Too great a cost? Why the Bruins' pursuit of Kovalchuk has stalled

“How many players are really worth $7 million, let alone what a guy like Kovalchuk is going to demand?” said a league GM. “If you’re going to be in that stratosphere, you not only have to be great player, you have to be a leader and you have to make other players around you better. You can’t have any maintenance.”

So what happens if the Bruins can’t land Kovalchuk? Here are a few other players who may be on the trading block and could possibly be a good fit for the Bruins. They may not be an impact player like Kovalchuk, but they also may not command as steep a price.

Paul Kariya – St. Louis

It would certainly be interesting to see how Kariya would mesh skating with Marc Savard. He would add team speed to the Bruins and provide a nice counter-attack off the rush.

Kariya was not thrilled to play under Mike Bab*****’s defensive system during the Ducks’ run to the Cup Finals in 2003, so there could be an issue as to whether he’d adjust to the Bruins’ defensive structure. But he also could be given some free reign to make use of his offensive skills in the manner afforded Phil Kessel.
Raffi Torres – Columbus

The 28-year-old winger brings decent size (6-0, 223) along with a competitive nature. Torres can also put the puck in the net. He has 16 goals, which may not sound earth shattering, but that actually would make him the goal-scoring leader on the Bruins.

Lubomir Visnovsky – Edmonton

The Bruins are in dire need of a puck-moving defenseman who can provide some pop on the power play. Visnovsky is one of the best skaters in the league, he can lug the puck and has 15 power play points, including four goals.
The 33-year old does come with an expensive annual salary cap hit of $5.6 million, probably a bit pricy for the Bruins, but generating offense often involves spending a few bucks.

Ray Whitney – Carolina

No shortage of offensive talent here. The 37-year-old leads the Hurricanes in scoring (16 goals, 23 assists) and has been a skilled contributor during each of his 18 NHL seasons.
It’s been reported that Whitney has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he would need to weigh the Bruins’ playoff possibilities against that of other suitors, which may not help the odds of him landing in Boston.

Alexei Ponikarovsky – Toronto

A nice combination of size (6-4, 220) and goal-scoring ability. Again, Ponikarovsky’s 16 goals this season does not rank among the league’s elite, but it’s more than anyone has generated on the Bruins.

Also perhaps more amazing, despite playing for the woeful Maple Leafs, Ponikarovsky has a plus-3 rating this season. He seemingly understands the need to play solid defense.