The NHL Trade Deadline may still be five weeks out, but rumors are swirling all around around the league.

Most of the usual suspects, Erik Karlsson, Jakob Chychrun, Patrick Kane and John Klingberg, have been linked to several teams. But many in the media have tabbed Bo Horvat as the belle of the ball, and the Boston Bruins as a likely suitor.

The Canucks captain is in the final season of a six-year $33 million contract and recently rejected an extension. He has already tied his career high in goal scoring (31) in just 48 games and comes with playoff pedigree, having scored ten goals during the 2020 Bubble Playoffs. Horvat would be a fantastic addition to an already formidable lineup and locker room in Boston.

But the biggest question is how could Don Sweeney pull it off?

Vancouver’s current demands for Horvat are “three players including a top prospect”. The Bruins have a handful of veterans who could be moved for cap space, but do not have the strongest prospect pool. Craig Smith ($3.1m) and Mike Reilly ($1.875m) have both been in and out of the lineup, and could contribute elsewhere. Fabian Lysell headlines a farm system that isn’t as dry as recent years but still lacks depth. Another big challenge in striking a deal with the Canucks would be making the money work.

Per CapFriendly, the Bruins have a little over $2.3m in cap space with Jake DeBrusk on LTIR. Vancouver currently has just under $1.5m to work with. Convincing them to take two mid-level vets for their captain, while retaining salary, and NOT getting a top prospect like Lysell in return is unrealistic.

But say Sweeney manages to pull off another deadline heist, what would the lineup look like? 

Horvat would likely slide into the third-line Center spot, and bump Charlie Coyle to the wing opposite Pavel Zacha. Trent Frederic would move down to the fourth line in place of AJ Greer. DeBrusk, upon return, would reassume the top line right wing next to Bergeron and Marchand. Rounding out the forward corps would be Hall-Krejci-Pastrnak on the second line.

This would be a terrifying group to see in the playoffs.

It’s important to be reminded that this is still just a rumor. But we’ve seen Sweeney swing some big deadline deals like this before.

Photo: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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