or 2025 over 2023.
One more prospect to keep an eye on is Russian-born Georgii Merkulov. Merkulov, 22, is currently ranked as Boston’s #4 prospect. Merkulov excelled at Ohio State last season, recording 20 goals and 34 points over 36 games with the Buckeyes before joining the Providence Bruins to finish out their season. With Providence, Merkulov totaled one goal and five assists over eight games. As a regular with Providence this season, Merkulov has tallied 11 goals and 30 points over 41 games.
Again, I believe there is a better chance that Detroit and Larkin will agree on a contract extension, but if they don’t, and Yzerman feels like they never will, here are some names to watch if trade talks with the Bruins escalate in the coming weeks.