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Jim Montgomery Calls Taylor Hall Injury Report ‘False’



Boston Bruins

When alerted to a TSN report that Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall was ready to play but couldn’t due to his team’s current salary cap restraints, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery once again reiterated late Tuesday night that Bruins winger has not been cleared to play yet.

“The only thing I can say is that I know he is not cleared. That’s what I know so that report to me is false,” Montgomery replied sternly when asked about the report from TSN Insider Darren Dreger on the latest edition of ‘TSN Insider Trading‘ that aired while the Boston Bruins lost 2-1 to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

There has been some growing speculation around the NHL that the Boston Bruins are trying to circumvent the NHL salary cap with with Hall remaining on long-term injury reserve despite seemingly making significant strides towards a return to the lineup. Taylor Hall, wearing a non-contact jersey, took part in his team’s last two practices at Warrior Arena and seemed to be skating and playing without much reservation from his lower-body injury that put him on long-term injury reserve back on March 2.

Dreger’s report on Tuesday night only increased that speculation with the longtime, and trusted NHL insider even saying that other NHL clubs are likely keeping tabs on Hall’s injury and roster status.

“While we were at the general managers’ meetings in Florida earlier this month, there was some discussions about the salary cap and how it related to players that are on long-term injured reserve; is that a key topic of discussion right now with the Boston Bruins, Darren?” host Gino Reda asked Dreger.

“Yes it is, specific to one player and maybe two – Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno of the Bruins,” Dreger replied. “We know, according to reports and video, that Hall has been skating with the Bruins for several days now. Sources say that he feels he is ready. The problem is the Bruins don’t have the cap space to activate Hall. Now the NHL playoffs are less than three weeks away so it’s going to be interesting to see how the Bruins manage this situation or, if like the Tampa Bay Lightning a few years ago, they try and stretch it out until the start of the postseason so it’s something that I’m sure other clubs are paying attention to as well.”

For those that don’t recall, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed forward Nikita Kucherov on long-term injury reserve in December, 2020, after offseason hip surgery. The all-star forward remained there the entire 2021 season, and the Lightning were able to operate with $9.5 million cap cushion thanks to Kucherov being on LTIR. When Kucherov came back early though and just in time for the playoffs, the rest of the league and fans were up in arms. The league never proved any wrongdoing by the Lightning, who, with Kucherov finishing as a Conn Smythe finalist, went on to win their second straight Stanley Cup.

With Hall and his $6 million cap hit going on LTIR, and winger Nick Foligno ($3.8M AAV), going on injured reserve a week after the Boston Bruins acquired winger Garnet Hathaway, and defenseman Dmitry Orlov from the Washington Capitals on Feb. 23, the Bruins then had some wiggle room against the salary cap heading into the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline. They used that space to go out and acquire winger Tyler Bertuzzi just prior to the deadline on March 3. Now, with eight games left, according to PuckPedia, the Boston Bruins have $2.2 million in cap space.

As they pointed out though, the cap circumvention speculation, much like Montgomery claimed Dreger’s report was, is false. If the Bruins were to bring Hall back today, all they would have to do is have Derek Forbort and his pro-rated $3M AAV on LTIR given he’s out for the remainder of the season anyhow. That along with Foligno staying on injure reserve would keep the Bruins under the cap.

Yes, that would leave the Bruins with next to nothing in cap wiggle room, but it disproves the theory that the Bruins are pulling a ‘Kucherov’ right now.



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