This normally tranquil part of the NHL off-season perked up with some unexpected speculation this week, at least according to Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press. A trade that seemed dead in the water just a couple of weeks ago may actually have some life again as McIntyre suggests that there could be one final push by the Boston Bruins to enhance their center depth, and he speculates whether the Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele might be the target.
One pressing concern for the Bruins is the void left by the retirements of stalwarts Patrice Bergeron and David Krejčí, leaving them in need of not one but two elite centers. McIntyre poses the question: “Will Bruins GM Don Sweeney become more aggressive and reach out to Kevin Cheveldayoff, his Winnipeg counterpart, with an irresistible offer in the coming weeks?”
In other words, if the Bruins are going to do this, sooner than later is the window.
McIntyre acknowledges that this potential move is rife with complexities. There is a growing belief that a change of scenery might benefit Scheifele, whose performance has waned since his suspension for an incident involving Montreal’s Jake Evans. There are also questions about the Jets’ overall roster strategy and what happens if the team winds up being competitive.
McIntyre delves into the intricacies of the situation and suggests if the Jets find themselves in a playoff position or at least in contention, trading away one of their two most valuable players could be seen as waving the white flag and something they are much less likely to do versus making that trade now. Dealing Scheifele when the team could make a playoff push sends a significant message to the fanbase that the organization has been actively engaging with through marketing and ticketing campaigns this summer but also to the remaining players on the Jets’ roster.
Has Something Changed In Boston Over the Past Few Weeks?
It’s worth noting that just a couple of weeks ago, several pundits believed the Bruins were unlikely to pursue Scheifele due to salary cap constraints and limited trade assets. To say that Boston faced challenges in orchestrating a blockbuster trade for Scheifele would have been putting it kindly. However, recent developments have stirred the pot, leaving the door slightly ajar for a potential deal.
The Bruins had been hesitant to part with goaltenders Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark unless other significant improvements were secured (that has not happened), and trading for Scheifele, with his substantial cap hit, would be a cap-related puzzle for both teams involved.
None of these things have changed. The only thing that might have is the Bruins’ desire to find an upgrade, potentially taking one final swing at a player like Scheifele to see if there is any movement there.
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