This was not how the season was expected to go. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. The recent trades have set the organization way back. The young kids weren't supposed to be this good.

The Boston Bruins apparently haven't heard the number of reasons why this year wasn't supposed to be their year.

First-year head coach Bruce Cassidy has done wonders getting everything he can out of his lineup and creating a style of play that is best suited to the guys on the team. Veterans like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand have played at elite levels, while youngsters Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak have stepped into big-time roles admirably, despite their age.

The result is the team has won 14 of their last 18 and they sit 20 points clear of a playoff spot heading into February. A team that appeared to hit rock bottom less than a year ago when they fired coach Claude Julien is now being talked about as a serious Stanley Cup contender.

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and now it appears the Bruins are in line to be buyers as they make a push for a long playoff run. Here are a few names that are being thrown around [VIDEO]and whether or not the Bruins should go for it. A report by NBC Sports was used as a reference for this article.

Mike Hoffman

The most popular name being thrown around is Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman.

His speed and ability to put up points would gel well with this current Bruins roster. It is a surprise that he is even available for trade, as the Senators were expecting to build off of their run to the conference finals last season. They traded a first-round pick for Matt Duchene, but injuries and underperformance have led to a disappointing season.

The cap hit is a major thing to consider as well. Coming in at $5.1 million over the next three seasons means the Bruins would have to give up some highly-paid players in return to stay under the cap. David Backes and Ryan Spooner come to mind, but neither seems to be a great fit for Ottawa.

It would be nice to have Hoffman, but the amount you would have to give up might hurt the chemistry enough that it could wind up negatively impacting the team.

Tuukka Rask

Before the season, trading goalie Tuukka Rask was a popular opinion.

His elite level salary was no longer mimicking the performance on the ice and many thought that cap money could be better dispersed by going with a cheaper alternative. Re-signing goalie Anton Khubodin as the backup only gave more credence to this potential changing of the guard.

Instead of listening to the negativity, Tuukka has come out and re-established himself as one of the top goalies in the game. To keep it brief, if the Bruins want to make a playoff run this year, they will need Tuukka to lead the way.

Staying put

Arguably, the best move for the Bruins might be no move at all. They have no need to mortgage the future for this season as the future is very bright regardless of how well they do this year. In past years, giving up a 2nd- or 3rd-round pick for an aging rental has been the Bruins go to move. This year, they should be looking to only give up a draft pick if it is bringing back a true game changer.

Bruce Cassidy has this team playing with the confidence that they can beat anyone in the league. The rapid development of several of the recently drafted younger players has put Boston in an enviable position for next several years to come.