What Next for the Bruins and Sharks?
Latest on the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks in your NHL rumor mill.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski recommends the Boston Bruins look at adding a veteran power forward for David Krejci’s line and a veteran center during the offseason. He praised their mix of veteran talent and promising youth and believes they’re close to Stanley Cup contender status.
While acknowledging bringing in Rick Nash didn’t work, Wyshynski feels adding a power forward for the Krejci line “should be paramount for the Bruins.” Adding a veteran option at center could also enable them to compete with clubs such as the Tampa Bay Lightning.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: James O’Brien also recommends the Bruins target a suitable replacement for Nash. Several intriguing options could be available via free agency, including San Jose’s Evander Kane, Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk, Vegas’ James Neal and David Perron and Winnipeg’s Paul Stastny. Cheaper, short-term options include New Jersey’s Patrick Maroon and Michael Grabner and Columbus’ Thomas Vanek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Bruins have over $65 million invested in 17 players with all of their core players under contract for next season.
While a winger such as Kane, van Riemsdyk, Neal or Perron could be a good addition to the Bruins, those players will seek expensive long-term contracts. Having had to dig his way out of a salary-cap conundrum left by his predecessor, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney could be reluctant to go down that path. Sweeney signed David Backes to a lucrative long-term contract but the veteran winger’s declining production could make the Bruins GM gun-shy this time around.
With the good young players on the roster and in their system, Sweeney might prefer affordable short-term options. He could also go the trade route to address his needs.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the San Jose Sharks should go after New York Islanders center John Tavares via free agency, re-sign Evander Kane if the price is right and keep infusing the roster with young players. He notes Tavares was linked to the Sharks earlier this season in the rumor mill and points out they have the salary-cap space to bid competitively for his services if the center hits the open market in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $60 million invested in 20 players, the Sharks have the cap space to sign both players. Perhaps a first line with Tavares and Kane could provide the Sharks with that extra offensive punch needed to take another run at the Stanley Cup.
Wyshynski admitted signing Tavares could complicate efforts to re-sign Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, who are both eligible in 2019 to become unrestricted free agents. It could also cost over $6 million annually to re-sign Kane, but he meshed well with the Sharks following his trade from Buffalo and could be worth retaining on a long-term deal.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson must also decide if he’s bringing back aging Joe Thornton for one more season. While still a great playmaker, Thornton’s suffered knee injuries in consecutive seasons. Twenty years of NHL hockey could be finally catching up with the 38-year-old center. Still, if the Sharks fail to bring in an upgrade like Tavares at center, perhaps they’ll give Thornton another one-year, bonus-laden contract.
The Sharks also reportedly contacted the Ottawa Senators prior to the trade deadline to explore the cost of acquiring superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson. Whatever the reason behind Wilson’s rumored interest in the Senators captain, it reminds us that he’s willing to make bold moves to improve his club. The Sharks GM could be a busy man this summer.