There’s yet to be an offer sheet in this particularly unique NHL offseason and perhaps there won’t be one, but that didn’t stop The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn from making an argument that the Boston Bruins should consider one and specifically target Tampa Bay Lightning blueliner Mikhail Sergachev.
There’s been plenty of Bruins coverage over the past few days, most of it concerning the notion that the B’s need to do more to bolster their blue line. They missed out on Oliver Ekman-Larsson early in the offseason and have yet to adequately replace the loss of Torey Krug who left in free agency to join the St. Louis Blues. The team just signed Jake DeBrusk to a new two-year bridge contract and there’s talk of what moves the Bruins will make next. Most insiders expect there to be one.
Some of the talk is about the team adding a left-winger. Other talk surrounds Zdeno Chara returning or the team finding another defenseman. A couple of days ago, Luszczysyzn, suggests GM Don Sweeney should offer sheet Sergachev and that the Lighting would be in tough to match.
“…the Bruins have some cap flexibility with $6.6 million worth of space (and potentially a bit more depending on how healthy Kevan Miller is). That’s enough to add a very capable piece to the top four, but the market isn’t exactly flush with options. There’s no one left in free agency that can be that guy and there doesn’t appear to be anyone available via trade either.
Admitting that Sergachev needs to actually be interested in signing an offer sheet for this to make any sense, the scribe notes that Sergachev would likely get a bigger role on a contending team. For a defenseman who is playing underneath Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh, that may be attractive.
How the Bruins Could Construct the Deal
He suggests one of two offers:
$4.36M – $6.54M: First- and third-round pick
$6.54M – $8.73M: First-, second- and third-round pick
For Boston, the deal makes sense to use a tool like an offer sheet on a 22-year-old “future No. 1 defenceman”. He argues that Sergachev might actually be a step up from Krug, noting, “There aren’t many defenders in the league with his profile.” The question mark is whether or not Sergachev can offer the Bruins what Krug did on the power play.
The question of draft picks going the other way isn’t a huge concern considering where the Bruins are expected to finish in the NHL standings and the money the Bruins could offer would make things difficult for Tampa. He writes:
The Bruins could sign him to a $6.54 million deal, save a second-round pick, have just over $150,000 worth of cap space left and put the Lightning $3.6 million above the salary cap with Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak still left to sign.
The Issue for the Bruins
Luszczyszyn wrote this piece mere hours before DeBrusk was signed to a two-year extension. With that deal now done, perhaps he will have changed his perspective since the Bruins now only have around $3 million in cap space to add another piece.
That said, an offer sheet isn’t out the realm of possible and if the Bruins could sign Sergachev, they’d have some time to move another piece. Not only that, but it is expected there are couple big pieces in Boston expected to start the season on LTIR. That may or may not give the Bruins a bit more breathing room depending on when and how they make those LTIR adjustments.
In the end, it’s not a likely play. That said, it’s intriguing since it’s exactly what the Bruins need and something the Lightning would have an extremely hard time combatting if it went down.
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