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Bruins Free Agent Chatter: Could A Noel Acciari Redux Make Sense?



NHL Free Agency

Could the Boston Bruins bring back forward Noel Acciari via NHL Free Agency and bring some bite back to their fourth line?

The NHL free agency market is set to kick off on Wednesday at noon ET and the Bruins are expected bring back longtime centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci for one more kick at the proverbial Stanley Cup can. However, while the Boston Bruins continue to do their best to keep that Stanley Cup window open, don’t expect them to bust it open when the annual NHL free agency window kicks off Wednesday.

We’re working backwards, yeah, we did submit the qualifying offers to Jack Studnicka, Jack Ahcan and Matt Filipe, so that is taken care of. Yeah, there’s no question that financially from a cap perspective, we are tight and so are several other teams,” Sweeney replied when asked if the start of NHL free agency will be quiet for the Bruins.

However, as Sweeney pointed out – and at least in his assessment – the salary cap isn’t the only reason the Boston Bruins likely won’t be in on the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux, Nazem Kadri or Johnny Gaudreau when NHL Free Agency begins.

“The difference is that we have a full roster, minus the injured players that we’ll start on the sidelines. So, we’ve got the bulk of our roster in place, I’m certainly trying to look to make some changes to our roster, that may or may not happen, but I’m going to explore that – have been exploring it. We’re going to address some of the areas of the depth that the organization needs, and so we’ll be active over the next couple of days, but I wouldn’t say that unless barring a major trade of some sort, that we are going to be as active as we were last year in filling a number of holes.”

Sweeney has now confirmed more than once that there is a strong possibility Bruins captain Bergeron could return for another season. He also acknowledged on Monday that contract talks to bring Krejci back into the fold are progressing. That’s likely going to require some cost-cutting against the salary cap via trades.

Word in NHL Free Agency and trade chatter is the likes of forwards Nick Foligno (one year, $3.8M left) Craig Smith (one year, $3.1M left), Tomas Nosek (one year, $1.7M left), and Chris Wagner (one year, $1.3M left) are all available on the NHL trade market as they head into the final year of their contracts before hitting unrestricted free agency again.

Forward Trent Frederic (one year at $1.05M until RFA status) is rumored to be out there on the NHL trade market as well.

Forward Curtis Lazar ($800,000) and Anton Blidh ($700,000) will not be back and will test NHL free agency.

Defensemen Mike Reilly (two years, $3M AAV), and Connor Clifton (one year until UFA, $1M), are available via trade as well.

So if the Bruins were to move a forward or two, could they not plug a hole and bring back some bite to the fourth – and at times third – lines with Acciari?

According to George Richards of Florida Hockey Now, Acciari will not be brought back by the Florida Panthers after an injury-riddled final season of his three-year, $5 million deal he signed in 2019. Chances are that the Bruins could definitely get him for less than the cap hits they’re taking on any of those aforementioned forwards.

During the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 campaign, his first with the Panthers, Acciari broke out and scored 20 goals in 66 games while earning a top-six role during the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers when the Panthers returned to play in the bubble. Over the last two seasons though he has essentially lost his spot in the lineup and could be a good fit for the team he went to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final with.

Acciari had 18 goals and 14 assists in 180 games with the Bruins.

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN,, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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Rick W Murray


Rick W Murray



No. He will not be back


Too late, Acciari signed 1-year deal with Blues.

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