NHL Free Agency kicks off today, and while the salary cap is admittedly hamstringing them, the Boston Bruins are still scouring the NHL trade and free agent markets.
The Boston Bruins came into this past week looking to gain salary cap flexibility. They did that by trading winger Taylor Hall ($6M AAV) and buying out defenseman Mike Reilly ($3M AAV) to gain another $2.67 million against the salary cap. However, they only have $13.6 million in cap space to fill with 13 players on the roster (6F/6D/1G).
As has been reported, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is still trying to use the trade market to free up cap space to use on the free agent market, but if possible, also get a body back to fill up their roster.
Here’s the latest buzz we’re hearing on the Bruins as NHL free agency kicks off at noon today:
Bruins Targeting Duchene, Domi
It’s no secret that the Bruins are looking for centers, with the likelihood of Captain Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci not coming back becoming more of a reality daily. Based on the most recent chatter Boston Hockey Now is hearing right now, here are three unrestricted free-agent centers to keep an eye on when it comes to the Bruins in NHL free agency:
Matt Duchene – Before Matt Duchene signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with the Nashville Predators in 2019, Sweeney targeted Duchene on the NHL trade market. Suddenly, after the Predators bought out Duchene on Friday, Sweeney and any other GM interested in the 32-year-old Duchene has a chance at signing Duchene at a much lower price than the $8 million cap hit he was getting with the Predators. After an 86-point (43g, 43a) season in 78 games in 2021-22, Duchene regressed this past season with 22 goals and 34 points in 71 games.
Max Domi – Max Domi, 28, has been on six different teams in the last four seasons, but he seemed to find his game and a home with the Dallas Stars this past season after coming over in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. Domi had two goals and five assists in 20 regular season games with the Stars and then had three goals and ten assists in 19 playoff games. The Stars are trying to keep him, but the Bruins are one of many teams lined up to sign him.
Bruins ‘In The Mix’ For Shattenkirk, Gudas
The Boston Bruins need a right-shot defenseman, and we’re told that two such players they’re ‘in the mix’ for are former Boston University star Kevin Shattenkirk and rugged defenseman Radko Gudas.
Kevin Shattenkirk – The 34-year-old Shattenkirk is on the back nine of his career but could still be a good addition on the third pairing for the Bruins and help the second powerplay unit. The New Rochelle, New York native is coming out of a $11.7 million contract that carried a $3.9 million cap hit. This past season, he had four goals, and 23 assists in 75 games with the Anaheim Ducks.
Radko Gudas – The Bruins were once again reminded in the playoffs that they need more grit on their blue line, so why not go out and sign the players that directly reminded them of that in Radko Gudas? Gudas was a menacing force in the seven-game series upset of the Bruins by the Florida Panthers and throughout the Panthers’ run to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. His playoff performance could put his price a bit higher than expected in NHL free agency but not much higher than the $2.5 million cap hit he had in the last three seasons.