Two NHL sources recently confirmed to Boston Hockey Now, the multiple reports heading into the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline that the Boston Bruins had trade talks with the Los Angeles Kings regarding 34-year-old forward Jeff Carter prior to acquiring forward Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild on February 20.
According to these sources Coyle had long been the target of Sweeney and his staff and the Carter talks were more exploratory in case the talks with the Wild on Coyle unraveled. They, of course, didn’t and the Bruins got a younger and cheaper player in the 27-year-old Coyle who now has one season left with a $3.2 million cap hit versus the 34-year-old Carter who has two seasons left at $5.2 million. Would Sweeney and the Bruins circle back on Carter now though with the NHL trade market already heating up?
Obviously, Carter carries a hefty cap hit and is not getting any younger, but with the Bruins coveting a top 6 winger with size, his 6’3, 219-pound frame would definitely fit the bill. According to one NHL scout Tuesday, if Sweeney was to re-explore what it would take to acquire Carter, “he wouldn’t be the only one”. Carter, while an aging player with some injury luggage is known by many around the league as a “fearless warrior” and a great leader in the dressing room.
“He would fit in great with that core they already have in place and just be another good guy for the younger players,” the scout said.
That may all be true, but how could Sweeney fit Carter in with all the other cap maneuvering he has to do right now? In addition to having to sign restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, he has another restricted free agent in forward Danton Heinen and then fellow forwards Noel Acciari and Marcus Johansson are unrestricted free agents. The Bruins have $14 million in cap space. Sweeney will surely lock up the three RFA’s and has made it clear he’d like back those UFA’s as well. If that or even three of those free agents come back, unless Sweeney makes a cost-cutting trade or two, it would be impossible to add Carter at that price and likely any other potential top 6 forward making $5 million or more.
All that being said, he’s not doing his due diligence if he doesn’t at least investigate if he does indeed believe Carter could fit that top 6 winger role the Bruins have long coveted.