Wednesday June 24th, 2015

The Tuesday afternoon announcement that Boston had signed prospect Zane McIntyre probably didn’t move the needle for anyone outside of Bruins diehards or North Dakota alums. But the agreement with the 22-year-old netminder could signal the team’s readiness to make a significant trade ahead of Friday’s NHL draft.

The Bruins are rumored to be in discussions with Arizona about the third pick in the annual talent grab. Coming off a disappointing season, and with new general manager Don Sweeney ready to put his stamp on the roster, it makes sense that they’d be looking to make some kind of splash by adding someone like Boston College star defenseman Noah Hanifin or explosive winger Mitch Marner. And having McIntyre under contract puts them in a better position to do just that.

Ten players who are most likely to be traded on NHL draft day

The 22-year-old goaltender is a high-intrigue prospect. He topped the NCAA with 29 wins this season and helped lead North Dakota to the 2015 Frozen Four. He was honored as one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in college hockey, and was selected as the winner of the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the NCAA’s top goaltender.

During a three-year career at UND, McIntyre compiled a 58-24-9 record, tied the school record for most career wins and set new marks in career goals-against average (2.08) and save percentage (.927). Not surprisingly, scouts like him a whole lot more now than they did when he slipped to the Bruins in the sixth round back in 2010. One recently told that he views McIntyre as having the potential to become “an above-average NHL starter, maybe even more.”

That’s a nice asset to have in the system. The thing is, the B’s already have someone just like him.

Malcolm Subban was acquired with the 24th pick back in 2012 and has developed nicely over the past two seasons with AHL Providence. The 21-year-old is also viewed as a future starting netminder. But with Tuukka Rask about to enter the third year of an eight-season deal, it seems unlikely that he’ll get his chance in Boston.

Now that the B’s have a redundancy in the pipeline, Subban becomes a very intriguing asset to offer as part of a trade to move up in the draft.

An oral history of the 2005 NHL Draft

There’s always the risk that the Bruins could move the “wrong” one, much the same way that Toronto infamously kept Justin Pogge and sent Rask to the Bruins in the Andrew Raycroft deal. But the sense is that Subban is the one they’d be willing to deal. He has the better pedigree (making him a more valuable chip) and with two years of pro experience is closer to being NHL-ready. Those qualities should be of great interest to the Coyotes, a team that lacks a legitimate No. 1 prospect in its system (both Louis Domingue and Mark Visentin are viewed as lower-end starters/backups).

Of course Subban alone won’t get a deal done. It’s thought the B’s would also have to include their own first rounder, a roster player and possibly a future pick.

They’d have no problem moving the 14th selection and with pressing cap issues would be willing to include a veteran with a heavy hit, possibly Milan Lucic or Loui Eriksson. The Coyotes have only 11 veterans under contract for next season and need to spend some money to get up to the cap floor, so either of those salaries would address that problem and add a top-six presence to an offense that ranked 29th this season. The key for a team in the early stages of a rebuild though would be the kids. Adding up to three young players who are at various stages of development would make a lot of sense for Arizona.

Of course the Bruins aren’t the only team that is said to be in the mix if GM Don Maloney decides to move the pick. But with McIntyre in the fold, the B’s now look to be the best positioned to give the Coyotes what they need. That’s something to keep an eye on heading into the draft.

Hot links

SI Vault: Pittsburgh lands a rare bird in Mario Lemieux

Grab a coffee and settle in for a lengthy look back at 1989, the year Mario Lemieux was robbed of a well-deserved Hart Trophy by media voters. Fascinating stuff.

Is prodigal son Alexander Burmistrov headed back to NHL after a couple of years spent cooling his heels in the KHL? And if he does return, will it be to Winnipeg or will the Jets trade away his rights?

Joe Pelletier takes a loving look back at the disastrous draft class of 1995.

Not everybody is in favor of the NHL expanding to Las Vegas, but the league’s top players sure seem to like the idea.

The Arizona Coyotes have at least one firm trade offer on the table and are giving thought to trading away the No. 3 pick in Friday's NHL draft.

Speaking of the draft, Scott Stinson makes the case that the NHL should abolish it altogether and allow players to sign with whichever team they want. I suspect the NHLPA would support the idea of a draft-less league.

GALLERY: Notable NHL Draft Busts

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.