The Boston Bruins have begun what everyone in and around the NHL expects will be a series of salary cap space-clearing moves on the NHL trade market.
In what can only be described as a salary cap dump, the Boston Bruins were able to unload winger Taylor Hall and his $6 million cap hit in each of the next two seasons on Monday. The Bruins traded Hall and the rights to 35-year-old unrestricted free agent-to-be Nick Foligno to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defensemen Alec Regula and Ian Mitchell.
Per PuckPedia, the Boston Bruins cleared $6 million off their salary cap hit, and per PuckPedia, they now have $10.9M in projected cap space with 14 players on the roster (6F/7D/1G).
Per a trusted NHL source on Monday night, the Boston Bruins aren’t close to being done wheeling and dealing with creating even more salary cap space.
“Donny’s just getting going,” the source – who works for a team that has engaged in NHL trade talks with the Bruins – told Boston Hockey Now. “He’s going to move a d-man, and all that [Linus] Ullmark stuff you’ve been reporting is true.”
What multiple NHL insiders and myself have been reporting is that due to the salary cap crunch Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is facing, and given the need to sign Linus Ullmark’s Jennings Trophy partner Jeremy Swayman, Sweeney will be forced to choose between one or the other. Numerous NHL sources have repeatedly told BHN that if and when Sweeney decides to move a goalie, it will be Linus Ullmark and his $5 million cap hit that the Bruins are on the hook for in each of the next two seasons. Plenty of those sources believe that will happen before NHL free agency begins on Saturday.
Another Boston Bruins player that could be on the move on the NHL trade market this week is defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. Grzelcyk is entering the final season of a four-year, $14.7 million contract ($3.6M AAV), and according to one NHL source on Monday afternoon, there has been ‘no shortage’ of NHL trade suitors for the 29-year-old Charlestown, MA native who has no trade or movement protection.
Numerous reports, including some here, have stated that the Boston Bruins have made bringing back 2023 NHL trade deadline acquisition Tyler Bertuzzi a priority. That is still the case for Sweeney and the Bruins, but the aforementioned source also thinks Sweeney will eventually use the NHL trade market to improve his roster and not just use it to clear salary cap space.
“I think [Sweeney] is going to bring in outside help, too,” the source said. “He may be the busiest GM in the league the next few weeks.”