NHL Rumor Mill – March 20, 2023
CAN THE BRUINS AFFORD ORLOV, HATHAWAY OR BERTUZZI?
THE ATHLETIC: That’s the question Fluto Shinzawa recently set out to answer. While the Boston Bruins have re-signed trade-deadline acquisitions such as Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm, their limited cap space for 2023-24 will make it difficult to retain Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway or Tyler Bertuzzi.
Shinzawa noted that the Bruins have under $75 million for 2023-24 invested in 15 players as of March 17. They’re also facing up to $4.5 million in bonus overages due to performance bonuses for Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
Re-signing Orlov or Bertuzzi would mean trading away Matt Grzelcyk or Derek Forbort or perhaps both to free up sufficient cap room. They’d also have to find a way to resolve their dilemma with Mike Reilly ($3 million), who’s currently in the minors for cap purposes. Unless Hathaway is willing to accept “small term and dough”, he’ll find better offers in the free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins can’t afford to keep all three without first shedding some contracts. These three are UFA-eligible for the first time. This is their best opportunity to land lucrative long-term contracts.
I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of retaining Orlov if they can make the dollars fit. However, he’ll likely get better offers elsewhere.
DID THE LEAFS MAKE A MISTAKE TRADING SANDIN?
McGran disagreed, believing Sandin would’ve been a healthy scratch for the remainder of this season with the Leafs. He believes it was a worthwhile move to add a veteran defenseman like Erik Gustafsson as well as add a first-round draft pick. McGran’s happy for the young defenseman, who’ll get the chance in Washington that he wasn’t getting in Toronto. He also observed the Leafs are already flush with smallish but skilled defensemen such as Mac Hollowell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granted, this isn’t a trade rumor but since media trade chatter has largely dried up following the deadline, I felt this was worth noting.
Sandin, 23, has played well offensively for the Capitals with 11 points in his first eight games. There remains some concern about his defensive play but that could be in part attributed to the Capitals’ depleted, banged-up lineup. I’d like to see how he does during a full season with a healthier Caps roster.
Leafs management felt this move was necessary to add a more experienced puck-moving defenseman in Erik Gustafsson plus they got the first-round pick that originally belonged to the Bruins. Granted, it could end up being 32nd overall but it replaced the first-rounder they traded away in the Ryan O’Reilly deal.
This deal could backfire on the Leafs if they suffer yet another early playoff exit and Sandin goes on to become a star in Washington. On the other hand, most denizens of Leafs Nation will feel it was a price worth paying if this move could help them win their first Stanley Cup since 1967.