Bruins reportedly ‘very interested’ in Blues forward Ivan Barbashev

Over the span of his seven-year NHL career, Barbashev has fit the mold of a straight-line, scrappy bottom-six skater.

St. Louis Blues center Ivan Barbashev (49) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Denver.
Ivan Barbashev broke through with 26 goals last season with the Blues. David Zalubowski / AP

Top trade deadline targets like Timo Meier, Patrick Kane, and Jakob Chychrun might steal most headlines during the feeding frenzy ahead of the NHL’s March 3 deadline. 

But if the Bruins want to address legitimate needs with their already stout lineup, shoring up the depth in their bottom-six forward corps might be the most logical move, rather than adding what would essentially be a luxury in Chychrun.

And sure enough, it seems like Don Sweeney and the Bruins are reportedly kicking the tires on one of the most coveted bottom-six forwards currently dangling out on the market.


According to Andy Strickland, the well-connected rinkside reporter for the Blues, the Bruins are among the teams that are “very interested” in acquiring St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev.

Over the span of his seven-year NHL career, Barbashev has generally fit the mold of a straight-line, scrappy third or fourth-line stalwart. But the 27-year-old forward put together a breakout season in 2021-22, scoring 26 goals and posting 60 points over 81 games. His previous career high for points in a single campaign was 26 (2018-19 and 2019-20).

But after emerging as a legitimate top-six threat last season, Barbahsev has regressed to more of his usual stat line in 2022-23. Through 52 games, Barbashev has scored nine goals and recorded 24 points, with his shooting percentage dropping from 23.4 percent last year to a more expected 11.4 percent in this campaign.

But even if Barbashev’s previous season was a complete fluke, the Moscow native’s steady offensive contributions, skating ability, and physicality could make him a useful cog in a Bruins’ bottom-six grouping that is still searching for some consistency in terms of set line combinations.

A third-line trio of Charlie Coyle, Taylor Hall, and Trent Frederic has fared well over extended stretches of action this season. Despite having just 48.9 percent of their faceoffs at 5v5 play set in the offensive zone, Boston is still outscoring teams, 11-5, in that line’s 152:43 of 5v5 reps.


But the addition of Barbashev could open the door for Frederic to get pushed down to the fourth line, where he could add more snarl and scoring punch to a fourth line featuring Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek.

And if Jim Montgomery opted to keep Hall-Coyle-Frederic in place, Barbashev would also represent a major upgrade on the checking unit. And with Barbashev — a pending unrestricted free agent — only accounting for a $2.25 million cap hit this season, Boston should be able to stomach that contract without having to severely augment its roster.

Of course, Boston’s interest in Barbashev likely hinges on the price that Blues GM Doug Armstrong is setting for the fleet-footed forward. A rental with a bottom-six floor like Barbashev usually wouldn’t require a significant package getting shipped out in return, but that offensive outlier campaign last season might inflate what Armstrong is asking for.

If Boston wants to opt for cheaper options in search of more depth further down the lineup, players like St. Louis’ Noel Acciari or Arizona’s Nick Bjugstad could be appealing targets.


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