To save you from going into a clicking frenzy, here are some interesting free agent rumors on Tuesday night.
(If these don’t satiate your appetite for scuttlebutt, there are also murmurs about Milan Lucic to the Edmonton Oilers …)
- The Boston Bruins are one of the many teams who are desperate to improve on defense. How desperate? Apparently they might go all-in by sending an offer sheet to coveted Winnipeg Jets RFA blueliner Jacob Trouba.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty and ESPN’s Jimmy Murphy acknowledged the “chatter.”
If the Bruins even go as far as to send Trouba an offer sheet – a big if – teams almost always match such offers. The Columbus Blue Jackets claim they’d do so with Seth Jones, for example:
Maybe the B’s would send an offer that’s just too rich for Winnipeg’s taste, though?
Update: Haggerty goes into greater detail for CSNNE.com.
Now it appears the Bruins may be willing to put their money, and their assets, where their interest is, and come up with an offer sheet that totals a minimum of $47 million for Trouba’s services.
Part of that high total is crafting an offer that the Winnipeg Jets aren’t going to match, and part of that is the Bruins’ own doing while casually tossing away their own draft picks. Because they sent their 2017 third round pick to the Flyers for Zac Rinaldo and their 2017 second round pick to New Jersey for Lee Stempniak, the Bruins must put together an offer sheet with an average annual value (AAV) of at least $9.3 million that will require Boston to give up four consecutive first round picks as compensation.
- There could very well be mutual interest between David Perron and the Montreal Canadiens:
Makes perfect sense considering his strong work once he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks and his Quebec roots.
- Matt Martin is drawing rave reviews as an Islanders departure seems increasingly likely.
The Boston Bruins have been looking to add to their roster, but GM Don Sweeney decided to pass on a couple of trade offers that were just too rich for his blood. The Bruins may have to resort to making a splash in free agency.
If they can’t add a big name or two when the markets open on July 1st, they’ll need some of the young players on the roster to step up. With Loui Eriksson unlikely to re-sign before next Friday, forwards like David Pastrnak and Jimmy Hayes will need to contribute more in 2016-17.
“We have internal candidates that might have to step up, and David is a player like that…Jimmy is a player like that. There’s no question we’re not a complete team right now,” said Sweeney, per CSN New England. “So we’ll go to work now, and that could be through free agency, or through potential trade stuff. It could also be about the excitement if somebody pops from the development side of things.”
Hayes finished the season with 13 goals and 29 points in 75 games, but he went point-less in the final 16 games of the year. He also had a stretch of one point in 15 games in late-November to early-December.
“I think Jimmy had a pretty start to the year, but he really tailed off when the team needed him most,” added Sweeney. “He should take some responsibility for that. We had a pretty frank discussion about that to challenge him to take his game to another level, and be able to help out a younger player.”
Pastrnak put up a career-high 15 goals despite missing 31 games in 2015-16. A foot injury forced him to miss 25 games between Nov. 3 and Dec. 27. A healthy Pastrnak would go a long way in helping Boston make it back to the postseason next year.
If there was one thing the Boston Bruins were going to do this offseason, it was upgrade their blue line.
“We know that it’s an area that we need to improve upon,” team president Cam Neely said in April. “That’s probably at the top of the list.”
But the Bruins’ blue line hasn’t changed one bit since then. Their search for a “transitional” defenseman lost another candidate this morning when the Panthers traded Dmitry Kulikov to Buffalo. Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski have already been snapped up.
The Blues still haven’t traded Kevin Shattenkirk, but the price for d-men of his caliber is extremely high, according to Boston GM Don Sweeney.
“In all honesty it would have taken both first rounders and then some…the acquisition cost was high. We want to continue to improve our hockey club with whatever we have to do, but it’s not unlike last year when it would have taken all three first rounders [to get a deal done]. There’s a balancing act there,” Sweeney said Friday, per CSN New England. “There was not a lot that moved around today. People have been laying foundation [for trades] for quite some time, but there are players that we’re just not comfortable putting into deals. I’m going to defend that. I’ll be honest with you that I just am.”
It may be that Sweeney’s hoping the Blues lower their price on Shattenkirk, who’s only got a year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Or maybe he targets Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba or Anaheim’s Cam Fowler. But they won’t be any cheaper.
If the prices are too high in the trade market, options in free agency include Brian Campbell (but he’s 37), Dan Hamhuis (he’s not particularly young either), and Jason Demers (arguably the best right-shot UFA d-man, but in no danger of winning the Norris).
“We’ve taken a position where we’re going to build this the right way,” said Sweeney. “We want to be competitive and improve our team, and we’ll be active in the free agent market to fill holes while allowing our young players to push through. But I wasn’t trading David Pastrnak. We’ve been criticized, and rightfully so at times, for being impatient with our younger, skilled players. This represents a good opportunity that we don’t want to do that.”
Related: Jack Edwards says the Bruins’ blue line ‘is in a crisis right now’
The Boston Bruins are in the market for an established puck-moving defenseman. Don Sweeney tried to land one during the first round of Friday night’s draft, but the prices were steep.
Several reports had the Bruins linked to Blues blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk, who still hasn’t been traded. There’s a chance the Bruins could still land Shattenkirk (or someone else), but they aren’t willing to sacrifice a youngster like David Pastrnak in the process.
“In all honesty it would have taken both first rounders and then some…the acquisition cost was high,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney, per CSN New England. We want to continue to improve our hockey club with whatever we have to do, but it’s not unlike last year when it would have taken all three first rounders [to get a deal done]. There’s a balancing act there.
“We’ve taken a position where we’re going to build this the right way. We want to be competitive and improve our team, and we’ll be active in the free agent market to fill holes while allowing our young players to push through. But I wasn’t trading David Pastrnak. We’ve been criticized, and rightfully so at times, for being impatient with our younger, skilled players. This represents a good opportunity that we don’t want to do that.”
After dealing Dougie Hamilton to Calgary last year, it’s no surprise that Sweeney is a lot more cautious about shipping young assets out of town.
Not only did the Bruins keep Pastrnak, they also kept their two first round picks in 2016. They selected Boston University defenseman Charlie McAvoy 14th overall and center Trent Frederic 29th overall.
The Boston Bruins and Loui Eriksson aren’t close to a new deal, so the forward is expected to hit the free agent market, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.
Lavoie reports that the Bruins and Eriksson can’t see eye-to-eye on the length of the contract.
A few days ago, Eriksson’s agent admitted that he was still waiting on a new offer from the Bruins. It looks like the two sides are far apart, whether an updated proposal came or not.
The 30-year-old forward would likely draw considerable interest as an unrestricted free agent, with teams like the Vancouver Canucks reportedly interested.
Concussion issues were a key component in Eriksson’s early struggles with Boston, limiting him to 61 games played in 2013-14. He really came into his own with the Bruins in 2015-16, generating 30 goals and 63 points.
That production and Boston’s hopeful drive toward a playoff spot forced Bruins management to be picky about a potential trade, and nothing worked out.
Whether fans feel like it was a mistake in keeping him through the trade deadline or not, it sounds like Eriksson’s time with the Bruins will soon come to an end.
The B’s, for their part, seem more concerned about bolstering their defense.
GM Don Sweeney will speak with the media shortly, so PHT will note if anything changes (or if he confirms that Eriksson will become a UFA).
Update: The Bruins will give it another try, for what it’s worth:
In other free agent news: