The Boston Bruins may have missed out on Ilya Kovalchuk, but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is not packing it in for the summer. Instead, Sweeney and the B's are going all in on the largest prize of the free agent market: John Tavares.
The Bruins are even believed to be among the group of five teams that will get a face-to-face with Tavares in Los Angeles later this week as part of the league's free agent courting process, too, according to The Athletic's Arthur Staple.
Tavares list just about finalized, it appears.
Leafs, Sharks, Stars are in, as mentioned a couple days ago. Believe the Bruins are in as well.
Canadiens and Vegas not on the list as of now.#Isles will get in there too, of course.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) June 25, 2018
It's not often that a true mega-star hits the open market, and the Bruins' involvement in any sort of contract talks speaks volumes. The fact that they are 'believed' to be among the five teams granted a meeting with the Islander captain, too, means that they do indeed have a legitimate chance of signing No. 91 should he hit the open market on July 1.
There's still no way of knowing if Tavares will indeed hit the open market, of course, as he has been offered an eight-year, $88 million extension from the Islanders. It's also worth noting that the Islanders are the only team that can offer Tavares an eight-year deal, too, while the Bruins and other teams he's meeting with can only offer seven years.
The 27-year-old Tavares recorded 37 goals and 84 points in 82 games last season, and has hit the 30-goal plateau four different times in his NHL career. Overall, Tavares has 272 goals and 621 points in 669 NHL games.
Barring a re-signing this week, the Bruins will enter their meeting with Tavares with $11.9 million in cap space.
UPDATE: The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun confirmed on Monday that the Bruins are among five teams that will meet with Tavares at the Los Angeles headquarters of the Creative Artists Agency, which also represents Bruins winger David Pastrnak, among many other big-name NHL stars.