As the clock struck 4 PM ET on the opening day of the most bizarre and unique NHL Free Agency period ever, the Boston Bruins had not signed any unrestricted or restricted free agents, nor had they made any trades.
Krug Becomes A UFA
As expected, for the first time in his career 29-year-old defenseman Torey Krug has become an unrestricted free agent. An NHL source and a team source did confirm to Boston Hockey Now that the Bruins, Krug, and Krug’s agent Lewis Gross did try to work out a last-minute deal before the clock struck noon and free agency commenced but the Bruins weren’t willing to budge on the term of their last offer of a six-year contract that would carry a $6.5 million salary cap hit. As Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney stated after the NHL Draft on Wednesday though, the door will remain open for a Krug return should he not find the right deal on the market.
Per numerous NHL sources throughout the day on Friday, the leading suitors for Krug were the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and Vegas Golden Knights but a lot was hinging on what happened with the big fish UFA defenseman on the market Alex Pietrangelo. Just my two cents but don’t count out the Vancouver Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators either.
Chara A UFA For First Time Since 2006
For the first time since July 2006, when he signed with the Bruins as a marquee UFA, 43-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara is back on the market. The Bruins captain since he signed that five-year contract worth $37.5 million on July 1, 2006, is still expected to return to the Bruins on a cap-friendly, one-year contract and according to a team source, he is willing to let the Bruins figure out some much bigger cap and roster issues and circle back.
It should be noted though that just after 4 PM ET, Pierre LeBrun did report that Chara’s agent Matt Keator did tell Lebrun, that numerous teams had already reached out to Keator to see if he was available. For now, Keator said that Chara won’t be signing anywhere on Friday and likely through the weekend.
No Trade For OEL
After a ten-day saga between the Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, and the Bruins, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will stay in the desert and remain the Coyotes captain. A week ago, Ekman-Larsson said that he would only waive his no-movement clause for the Bruins or the Canucks. With both teams not having a 2020 first round pick and the asking price from Coyotes GM Billy Armstrong being too high, the Bruins dropped out Thursday and the Canucks on Friday morning.
Could Bruins Still Land Big UFA?
There’s still a feeling around the league that with $15.4 million in cap space, the Bruins may pull off a stealth move and sign a player like top UFA forward Taylor Hall but that was simply pure speculation. I would keep an eye on former Providence College forward Mark Jankowski who did not receive a qualifying offer from the Calgary Flames by the deadline on Wednesday.