Besides the Tuukka Rask trade rumors from earlier on Thursday, there are multiple Bruins trade rumors flying around as the NHL Entry Draft (October 6-7) and Free Agency (October 9) loom.
After talking trade with the Vancouver Canucks earlier in September, numerous news outlets and NHL insiders have linked the Bruins to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Edmonton Oilers forward Alex Chiasson. On Thursday, an NHL source confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that the Bruins have indeed spoken to both teams regarding those players and others however, there was no update on where those Bruins trade talks stand as of now.
After linking the Bruins to Ekman-Larsson in his weekly ‘31 Thoughts’ column on September 17, Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman tweeted Thursday that Ekman-Larsson, who has a no-movement clause, had narrowed the list down to the Bruins and the Canucks as the two teams he’d waive the no-movement clause for. The Canucks recently hired former Providence Bruins Assistant Head Coach and forward Billy Armstrong as their new General Manager. On Tuesday, TSN Insider Darren Dreger reported the Bruins were still in on Ekman-Larsson but then on Thursday, Dreger tweeted that the Oilers were also talking to Armstrong about Ekman-Larsson.
According to Dreger, for the Oilers to acquire the 29-year-old defenseman, it would cost them their first round pick and ‘likely one of the Oilers’ young, developing blueliners. However, even if the Oilers were willing to do that, they would still need the Coyotes to take some salary back so they can afford the seven years with an annual $8.2 million salary cap hit.
What’s the farm? Ariz will want a 1st and likely one of the Oilers young, developing blueliners. Edmonton would also likely need the Coyotes to take another contract back to offset the OEL cap hit. As we reported yesterday, there have been discussions. Unclear if there’s a fit. https://t.co/JNuFv5vesZ
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 30, 2020
That last caveat would likely be an issue for the Bruins as well, who have $14.4 million in cap space but could be signing restricted free agents Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk as well as, captain Zdeno Chara who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on October 9. The Bruins also don’t have a first round pick and as for ‘developing, young blueliners’ the Coyotes’ ask would likely be Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy who BHN has confirmed is ‘off-limits’ in any trade talks right now. Brandon Carlo, who has been the subject of trade rumors too, or rookie prospect Urho Vaakanainen may suffice but the Bruins would still need to acquire a first round pick if they want Ekman-Larsson.
Will Bruins Trade For Chiasson? Athanasiou?
While the Oilers and Bruins have been bidding on Ekman-Larsson, they have also been talking trade between themselves as well. A few weeks back, Oilers Insider Bob Stauffer reported that the Bruins and Oilers GM had discussed a one-for-one trade that would send restricted free agent Bruins winger Anders Bjork to the Oilers in exchange for Chiasson who is heading into a walk year and carrying a $2.1 million cap hit. On Thursday, TSN Insider Frank Seravalli referenced this trade rumor in the same column he reported that Sweeney is shopping Rask.
An NHL source confirmed later in the day that this trade was discussed but the Bruins have also inquired about RFA forward Andreas Athanasiou. The 26-year-old Athanasiou had eleven goals and 15 assists in 55 games split between the Red Wings and Oilers who acquired him at the February 25 NHL Trade Deadline this past season. Meanwhile, Chiasson, 30, had 11 goals and 13 assists in 65 games.