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An Old And A New Free Agent Target For The Bruins

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NHL free agency

The Boston Bruins are poised to use NHL free agency and the NHL trade market this offseason to improve their center depth.

As reported here on more than one occasion this past season, the Bruins tried to acquire center Elias Lindholm. They engaged in NHL trade talks with the Calgary Flames before the Flames traded the 29-year-old center to the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 1, and then again with the Canucks leading into the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline. The common belief now is that with upwards of $20.5 million expected in salary cap space, the Bruins will once again pursue the 6-foot-1, 202-pound pivot who finished the 2023-24 regular season with 15 goals and 29 assists (combined with the Flames and Canucks) while playing 75 games. He then had five goals and five assists in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

“We talked about Elias Lindholm, and how he’s a player they liked before he got traded to Vancouver,” Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman said on the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast when speaking about the Bruins offseason plans in NHL Free Agency.

However, Friedman suggested another potential Bruins center solution in NHL free agency: Vegas Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson.

“So I am expecting them to be in on him if he hits the market. Someone else said to me — throw Chandler Stephenson’s name in there. I think there are a lot of people expecting that Stephenson will be on Boston’s radar. People definitely believe Boston is going to get a center.

When the Bruins say they’re going to do something, they tend to do it. And they tend to attract good players to them because they’re generally a very well-run organization. So I think there’s — whether it’s Lindholm or Stephenson or somebody we’re missing right now. There’s definitely a belief Boston is going to do something here down the middle as they have promised.”

Stephenson, 30, had 16 goals and 35 assists in 75 regular season games this past season. The 6-foot, 209-pound center had just one assist in the Knights’ seven-game series loss to the Dallas Stars in the first round. However, he was a pivotal player in their run to the 2023 Stanley Cup last spring when he had ten goals and 10 assists in 22 playoff games.

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