Where there is smoke there is usually fire with the Boston Bruins, and there are multiple reports and sourcing saying there is something brewing between the B’s and the Arizona Coyotes.
UPDATE: The Coyotes ended up executing a blockbuster deal with the Vancouver Canucks that saw Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland head to Vancouver and the ghost of Loui Eriksson’s contract as part of the package headed to Arizona.
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The Bruins and the Coyotes, of course, were linked in trade talks a year ago when Oliver Ekman-Larsson was the subject of trade discussions when Boston was listed as one of only two hockey teams, he could accept a trade to prior to the 2021 NHL season.
The trade never materialized when the Coyotes balked at retaining some of Ekman-Larsson’s salary, and now it appears there are other players in play for a Boston Bruins team looking for help on multiple fronts. Ekman-Larsson would fill a need for a Boston Bruins team still looking for a top-4 left-shot defenseman and would bring a puck-moving/power play element that ease some of the ice time pressure currently on Matt Grzelcyk.
Interestingly enough, Boston Hockey Now is also reporting that Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland and Darcy Kuemper have all been discussed in ongoing trade talks between the Bruins and Coyotes that have clearly expanded. Adding to the interest level is reports that Taylor Hall and the B’s are putting the finishing touches on a four-year contract, and the fact that Dvorak and Garland played on a line with Hall during his time in Arizona a few seasons ago.
The fact that the B’s are in discussion with Arizona about Dvorak makes one naturally wonder about the future with incumbent second line center David Krejci. Don Sweeney said on Thursday that Krejci hasn’t made any decisions on his plans for next season, but Boston’s pursuit of a possible second line center in Dvorak further muddies the picture with Krejci.
Could it be possible that the 35-year-old playmaking center has already made a decision he’s going back to his native Czech Republic to play, and the Bruins are trying to keep it quiet to avoid a desperation situation? It’s certainly possible, though nobody has confirmed that from either the Bruins or from Krejci’s camp at this point.
Sweeney only said that the Bruins were prepared if Krejci did indeed decide that he was going to return to Boston next season.
“We have guys that can step into roles. Obviously, we’ll address needs throughout our lineup and certainly explore options to have. [We’ll] address it as it comes,” said Sweeney. “We certainly have to acknowledge that [Krejci’s spot] would be a big hole if we had to fill it, but it’d be a real good opportunity for someone if we do go in that direction.
“We’re going to have to find a way to spread things around if David makes a decision otherwise, but that hasn’t been the indication. We’re hopeful that he’ll come back. We’ll see.”
Dvorak is coming off a season where he posted 17 goals and 31 points during the 56-game season for the Coyotes but has never scored more than 18 goals or 38 points in his five full NHL seasons with the Coyotes. Clearly that doesn’t put the 25-year-old in Krejci’s category when it comes to playmaking or overall offensive production, but slotting Dvorak alongside Hall in Boston might be enough to perk up his offensive numbers.
Either way, there’s no doubt that Boston’s top prospects and their 2021 first round pick are in play as they discuss trades ahead of tonight’s first round of the NHL Draft.