NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2022
Check out the latest roundup of Bruins and Canadiens speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: On Sunday, Kevin Paul Dupont speculated this could be the summer Bruins general manager Don Sweeney takes some bold risks to address his depth at center, especially if it appears captain Patrice Bergeron intends to retire.
Colorado’s Nazem Kadri, Florida’s Claude Giroux and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin could be available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. The best fit would be Kadri as the 31-year-old is coming off a career-best 87 points this season. Dupont felt it almost unfathomable that the fiery ex-Maple Leaf would be considered a fix for the Bruins’ depth at center but he doesn’t dismiss the possibility.
Winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Brandon Carlo could be used as trade chips in pursuit of a prime center in his mid-twenties. Dupont also suggested the Bruins look into acquiring promising Kirby Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Dupont pointed out the Bruins had an interest in Alec Martinez last summer before the left-shot defenseman signed with the Vega Golden Knights. The 35-year-old Martinez carries a $5.25 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Bruins with $80.1 million invested in 22 players for 2022-23. They’ll have to shed salary to re-sign Bergeron or ink his replacement via free agency.
Packaging DeBrusk and Carlo would free up $8.1 million and could bring in a quality center in his playing prime. Nevertheless, I don’t see any team willing to part with that type of player for that package. This is why I wouldn’t be surprised if Bergeron returns for at least one more season to buy the Bruins time to find a suitable replacement.
As Dupont observed, the Blackhawks haven’t re-signed Dach yet. However, they’re not in any hurry to do so. He’s coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. I can see the rebuilding Hawks signing the 21-year-old center to an affordable bridge contract.
The Bruins addressed their need for a top-four left-shot defenseman by acquiring Hampus Lindholm. I don’t see them going after Martinez, especially if they need cap space to address their greater need at center.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of Dach, Jimmy Murphy referenced Dupont’s suggestion that the Bruins should look into acquiring the young Blackhawks center. He felt that’s something the Canadiens should also consider.
While they’re expected to select top prospect Shane Wright with this year’s first-overall pick and recently signed promising Riley Kidney to an entry-level deal, their NHL roster still isn’t that deep at center and they could use someone of Dach’s size and skill. Murphy suggested offering up the Calgary Flames’ first-round pick that they received in February’s Tyler Toffoli trade bundled with a roster player like Jeff Petry, Josh Anderson or Mike Hoffman and a top prospect.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said he’s in the market for a first-round pick as his predecessor traded away this year’s selection as part of last summer’s Seth Jones trade. If the Blackhawks were looking at playoff contention next season, perhaps Davidson would be enticed to acquire a veteran player like one of those mentioned by Murphy. However, the Hawks GM has frequently indicated he’s rebuilding the roster, so I don’t see him parting with Dach for that offer.
Murphy colleague Marco D’Amico points out why the Canadiens don’t need to worry about a rival club attempting to sign away Alexander Romanov this summer with an offer sheet. As per the collective bargaining agreement, he hasn’t accrued three professional seasons, making him ineligible to receive an offer sheet coming out of his entry-level contract.