As reported here on more than one occasion and most recently one month ago today, the Boston Bruins are interested in acquiring Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli. Well, even with the Bruins in the midst of an eight-game win streak and 12-game point streak, that interest has not waned but rather intensified. Bruins Director of Player Development and Player Personnel Coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner scouted the Kings 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim this past Monday and was once again watching Toffoli and the Kings during their 4-2 loss at home Wednesday night to the Washington Capitals.
On Thursday morning, an NHL assistant general manager for a team that is interested in Devils winger Taylor Hall told Boston Hockey Now that he’d expect that Bruins general manager is also doing his due diligence on New Jersey Devils winger and unrestricted free-agent-to-be Taylor Hall, who Devils GM Ray Shero recently said he is listening to offers for. The 2017 Hart Trophy winner is set to hit paydirt on the open market next July and word around the league right now is that for now he is set on testing that market. That means that any team acquiring Hall at this point would do so knowing he’d likely be a rental.
Are the Bruins willing to potentially pay what the Vegas Golden Knights did for Mark Stone at last year’s trade deadline when they sent forward Oscar Lindberg, top prospect defenseman Erik Brannstrom and a 2020 Second Round draft pick to the Ottawa Senators last February 25? The Knights actually ended up signing Stone to eight-year contract extension on March 8 that carries an annual cap hit of $9.5 million, but even if Hall was willing to do the same with the Bruins, how could they afford him with what they have coming up in restricted and unrestricted free agency next summer, specifically with UFA-to-be Torey Krug? Right now, if the Bruins were to seriously jump into the Hall sweepstakes, they could only do so with him being a rental and with what many around the NHL feel will be the best NHL Entry Draft since 2003, coming up in Montreal next June, is it worth giving up a first or even a second round pick plus a roster player and top prospect for a oft-injured 28-year old that would likely want 6-8 years at least, carrying him to the dreaded 35-year-old mark?
As for the more likely rental Toffoli, he had an assist in 18 shifts in 14:14 TOI on Monday against the Ducks and finished a minus -1 in 25 shifts and 16:53 TOI Wednesday against the Caps. The 6’0, 197-pound winger now has six goals and seven assists in 28 games and is a minus 9. Toffoli, 27, is set to become an unrestricted free agent next July 1. He’s making a pro-rated $4.6 million right now, which makes him an attractive rental to a team like the Bruins who prior to taking defenseman John Moore’s $2.7 million off long-term injured reserve Thursday, had $3.7 million in cap space. The Bruins are still searching for a fixture on the right side with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Charlie Coyle has proven he’s more that he is more than able to fill that role as well, but Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has made it clear that the Bruins would prefer Coyle to remain as the third line center when the team is healthy because it gives the Bruins a solid 1-2-3 punch up the middle with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Coyle.