With the NHL Draft just a week away (June 28-29) and NHL free agency set to begin two days after the draft on July 1, the Boston Bruins are still apparently doing all they can to keep two of their three 2023 NHL Trade Deadline acquisitions.
In the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast, hosted by Jeff Marek and Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, Friedman opined that the Bruins are not only still trying to bring back potential unrestricted free agent Tyler Bertuzzi but that fellow Bruins forward and potential UFA Garnet Hathaway is in their plans as well.
“We’ve talked about how Boston would like to keep Bertuzzi; I think they’d also like to keep Hathaway,” Friedman told Marek. “That’s another guy I think they really want to keep. I heard Sweeney’s burning up the phone lines. I think he’s got some interesting stuff going on.”
In addition to Bertuzzi and Hathaway, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney’s other trade deadline acquisition, Dmitry Orlov, and five other Bruins – including team captain Patrice Bergeron and veteran center David Krejci – are set to become unrestricted free agents. Sweeney also has three restricted free agents, goalie Jeremy Swayman and forwards Trent Frederic and Jakub Lauko, to sign.
Per Puckpedia, the Bruins will have just $4.162 million in salary cap space to work with once the NHL free agent market opens on July 1. Making matters even worse, Dmitry Orlov is already on record as saying he’s excited to hit the unrestricted free agent market for the first time just before he turns 32 on July 23, and a trusted NHL source recently told Boston Hockey Now this on Bertuzzi’s plans for his first stab at unrestricted free agency:
“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. 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.”
However, with Friedman saying Sweeney is ‘burning up the phone lines to facilitate trades that will free up cap space to sign the aforementioned players, multiple sources continued to confirm and echo that to Boston Hockey Now early Wednesday evening. Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark, defensemen Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort, and forward Taylor Hall are still common names being bantered about in the increasing NHL trade chatter.