Could NHL trade talks between the Boston Bruins reignite in the near future?
According to Sportsnet Flames and NHL Insider Eric Francis, all contract extension talks between the Flames and potential 2024 unrestricted and restricted free agents are on hold. That includes center Elias Lindholm and defenseman and Norwood, MA native Noah Hanifin, whom the Bruins have expressed interest in on the NHL trade market. According to Francis, the Flames are going into a retool, and that means the NHL betting odds on Lindholm or Hanifin being traded will increase again.
“Not a tear-it-down rebuild as most are clamoring for, but a significant re-tooling that would almost certainly involve trading the aforementioned Flames pillars,” Francis explained.
Even with injuries starting to mount and the Boston Bruins set to be without their best defenseman, Charlie McAvoy, for the next four games, don’t expect Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to go shopping on the NHL trade market just yet, let alone big-game hunting for NHL trade targets like Lindholm and Hanifin. Sweeney, like plenty of other NHL GMs, are, is up against the salary cap at $687,500 in cap space per PuckPedia. If not for Milan Lucic being on long-term injury reserve, the Bruins would be just $187,500 under the salary cap.
Lindholm is in the final season of a six-year, $29.1 million contract with a $4.8 million salary cap hit. Meanwhile, Hanifin is in the final season of a six-year, $29.7 million contract with a $4.95 million salary cap hit. Needless to say, unless Sweeney and Flames GM Craig Conroy ($1.3 in cap space) were doing as close to a money-for-money trade as you can, there just doesn’t seem to be a fit on the NHL trade market between them right now, and frankly at least until the days leading into the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline.
The other issue is, like with most major NHL trade talks involving the Bruins, the Bruins don’t have the first-round draft picks and blue-chip prospects needed to pull off such a trade without sacrificing a key roster player in addition to a top prospect like center Matt Poitras or defenseman Mason Lohrei. That’s not happening, so for now, it’s at least worth Sweeney monitoring the Flames’ messy situation, but unless he can fix his own, the NHL betting lines on the long-bantered about Hanifin homecoming or Lindholm becoming the Bruins’ top center are low.