As of late Wednesday night, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was the Austin Powers (‘Man of Mystery’), on the NHL trade market, with just over a week outside of the trade deadline.
What will the Boston Bruins do before the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline?
That’s not only the most significant question around the Bruins and their fan base, but around the NHL. With three Eastern Conference Stanley Cup contenders (New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs) already involved in blockbuster moves on the NHL trade market, NHL pro scouts and management are anxiously awaiting to see what Bruins general manager Don Sweeney does – if anything – to improve what has been the best team in the NHL since the puck dropped on the 2022-23 NHL regular season in October.
“Nothing much, man, but everyone’s waiting to see what [Sweeney] does,” one NHL source told Boston Hockey Now early Wednesday evening. “I mean, what the deal with the Gavrikov stuff is? I heard it was a done deal. All I know is what I’ve been telling you all along, Sweeney’s looked into everything, and he’s trying. We’ll see.”
Ahh, yes, the sudden NHL trade rumor saga that has surrounded the Bruins since multiple NHL insiders linked them to 6-foot-3, 221-pound, 27-year-old Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov back on Valentine’s Day. Gavrikov, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was scratched that night for ‘trade related reasons’ and hasn’t played (four games), since then. With all due respect to him, Gavrikov has become the consolation prize for the NHL trade suitors for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jacob Chychrun.
The Bruins were definitely in on Chychrun when he also became scratched for ‘trade related reasons’ back on Feb. 11, but even then, the Los Angeles Kings, not the Bruins were the front-runners because they have more draft pick and prospect capital to deal. Within the next few days, the framework for the Kings to acquire the 24-year-old Chychrun, who has two years left on a $27.6 million contract with a $4.6M AAV, fell apart. Since then, teams like the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, and the Blue Jackets, who also have more to offer and more cap space than the cap-strapped Bruins ($987,807), do. That brings us back to Gavrikov and the Bruins.
The common belief amongst most NHL insiders, is that the Blue Jackets are using the Bruins or any other NHL trade suitors (Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights, Kings, Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning) to add more picks to their arsenal so they can go out and acquire Chychrun. As many are wondering, though, why would the Bruins, who wanted Chychrun more, give up what many are saying would be their 2023 first and third round picks to help another team get the guy they wanted ahead of Gavrikov?
Ironically, another NHL trade target of the Bruins, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn, was also pulled out of the lineup before the Canucks game against the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday and will also sit out for ‘trade related reasons’ until the NHL trade deadline. On Tuesday’s Jeff Marek Show, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman said he believes Schenn will go for a 2023 third round pick and that a deal was ‘really close’
Friedman confirmed the Bruins were still in on Schenn and said he was struggling to figure out what direction they were going in on the NHL trade market.
“Boston’s just a really difficult team to figure out right now,” Friedman said. “It’s just wild trying to figure out what they’re up to.”