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Haggs: Boston Bruins Should Make Improbable Push For Tkachuk



Let’s start off by stating the obvious. The Boston Bruins really aren’t in a position to do anything massive with their NHL roster given the state of their salary cap and the unsigned status of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha deep into the summer offseason.

Per our friends PuckPedia, the Boston Bruins have slightly more than $2 million in salary cap space and they’re also a hockey club that’s got a massive long-term question as contract extension negotiations play out with game-breaking winger David Pastrnak. So why shouldn’t they push in the chips and make a play for disgruntled power forward Matthew Tkachuk as it seems clear he’s not going to stick around Calgary for the long haul. Naturally it has everybody talking.

On the surface, Tkachuk is a familiar Boston name with a ton of history as part of hockey royalty around these parts. And he plays exactly the kind of game that Boston Bruins fans have been clamoring for since Milan Lucic left town seven years ago.

He’s a game-changer from a physical standpoint, he’s an intimidator and he’s a guy at 24 years old that’s just entering his prime power forward years. Those are the seasons when his old man Keith was putting up a 50-goal season for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Beyond that, he also gets the pocket protector fancy stats brigade all breathless with his analytical numbers. So we’ll see all kinds of colorful bar graphs illustrating what most of us can already see on the ice, Tkachuk is a game-changing force that finished with 42 goals and 104 points while playing in all 82 games this past season.

Just look at those yellow bar graphs! Wow!

He puts up offense, he is extremely hard to play against and the 6-foot-2, 202-pounder gets to the inside ice that Boston Bruins President Cam Neely was lamenting was an issue with this B’s team during this past spring’s disappointing first round exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“The playoffs certainly gave me some indication that we’ve got to do a little better job of getting inside the dots. Maybe not try to have such a rush mentality,” said Neely back in May. “I thought we were getting a little stubborn at times, turning pucks over the blue line, whether it was an entry on the power play or 5-on-5. I think at times, you’ve got to take what’s given to you and sometimes you’ve got to dump it in and go get it and grind it out.”

Do the Boston Bruins need a player like, well, Neely in his prime?

“It would be great to have someone like that, there’s no question,” said Neely. “I think every team would love that, and the teams that have them, they hang onto them. They don’t let them go. It’s just a matter of the scouting department going to work and trying to find someone for us.”

In this case, the Flames are going to end up letting one of those players go. It’s a no-brainer that Tkachuk makes sense for the Black and Gold on a superficial level. Let’s look at the reasons that it probably won’t happen.

First, there’s this from The Athletic that Tkachuk has reportedly already let it be known that he’d only be willing to sign contract extensions with certain teams, and that the St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars were the teams on that list. It wasn’t confirmed that was the current list provided to the Flames with urgency perhaps stepped up in moving him, and BHN has confirmed with hockey sources that the New Jersey Devils are absolutely one of the teams on the chase.

The Tkachuk/Devils connection makes all the sense in the world given that Tkachuk’s cousin, Tom Fitzgerald, is the GM running the show in New Jersey. Unfortunately, Boston does not appear anywhere on that Tkachuk list to this point and that ultimately would be the sticking point that would/could kill a deal.

The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder is lefty-shooting left wing, so there’s obviously some roster gymnastics that would have to happen as well. The logical, reasonable deal to be made would be a one-for-one seismic swap between the Bruins and Calgary Flames with 26-year-old David Pastrnak traded for Tkachuk with both players no longer under team control beyond this season.

But sources indicated to BHN that the Flames wouldn’t do that kind of a deal unless Pastrnak were already signed to a contract extension, a piece of insurance Calgary GM Brad Treliving would have to have after Johnny Gaudreau left him holding a big bag of cash, literally, on NHL free agency frenzy day.

It’s highly debatable if it would even be worth it for the Bruins to swap out Pastrnak for Tkachuk straight up, and it becomes infinitely more problematic when it comes to convincing No. 88 to sign an extension if there was even a hint that a move to Calgary would be in the offing.

There’s also the practical problems of bringing a premium left wing like Tkachuk on board with the Boston Bruins already holding Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall on their roster with long term deals. Sure, it would work out for a couple of months while Marchand is rehabbing from double-hip surgeries, but what happens when first year coach Jim Montgomery is left dealing with somebody of import unhappy that they’re playing on their off wing.

There’s also the cap space problem for a player due $9 million in a qualifying offer this season and probably even more than that moving forward on a brand-new contract. Trading for a player like Tkachuk and immediately making him the team’s highest paid player could pull this team apart, or be exactly the kind of decisive, bold statement move that this Boston Bruins franchise is badly in need of these days.

The bottom line: There’s a lot of practical reasons to say this is never going to happen.

But the Boston Bruins should try it all anyway and leave no stone unturned to try and bring a Tkachuk back to Boston. Maybe it’s a hockey fairy tale and maybe there is a zero percent chance of it happening, but Matthew Tkachuk is a fantasy worth pursuing for a Boston Bruins hockey club where he’d be a perfect fit on all levels.



Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston,, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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William Mahoney

Tkachuk is a natural for the Bruins! Why has he not named the B’s as a team that he would consider signing with?

Jimmy Murphy

Because why would he want to sign with a team on the decline?


And before you ban me, I don’t actually give a fuck were talking about the most fucking piece of shit team in any sports here, remember what I told you today, the Bruins are full of shit first yes it’s a fact, but the point is that without Bergeron, your dumb ass team as nothing more than any other team in this league. I am thrilled that Bergeron is going to retire anytime soon. Finally the Bruins will be where they belong, in a BIG PILE OF SHIT

Jimmy Murphy

First off I won’t ban you if you re-write without the profanity and as if you had the intelligence of at least a 15-year-old. Secondly, this isn’t my team; I don’t work or cheer for them; I cover them.


I’m a lifelong bruins fan but I’m giving up on them because they gave up on their team the ownership The team will never win a cup they don’t get behind their players And it’s just by lock we get anywhere Still haven’t filled the shoes for krejci and Krug rotten apples they are This team had so many chances and the ownership failed them look at Toronto at least there trying


This team is going to be a permanent on the decline with owners like the Jacobs They proved it to us last year not rebuilding or making a push to the cup All they care about is concessions I wish they would sell


Because your dumb ass bruins are full of shit, everyone knows Bergeron is the only real good player in this fuck team. Without Bergeron the Bruins wouldn’t even be in this league

B's Metalhead

How is the weather in Vancouver today mate? or is it something in Toronto got your knickers in a twist? Or maybe you’re still butthurt about the habs only winning what twelve games last season? Hahahaha!!!! Cool! Love being the crappiest team and still better than Toronto, top 6 for playoff appearances, you’re the only one full of shit!! But yea, way to show us how pathetic your life is to come comment here about hockey on another team on july friggin 21st, nah man you got things going on in life for sure! Not. What a LOSER HAHAHAHAHA!


Because the Bruins suck anyways, in a year or two from now Bergeron will not be there to save ur dumb ass from being a moron team once again


Go give your mom back her iPhone, you obviously don’t have permission to use it.


Is it nice and cool down in your mom’s basement in Toronto?

Rick W Murray

If Sweeney’s had a half a mind he would, Or maybe I should say the salesmenship he can’t even convince Bergy or Krejci to stay how would he ever begin to sell Tkachuk for one Daddy Keith is from Mass. there’s your starting point.

B's Metalhead

The question is does Sweeney have half a mind? Haha seriously though… What is going on here?? Not a lot of time to figure out how drastic of a situation we have to address. What can we even do?? We have $2m cap space?? To sign pasta, bergy, get krejci back? Uhhh


Lifelong Bruins fan here. As much as I would LOVE Tkachuk, he will not sign for the Bruins, nor I do I think Pastrnak will either while we’re at it. Not if David is smart. This team has very few prospects, has inept upper management, now doesn’t even have a proven, winning coach…and whether Bergeron and/or Krejci come back, it’s not a long-term fix. After next year (or perhaps even starting next year), the Bruins will be a non-playoff team for years to come.


Doubt we turn into habs


Hey Jimmy


Morning Mr.Murphy


What does “doubt we turn into the habs” have to do with anything? I want the Bruins to contend for the Cup. Those days are over, and I truly think just making the playoffs won’t be happening anymore very soon either. Based on your comment, “the Bruins might suck…but hey, they won’t be as bad as Montreal!” Great. Congrats on that. Who cares? Sucking is sucking. Oh, and btw, being better than the Habs may not be a certainty much longer either. Now that Montreal has Jeff Gorton building their team, they will likely improve a lot in the coming… Read more »


Haggerty, Haggerty, Haggerty… Tkachuk is not the answer. What do the B’s really need, yes, centers!! Mathew Barzal and a draft pick for Pasta!!

Phelt Saucier

DeBrusk, Gryz, Lohrei, ‘23 2nd, ‘24 1st & 3rd. Try to trade Foligno & Smith for a salary dump.


This is kinda like “what if”
What if Sweeney wasn’t so bad at his job and we didn’t have so many dead weight contracts on the books! Oh wait…..
Pasta is not signing a new deal that doesn’t include and no trade clause and Tkachuk has made it clear to the Flames where he will sign an extension..and it isn’t in Boston.
Bruins miss the playoffs next year and we can only hope that they are in a lottery position as I don’t trust Sweeney to pick anywhere else but the consensus No. 1


I watched the bruins join the discussion for Mat T they are not gonna be allowed to spend the money.. I hope people start jumping off the band wagon And it hurts the owners in the pocket… How do you think we feel knowing that they won’t spend money to make a push for a cup…

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