The Boston Bruins are in the midst of navigating a challenging offseason as they face the prospect of losing two key players down the middle. With news that Patrice Bergeron is already not returning and David Krejci not expected to return, team president Cam Neely has made it clear that the Bruins are determined to strengthen their center position.
Speaking to reporters, including Joe Haggerty, Neely asserted that the team has been competing every year and stuck with older veterans who have now aged out or left the NHL. What was once an area of strength is now a weakness. He noted, “We’re doing whatever we can to bolster that position.”
This statement has sparked immediate trade speculation, with fans and analysts eagerly wondering not just what potential targets that could fill the void left by the departing stars, but who the Bruins might be willing to give up to acquire what they need.
Haggerty highlighted two prime candidates who could be a good fit for the Bruins – Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames and Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets. Both players boast extensive experience and have shouldered first-line responsibilities for their respective teams. Additionally, they are pending unrestricted free agents next summer, which could make them attractive trade targets.
As per Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun, the Bruins like the idea of Mark Scheifele, but they might like the idea of Elias Lindholm better. Billeck writes:
While moving on from Scheifele, who was attached at the hip with Wheeler for much of their time together in Winnipeg, still seems likely, it may have to wait as well. It’s possible Boston could enter the picture at some point. They likely have their eyes focused on what Elias Lindholm decides in Calgary first.
As for what it would take to get either player, the biggest carrot the Bruins have to dangle is one of their goaltenders. Arbitration filings for Boston and Jeremy Swayman came in on Friday with the team submitting a $2 million offer and the player coming in at $4.8 million. It will be intriguing to see how this process unfolds and if there are any hard feelings when this case is ultimately settled or awarded.
If the Bruins keep Swayman, is there a chance they move Vezina Trophy-winner Linus Ullmark?
If not a goaltender, the most likely name to be offered up could be defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. The Flames might be interested in him, especially if they need to replace pending UFA defenseman Noah Hanifin.
Are the Bruins In Panic Mode to Do This Now?
Time will tell if any of these assets are enough to land a top center from either the Flames or the Jets. If not, there is a possibility that the team might wait until next year’s trade deadline if they believe they can remain competitive and in the playoff race until then.
As the offseason progresses, all eyes will be on Boston’s front office to see how they navigate the trade market and solidify their roster for the upcoming season. Do they pull the trigger now? Or, do they think they’re good enough to hold off on a big move until later in the season?
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