B’s facing a bear market for potential deals

The Bruins are mired in a 1-7-1 slump. They’ve fallen out of a playoff position in the East. And they’re coming off their most horrid performance of the season, losing 5-1 Sunday in Carolina against the team with the worst record in the NHL.

It was times like this that not long ago Harry Sinden would be ringing up his fishing buddies and underperforming Bruins would be packing their bags. Peter Chiarelli doesn’t act quite so rash, but surely even his patience must be getting tested by the club’s current slump.

The problem is that there aren’t many options even if Chiarelli did want to make a deal. Beyond the difficulty of getting fair value while negotiating from a position of weakness, Chiarelli doesn’t have many potential trading partners. In the East, only two teams – Carolina and Toronto – aren’t within three points of a playoff position. Out West, only Columbus and Edmonton aren’t within four points of the final postseason spot.

That’s a tough market – 26 potential buyers, just four likely sellers. And of those four, Toronto might be tough to deal with considering the way the Phil Kessel saga played out this summer.

Edmonton had been a frequent trade partner for the Bruins, especially in Sinden’s day. And according to a report from Canada’s Slam Sports, the Oilers are willing to part with a half dozen different players. The picking a somewhat slim though, with forwards Shawn Horcoff, Robert Nilsson and Ethan Moreau and defensemen Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios and Lubomir Vishnovsky reportedly available.

Horcoff has 9-20-29 totals and is a minus-23 in 45 games this year. His career high is 22 goals back in 2005-06 and he’s got a cap hit of $5.5 million a year through 2014-15. Nilsson’s cap hit is just $2.0 million for this year and next, but he’s never scored more than 10 goals in a year and is a minus-18 this season. Moreau, Edmonton’s captain, could add some grit, but he’s also on the books for $2.0 million this year and next and is 34 years old.