Bruins Trade Talk
Source: Blue Jackets ‘Really Like’ Bruins Prospect Lohrei
Reports continued to percolate this past weekend that the Boston Bruins are frontrunners in the NHL trade sweepstakes for Columbus Blue Jackets and pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.
While numerous NHL insiders have indicated that the only thing holding up a Gavrikov to the Bruins trade is Bruins general manager Don Sweeney trying to find another dance partner on the NHL trade market to unload salary cap space on, two other factors could be in play as well. As my Boston Hockey Now teammate Joe Haggerty pointed out over the weekend when writing about the latest Vladislav Gavrikov to the Bruins report, Bruins top defensman prospect Mason Lohrei would be a obvious NHL trade target for the Blue Jackets, and pretty much any team the Bruins are talking to. On Tuesday, a trusted NHL source confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that there is indeed serious interest in Lohrei from the Blue Jackets.
“Not to be ‘Captain Obvious’ here but they really like Lohrei,” the source told BHN. “Obviously he’s playing in their backyard there in Columbus for Ohio State, and they’ve seen plenty of him as they scout him, and plenty of NCAA players.”
Since being drafted by the Bruins 58th overall at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Mason Lohrei has risen up the team’s organizational depth chart, and in the process, caught the eye of NHL amateur scouts. In his first season at Ohio State, the 6-foot-4, 204-pound Lohrei had four goals and 25 assists in 31 games. This season, the 22-year-old rearguard has two goals and 22 assists in 32 games.
The other potential hold up on the Bruins acquiring Gavrikov, who has three goals and seven assists in 52 games, could be that Sweeney wants to pull off another acquire and sign as he did at the 2022 NHL trade deadline when he acquired pending UFA defenseman Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks, and immediately signed him to a eight-year, $52 million contract extension.
“Look you gotta believe that if Sweeney is going to part with a first round pick and Lohrei, he’s not going to do it for a rental,” the aforementioned source opined.
On the 32 Thoughts intermission show on Hockey Night In Canada this past Saturday, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman said he believes the Bruins were the reason that the Blue Jackets started healthy scratching Gavrikov a week earlier.
“One of the reasons that Gavrikov was given the trade-related sit out is because the Boston Bruins are in on him. One of the issues is (salary) cap,” Friedman said. “The Bruins have to do some things to make this work. We’ll see where this goes over the next couple of days. I think left D is an area Boston is targeting.”
Then, in the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast – hosted by Friedman and Jeff Marek – that dropped on Monday, Friedman doubled down on the Bruins being close to pulling off a trade for Gavrikov. He also speculated that they could still circle back and pull off a blockbuster on the NHL trade market for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
“The reason I don’t think the Boston deals have happened yet – especially with [Jake] DeBrusk coming off LTIR – I think Boston has things they gotta do,” Friedman opined. “I think they gotta figure out their roster; their cap situation. How do they make these moves, and that’s what I think Boston’s trying to figure out right now. I really do think they like Gavrikov from Columbus, and I think Gavrikov was pulled from the games is because I think they were talking to Boston.
This whole thing with Chychrun, I think LA’s still there. Your St. Louis point is a good one, and I do think on some level, Boston has considered ‘do we just go right for Chychrun ourselves?’ instead of playing the. …if Columbus is going to do this, being the team that helps Columbus get [Chychrun]. But Boston I think is going for a left D, and we’ll see what else they come up with.”
It should be noted that just before Friedman began discussing the Bruins, Marek suggested that the Blues could be a dark horse to land Chychrun on the NHL trade market. Also, there has been plenty of NHL trade chatter that the Blue Jackets will follow up a Gavrikov trade and acquire Chychrun.