Five Bruins Training Camp Questions: Part 4 – Will there be more moves?
All this week, Bruins Daily will countdown the most important questions surrounding the Boston Bruins entering training camp. In Part 4, we’ll look at whether or not the B’s will make some additions to the roster.
To say that the Boston Bruins are going through a rather interesting phase is an understatement.
Over the last few days, we discussed the outlook of the Bruins roster from the backup goaltending battle to the prospects that could make the big club and the possible impact of the off-season acquisitions made by Don Sweeney.
Are the off-season transactions the last for awhile for the new Bruins General Manager? Or will Sweeney try to pull off a deal before the regular season?
Cody Franson was once a target for Sweeney and company to help add depth to the blue-line. But instead of donning the Black and Gold, Franson went to Buffalo on a two-year contract with an AAV of $3.3 million.
Jonas Gustavsson is coming to camp on a PTO. If he comes out of the pre-season solidifying the backup goalie position behind Tuukka Rask, then, officially, he’ll be the latest addition to the Black and Gold roster.
Aside from that, it’s hard to imagine that Sweeney will look at who is left on the free agent market. But will he look to find another GM to make a transaction before the regular season?
Assuming logic prevails, it’s hard to imagine that the Bruins roster will add a body or two before opening night. But with this being more of an “armchair GM” piece, let’s look at a few names that have been making waves on the rumor mill.
Acquiring Byfuglien to play alongside Zdeno Chara on the top defensive unit would really solidify the Bruins’ blue-line. And this move may not be as much of a pipe dream since the Jets and B’s were rumored to be discussing a trade last month.
Byfuglien is on the last year of his contract worth $5.2 million per year. Although the Bruins cap situation is a little better than it was at this point last year, they’d still have to move some assets (more on potential B’s on the trade block below) as they have a little over $4.7 million in cap space according to General Fanager.
Although the Jets do have $12 million in cap space and could afford to re-sign Byfuglien, they still have some decisions to make on pending UFA’s like Andrew Ladd and Grant Clitsome along with RFA Jacob Trouba, who is on the final year of his entry-level contract. Alex Burmistrov will also be due for a raise next season.
Winnipeg, however, is a budget team. So it will be interesting to see if GM Kevin Cheveldayoff decides to part ways with Byfuglien at some point. Just don’t expect the rumor mill to really heat up quite yet on this.
It wouldn’t be a hockey season in Boston without another mere mention of the Milton born defenseman being acquired by the hometown team.
Yandle has a very manageable cap hit entering the final year of his contract at over $2.6 million. The Rangers blue-line is one of the deepest in the league with Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal leading the way. Yandle will get top four minutes playing with one of the names of that trio.
On the surface, the Blueshirts are in pretty good shape with pending contracts for Yandle and Chris Kreider. Unless talks do come at a standstill for an extension, I can’t see the former Coyote leaving the Big Apple
According to GM Dean Lombardi (via LA Kings Insider) Kopitar and the Kings are “not even in the ballpark” in their discussions for a new contract. The Selke Trophy finalist is on the final year of his deal with a cap hit of $6.8 million.
The Bruins have some good depth at center with David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Spooner solidifying the top three lines. Both Krejci and Bergeron have long-term contracts through 2021 and 2022, respectively. Spooner, meanwhile is looking to prove to himself that he belongs as a regular at the NHL level.
Having Kopitar join Bergeron, Krejci and Spooner would strengthen the depth at center. But unless Sweeney really wants to part ways with Krejci or Spooner, “it’s more probable than not” that the Kings top line center won’t be donning the Black and Gold anytime soon.
The most well known name on the list is also entering the final year of his contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. If talks do stall, perhaps Stamkos will be on the trading block come deadline time. After all, the last thing Steve Yzerman would want is to let one of the most prolific scorers in the league leave without a return to show for it.
Still, Stamkos to the Bruins is a pipe dream. Even if Sweeney inquiries about his availability, you’re better off winning the $2 million grand prize on Draft Kings during the opening weekend of the NFL.
The Bruins’ cap situation isn’t as bad as it was a year ago, but they’ll likely need to part ways with someone in order to acquire an asset. Dennis Seidenberg and Loui Eriksson were both part of trade chatter in the past and might bring a decent return. Malcolm Subban is a prospect that Sweeney could use in a deal where a team is looking to solidify its depth in goal.
Whether Sweeney tries to wheel and deal — like he did in late June and early July — is anybody’s guess. Whether any of the names mentioned even appear in trade talks is unknown. But one thing is certain, “armchair GM’s” can always have a fun time discussing this, especially with a week left until the Bruins hit the ice for training camp.
Check back tomorrow for Part 5 where we ask: how short is Claude Julien’s leash?