As the final four got underway in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs Thursday night, the NHL offseason trade speculation that had already been percolating involved the Boston Bruins.
According to one NHL source, and not surprisingly, the Boston Bruins are expected to be very active on the NHL trade market as the June 28-29 NHL Draft approaches, and into NHL free agency just two days later.
“They got no choice right?” an NHL executive source asked Boston Hockey Now rhetorically on Thursday. “They’re going to be moving guys they don’t really want to move but have to. But they may move guys they don’t have to change it up too. Donny said it already, ‘change is coming'”
In other words, if there were NHL Betting odds on the Boston Bruins to make a trade this offseason, they would be extremely high.
Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that on May 9, in the Bruins’ end of the season press conference with Sweeney, team president Cam Neely, and team CEO Charlie Jacobs.
“Our goal was to put the season on the absolute best roster we could put together and try and take a real legitimate run and we failed, no question. So we have to pay that forward a little bit,” the Bruins GM said. “That might mean we’re instituting younger players, that might mean roster changes, which we would like to make. That might mean I might be able to sign, as you referenced, one of those three players or other unrestricted players. We have to address the two RFAs in [Trent] Frederic and [Jeremy] Swayman, which we will do. And roster changes are likely coming.
We’re not going to be the same team, but our mandate internally, collectively as a group, is we have a really strong core of guys that hopefully as Jim [Montgomery] was talking about, will continue to grow, will take leadership responsibility moving forward regardless of whether or not Patrice and David walk back through the door because they need to.”
Swayman’s contract status has not only created speculation about what his next cap hit might be but also how it affects the team’s salary cap situation. Like so many teams, the Boston Bruins are about to enter a precarious position with the salary cap, while having two more restricted free agents besides Swayman, and eight potential unrestricted free agents including captain Patrice Bergeron and veteran center David Krejci.
Could moving Swayman’s postgame hug partner, and Vezina Trophy Finalist (two more years, $5M AAV), Linus Ullmark make sense considering the NHL trade value he has now?
An NHL source already confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that the Bruins at least listened to NHL trade offers for Linus Ullmark heading into this past offseason.
“Teams called on Ullmark last summer and I can tell you that they at least listened to trade offers on Ullmark because the team I was working for then was one of the teams calling on him,” the source told Boston Hockey Now on May 2. “We figured why not try after he had a shaky playoff series and they had Swayman on the rise with his contract up this offseason. Ullmark is at a doable cap hit for most teams. I could see him moved this offseason.”
The aforementioned source echoed a similar sentiment.
“I don’t think anything is really off-limits,” the aforementioned source said. “Sweeney has to explore all options and he will. Taylor Hall, Matt Grzelcyk, those names are out there but nothing would surprise me with the Bruins and a lot of teams.”
Hall has two more years left on his contract with a $6M AAV, and ten-team no-trade list, and no-movement clause, while Matt Grzelcyk is entering the final year of a three-year contract that carries a $3.6M AAV.
Given their stunning first round loss to the Florida Panthers and the expected roster turnover this offseason, the betting man in this scribe is very interested to see the first dose of 2023-24 Boston Bruins NHL betting futures that come out.