Bruins should keep an eye on open-for-business Thrashers

You have to love a general manager who isn’t shy about expressing his displeasure with his team or revealing his plan of attack to correct the club’s faults.

Atlanta GM Rick Dudley is one of those guys.

“Those could happen now. They could happen later,” Dudley said of potential trades in a story by Atlanta Journal-Constitution beat writer Chris Vivlamore. “Obviously we feel a sense of urgency because we think we are a better team than we displayed last night. We think we are capable of making the playoffs but it may take a move here or there.”

Dudley, whose team enters play tonight having lost four of its last five and eight of its last 10, told Vivlamore that his team is looking to add two forwards and a defenseman. Could the Thrashers be a potential trading partner for the Bruins between now and the Feb. 28 trade deadline?

Well, consider that Atlanta head coach Craig Ramsay spent three seasons behind Boston’s bench before leaving last summer. And Dudley spent many nights on the ninth floor of TD Garden scouting in his role with Chicago in recent years. Both are very familiar with Boston’s personnel, especially players like Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler who Ramsay worked with closely.

To speculate which players Atlanta might be willing to part with, winger Nicklas Bergfors and defenseman Johnny Oduya could be on the block. Bergfors, in particular, was a healthy scratch earlier in the season for Ramsay. Just 23, Bergfors, according to McKeen’s, possesses a wicked shot and solid agility. This season, he has 10-17-27 totals in 42 games. He carries a $90o,000 cap hit but is a restricted free agent this summer.

Oduya, 28, is a “decent puck-mover” (McKeen’s). But from what I’ve seen, he can be prone to turnovers and his aggression level can drop-off at times. In 53 games this season, he has 2-12-14 totals and is minus-12 for a team that openly admits it thinks offense before defense. His cap hit is a bit steep at $3.5 million for this season and next.

Both are players the Bruins should have an interest in because of their ability to help the team on the ice and fit into the team’s cap situation (in Oduya’s case, fitting in after a trade for a roster player). There could be a one-for-one or even multi-player deal these teams could hammer out to help both squads. Or the Bruins could dip into their stable of draft picks or dangle a prospect to pry one of the above-mentioned players away and open up budget space for Atlanta to import bodies from elsewhere.

Either way, the Bruins should be keeping tabs on the Thrashers and their pursuit of fresh blood.

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