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Murphy: Sweeney Should Consider Trading Orlov, Bertuzzi



Boston Bruins

If they’re not already, the Boston Bruins should be gauging the NHL trade market for defenseman Dmitry Orlov and winger Tyler Bertuzzi.

If the Bruins are still in a holding pattern with Orlov and/or Bertuzzi – whether due to lack of common ground in talks or failing to create salary cap space – a week from now, they may reach a point where they need to cut bait with one or both players’ rights. The Bruins could simply move their signing rights on the NHL trade market or they could do a sign-and-trade like the one the New Jersey Devils pulled off Friday with UFA-to-be defenseman Damon Severson.

The Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets completed a sign-and-trade with the Devils signing 28-year-old defenseman to an eight-year, $50 million deal ($6.25 AAV), and then trading him to Columbus in exchange for a third round pick (80th overall), at the 2023 NHL Draft June 28-29 in Nashville, Tennessee. Severson’s new contract is $10.8 million in bonuses. Additionally, Severson received a full no-trade clause in the first four years, a 20-team no-trade clause in year five, and a 12-team no-trade clause for the last three years of his new contract.

Both Orlov and Bertuzzi are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, and by all accounts, interest in both players is already high. For instance, AFP Analytics has Orlov projected to get the third-highest contract on the 2023 unrestricted free agent market at 5 x $6.25 million. If that’s the case, the capped-strapped Boston Bruins cannot afford to bring Orlov back unless they do some serious cap-maneuvering. The same can be said for Bertuzzi who AFP has a six-year contract that will carry a $5.2 million salary cap hit. If their projection is anywhere close to that, the Bruins will be saying goodbye to Tyler Bertuzzi.

Last week, Orlov indicated that he is looking forward to hitting the UFA market.

Per Google Translation this was Orlov to Sport-Express on June 2:

This hasn’t happened to me. I won’t say that it’s scary, but I really look forward to when the market opens, negotiations begin. However, nothing is happening right now. Until July 1, I belong to Boston, so until that time I can only sign a new contract with them. But in a month everything will changeOf course, I would like a long contract, it gives stability and peace of mind. But there are many nuances, you can’t take everything into account.”

Then this week, a trusted NHL source had this to say on Bertuzzi’s free agent intentions:

“I know he made it clear to the Red Wings when they were discussing an extension with him that he was pretty intent on hitting free agency this summer,” the source told BHN recently. “His camp knew what he can get out there, and that’s probably more now after the way he played for the Bruins. I know the Bruins are trying hard to keep him, but given his desire to test the market for the first time and their cap issues, that will be difficult.”

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and the agents for both Orlov and Bertuzzi have remained mum on the contract talks, and out of respect for the process, likely will until decisions are made. If things continue to indicate that the two potential UFA’s are headed to market, then Sweeney needs do his best to utilize what is now an active NHL trade market and bring back some much-needed draft capital.


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