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Montgomery, Bruins Appear Fine With Zacha-Coyle 1-2 Punch



Boston Bruins

If Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery’s most recent public assessment of his 2023-24 roster is any indication, then the Bruins will feel confident about this upcoming season even if they can’t secure an established No. 1 center on the NHL trade market.

In a recent one-on-one interview with Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, Montgomery expressed extreme confidence in a 1-2 punch of Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle up the middle to start the season. Montgomery really believes in Zacha, who is coming off a season in which he hit career-highs in goals (21), assists (36), and +/- with a plus 26.

“I think [Zacha’s ceiling] is significantly higher,” the reigning Jack Adams Award winner told Conroy. “Not only is he physically prepared, more importantly I believe he’s ready for this mentally for the kind of minutes, the responsibility of having to be played in all situations — which he did really well last year — but they’re going to be more important minutes.”

But I just think he’s mentally ready. He believes that he can do it. That’s the biggest step for a player. I have a lot of confidence that our top two lines will be very good because I believe Charlie Coyle knows he can do the job and will do the job, and Pavel Zacha does too.”

Multiple sources have continually confirmed that the Boston Bruins, at the NHL Draft on through the early stages of NHL free agency, explored trade options for proven top 6 centers such as Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele. One NHL source recently told Boston Hockey Now that if Lindholm became available on the NHL trade market again prior to the season starting, then Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney would ‘circle back’ on the trade ask.

Those same sources also confirmed that they entertained NHL trade discussions for the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Linus Ullmark.

If Montgomery’s comments are any indication, though, it appears the ask has been too high for the desired center and the return too low for Ullmark, and the Bruins were just fine if that was the case.

“In my mind, this is our team,” Montgomery said. “Ever since Krech made it official, we’d been thinking that this would be our team. Honestly, we were preparing this way since mid-June.”




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