NESN’s Andy Brickley spoke with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday about what the Bruins could do in the last few hours before the 3 p.m. trade deadline and where he sees Jaromir Jagr fitting into the lineup.
Brickley said he thinks the Bruins would do best to add a defenseman before the deadline, and that the three names he’s seen thrown around most are Keith Yandle, Dan Boyle and Mark Streit.
“I’ve been a big Yandle fan for a long time because he’s a local kid, and you’ve always got to pull for them,” Brickley said. “Boyle’s a proven winner, won a Stanley Cup . He’s a right-handed shot who would fit nice on a power play right now with Dougie Hamilton, who’s really your only right-handed shot you can put on the back end if you’re playing with your four forwards. Boyle can run a pretty good power play. But I think Streit’s the guy that’s probably the most attainable when you talk about what you’re going to give up to get what you want. I think those are the three names that are probably pretty attractive to Boston right now.”
Brickley noted that the Bruins haven’t been afraid to deal high draft picks and top prospects in the past to get the players they want, especially during their 2011 Stanley Cup  run.
“Maybe you have to deal a current asset that’s not a future first-round pick if the expectation is that conditional second turns into a first in that deal for Jagr,” Brickley said. “I do like the fact that the Bruins are willing to make those kinds of trades. When you take a look at ‘¦ how they constructed that 2011 Cup team, they dealt first-rounders, whether they were future first-rounders or current first-rounders that were at some point in their development. In the [Mark] Recchi deal they dealt that kid [Matt] Lashoff. He was a first-rounder. The [Rich] Peverley deal, two first-rounders, [Mark] Stuart and [Blake] Wheeler. The [Nathan] Horton-[Gregory] Campbell deal, that was [Dennis] Wideman and a first-rounder, and even [Tomas] Kaberle, that was two first-rounders, [Joe] Colborne and a future first-rounder. So they’ve shown that they will do what they need to do when they target those certain players.”
Jagr seems likely to start out playing on David Krejci ‘s wing, although Brickley noted that sometimes linemates don’t click even if the pairing seem logical.
“I think it’s only natural that they try to hook him up with David Krejci , but sometimes that doesn’t work out,” Brickley said. “I would never make the analogy that [Michael] Ryder is a Jaromir Jagr, but when Ryder was acquired by Boston, the expectation was that he was playing with a top-two centerman, whether it was [Patrice] Bergeron or Krejci or a healthy Marc Savard , for that matter. He probably did his most damage in the playoffs playing on the third line with [Chris] Kelly and Peverley. So you never know what kind of chemistry you’re going to get when you hook certain players up.”
On whether the Bruins need to add a forward or defenseman at the deadline: “I don’t know if it’s a necessity because I think this is still a pretty strong team if everyone’s healthy on their back end. I’d like to see them, and I think everyone would like to see the Bruins do that. The players in the room would certainly like to see another defenseman of NHL  quality, somewhere in a top-five as far as their rating.
“So I think the expectation is that the Bruins will try to add a defenseman and not really try to lose too big an asset off their current roster to get the deal done. They put themselves in a position to have the flexibility to make these kind of positive decisions. The [Tim] Thomas trade, the Savard long-term injury decision, the signing of the core group to bring everybody back — I think it’s their due diligence and their responsibility to add another defenseman to give them their best opportunity.”
On the Jagr acquisition: “They were looking for a top-nine forward. Obviously if they can get a guy that has top-six talent with a top-12 attitude, meaning team-first, whatever it takes to win ‘¦ You hope that they got that in Jagr. I know he fits the top-two criteria and as long as he brings that top-12 attitude and understands what his role is here, and why they went out and got him, I think he’ll be a good fit. He has enough versatility that you can play him with multiple players and actually in multiple positions.”
On Tyler Seguin  moving to center: “I’d like to leave him where he is. I think someday he will be a centerman and i think he’ll be an excellent centerman. I just wouldn’t want to start making that transition now. If Bergeron was long-term, maybe you’re forced to go in that direction, because your alternatives aren’t satisfactory, you still can put Peverley in the middle, you can still bring up [Ryan] Spooner. The playoffs are winding down in Europe and maybe you get [Carl] Soderberg over here. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m hopeful, as is Bruins Nation, that what we saw with Bergeron last night was a short-term situation. I thought he was pretty steady-legged making his way over [to the bench]. ‘¦ I’m going to take that as a good sign.”
On whether the Bruins have a goalie controversy: “No, I think it’s right where the Bruins want it, and that is that [Anton] Khudobin has created more competition and more sense of urgency for Tuukka [Rask] to continue to not play only to the level that he’s played most of the year, but to get better the closer they get to the playoffs. Because of the condensed schedule, there’s a lot of unique qualities to this year and I think it’s a real benefit to this team that Khudobin is playing the way he’s playing.
“When he’s gotten his opportunities to compete ‘¦ he looked a little Timmy Thomas-esque at times the way he played. A little aggressive, a little out of control. In contrast, you have Tuukka, who lets the game come to him. But I wouldn’t call it a controversy.”
On which goalie plays Thursday: “My expectation is Tuukka will go back in between the pipes. I don’t think the team wants him sitting too long. I think they go back to him and I think the team’s comfortable in Tuukka being the No. 1 guy. The game’s going to have tremendous meaning to New Jersey. They’re in trouble right now with the loss of their top dog, [Ilya] Kovalchuk. They need points. They’re in danger of slipping out of the playoffs. So it should be a highly competitive game and the expectation is you go with your No. 1 goaltender. He sat for a couple of games and you’ve got to get him right back in there.”