We wrote about the remaining unsigned NHL restricted free agents a few weeks ago at Boston Hockey Now, and we didn’t mention much specifically with regard to the Boston Bruins. The B’s tight salary cap situation for this upcoming season was a big factor behind their absence from the conversation, and that’s been behind their mostly quiet offseason.
But our RFA list did feature Tampa Bay defenseman Mikhail Sergachev at the very top of the list with the observation that offer-sheeting him should be a discussion for any playoff team in the Eastern Conference. As we wrote then it was a two-fold benefit to throwing a big offer at Sergachev, who would obviously have to sign the offer sheet and go along with it to make it all happen: “The real advantage is a two-fold one for any Eastern Conference team as two of the best RFAs available for offer sheets also happen to play for the salary cap-strapped, Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. An offer would either subtract a good player from their roster, or thoroughly blow up their salary cap situation.”
Interestingly, The Athletic’s resident fancy stats guru Dom Luszczyszyn wrote an article in the last few days stating the case for why the Bruins should be the team to send that hostile takeover offer sheet to the 22-year-old defenseman with the sky-high ceiling.
It makes all the sense in the world, and if there were no such thing as a salary cap then there might not be more of a perfect player fit than a guy like Sergachev that can skate, shoot, pass, move the puck and is ideal D-man size/strength. The left-shot Sergachev is exactly the kind of top pairing, left shot defenseman that the Bruins were already pursuing this offseason in Oliver Ekman-Larsson, except he’s better in just about every way aside from established offensive credentials. This would also be the kind of badass GM move that Boston Bruins fans would love to see out of Don Sweeney, particularly against a Lightning team that looks like they are going to be in Boston’s way in the Atlantic Division for the foreseeable future.
But it’s not going to happen.
The Bruins are still likely to make a move for an experienced left-shot defenseman at some point this season, and it’s very clear the need is there given Torey Krug’s free agent exit and the uncertainty surrounding 43-year-old Zdeno Chara’s future. And Sergachev to the Bruins is fun to think about during the dog days of the offseason, but offer sheets weren’t coming during the best of times, and the inflationary measure sure as hell isn’t going to show up with teams battling flat salary caps and uncertain economics for the foreseeable future.
So, Boston Bruins fans can always dream about that one. Now on to the links:
*It’s good to hear that Claude Julien is feeling back up to full health and ready to coach the Montreal Canadiens after his heart issues during last summer’s playoffs. Claude is the best coach in Bruins history and an excellent human being. (NHL.com)
*If you could go back in time and attend any hockey game in history, which one would it be? For me it would probably be Bobby Orr flying through the air at the Garden in 1970, but that’s a tough one to narrow down. It’s also four years before I was born and I could run into a situation where I’d meet my younger dad and create a Back to the Future-style crisis. So maybe I’d skip that. (Bar Down)
*The Hockey News is trying to figure out some predictions for a 2021 Stanley Cup champion. It’s an admirable attempt, but there’s way too much unknown to figure out any of that right now. (Hockey News)
*Time is running out for the NHL season to begin on Jan. 1 as both NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr aren’t even talking at this point in time. Not great, Bob! (Toronto Globe & Mail)
*Fun story from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jeremy Rutherford about Keith Tkachuk’s daughter becoming the star for this season as a high school field hockey champion as brothers Matthews and Brady were around to watch it all happen. (The Athletic)
*This story about Torey Krug writing a heartfelt farewell letter to Boston Bruins super-fan Liam Fitzgerald will give you all the feels. (Boston Hockey Now)
*For something completely different: Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 25, 2020