Are the Boston Bruins about to become significant players for Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm on the NHL trade market?
With longtime Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron retiring on Tuesday, the Boston Bruins do not have a bonafide No. 1 center. If the season began today, the Bruins would have Pavel Zacha or Charlie Coyle as their No. 1 center. That has led to increased NHL trade speculation that the Bruins will intensify their pursuit to acquire the 28-year Flames center heading into the final season of a six-year contract with a $4.85 million salary cap hit.
Elias Lindholm had 22 goals and 42 assists in 80 games this past season but had a career season in 2021-22 with 42 goals and 40 assists in 82 games. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound pivot was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes fifth overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and has 203 goals and 310 assists in 743 games in the NHL.
Since Bergeron retired on Tuesday, Boston Hockey Now has contacted numerous NHL sources to confirm if Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has contacted Flames GM Craig Conroy about Lindholm. Not one source could do so, but one NHL team hockey operations source, had this to say:
“If the Bruins want Lindholm, likely [Jake] DeBrusk. They don’t want any picks, and the Bruins have none. They want a scoring winger that can make up for [Tyler] Toffoli being traded. There’s probably more that would be in that trade, but DeBrusk would be the target, I think.”
Jake DeBrusk is entering the final season of a two-year, $8 million contract, and following a season in which he scored 27 goals and had 23 assists in 64 games, he could be primed for a big contract year.
On Wednesday, Boston Bruins team President Cam Neely was asked about his team’s center position.
“We know that that’s a position, organizationally, that we need to improve upon,” Neely acknowledged.
"That's a no brainer, really. We'll figure out a time to do that. But he certainly has earned that." — #NHLBruins president Cam Neely on No. 37 heading to the @tdgarden rafters pic.twitter.com/TlAcc8vkFO
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 26, 2023
Neely was then asked if that meant exploring the NHL trade or free agent markets.
“We’ll do whatever we can to bolster that position,” he replied.
He was then pressed on whether or not the Bruins had a plan in place for when Bergeron and fellow center David Krejci finally retired.
“Just the organization, we’ve recognized that our center position was getting older the last few years and ‘Krech’ coming back so. …it’s challenging when you’re competing every year and you give up draft capital,” Neely replied. “So, it’s hard to find those players in the later rounds, but it’s something we have to and we have been focused on.”