By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
General manager Don Sweeney and the Bruins are not in on top-pairing defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
But when it comes to the other top talents of a depressed free agent market, such as Taylor Hall (who was mentioned by name in the question thrown Sweeney’s way), the Bruins are very much seeing what may come of their discussions.
“In regards to other players, we’re certainly gauging the interest on both sides of it and seeing what we can potentially fit in,” Sweeney said. “We’re comfortable having conversations with the remaining free agents that we feel would help our club.”
Hall is on the open market 2019-20 season split between New Jersey and Arizona, with Hall scoring 16 goals and 52 points in 65 games, and is reportedly willing to consider multiple options. While there’s the obvious chance for a long-term deal, the 28-year-old Hall is reportedly open to a short-term deal with a chance to compete for a Stanley Cup. The Avalanche and Bruins are two teams that have been mentioned when it comes to the latter, while it’s believed that the Blue Jackets, Canadiens, and Predators would also be in the mix for the 2017-18 Hart Trophy winner.
A short-term deal will still come with a significant payday for Hall (sounds like it could be for anywhere from $7.5 to $8.5 million per year), however, and the Bruins are certainly cognizant of what that price may mean.
“You’re seeing good players in the National Hockey League that aren’t getting the same type of value from an acquisition standpoint,” Sweeney noted. “I think, of course, everyone would like to have [financial flexibility]. But at other times when you have to make the right deal and put a player in, you lose some of that flexibility. That’s always the tradeoff.”
The Bruins, who re-signed Kevan Miller to a one-year deal worth up to $2 million and added forward Craig Smith on a three-year deal worth over $9 million, have over $11 million in available cap space. That’s with unrestricted free agent Zdeno Chara‘s status up in the air, and with restricted free agents Matt Grzelcyk and Jake DeBrusk in need of new deals.
“Safe to say, you better have the cap space or have the ability to create it,” said Sweeney.
Listen to Ty Anderson and Matt Dolloff discuss the latest with the Bruins in free agency and the trade market in the latest episode of the Sports Hub Sidelines podcast: