With the asking price now set for Tomas Hertl — should the San Jose Sharks choose to trade the center — the Boston Bruins potentially know what it will cost if their original plans down the middle fall apart. It’s going to be costly, but it could be the way to go with Hertl on an expiring contract and the Bruins looking to stay competitive after losing a key piece of the roster.
The Bruins are set to begin the 2021-22 NHL season with Charlie Coyle in the No. 2 center position. This is because David Krejci went home to play in the Czech Republic, in front of friends and family. Coyle as the second-line center may work fine, but it may not and if the Bruins hope to keep face in an Atlantic Division that includes the defending Stanley Cup Champions, they might be in the market for an upgrade.
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That’s where Hertl comes in. The Sharks are hoping the convince the center to stick around but both sides have elected to hold off on contract extension talks until later, if not the end of the season. Many believe it will take a miracle for Hertl to stick with the Sharks and if he’s on his way out next season, San Jose will want to move him.
Joe Haggerty of Boston Hockey Now says that Hertl could be the Bruins backup plan if Coyle doesn’t pan out or if Jack Studnika can’t elevate his game and take the No. 2 role. Haggerty named Hertl as a target. Meanwhile, Kevin Kurz of The Athletic writes what the Sharks might be looking for in return:
Along with a first-round pick, they would have to get at least one potential high-end prospect in return, too, and preferably someone who could play NHL games ahead of or along the same timeline as guys like William Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau and some of the other prospects who are around 19 or 20 years old (in other words, probably two years away). In a perfect world that player is probably a center, but considering Ryan Merkley’s declining stock and Brent Burns’ advancing age, a defenseman might be just as welcomed.
Trade Not That Simple
If the Bruins identify Hertl as the better option, it might not be as simple as just making the swap. The Bruins would also need to move a player. Whether that’s Coyle in the trade or the Bruins’ first move Jake DeBrusk or John Moore is unclear. Not to mention, Hertl essentially becomes a rental, so the return can’t be astronomical, even if the Bruins will be competing with a number of other teams.
Hertl makes $5.625 million and is n the final year of his deal. The Bruins don’t have a ton of cap space to add assets.
Next: Zack Kassian Not Conceding Top-Six Spot on Oilers Roster
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