by Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards
After a less than eventful free agency period for the Boston Bruins, there is still time in this offseason to explore trades that may work to fill some holes and provide much needed veteran depth. Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney has said that there will not be any major free agent signings by the team but did indicate that trades are still possible. There have been rumblings about a potential swap for Florida defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. The Panthers and Bruins have been trade partners before as Boston sent Reilly Smith and the rights to Marc Savard to Florida for Jimmy Hayes in 2015 and in 2018 traded Frank Vatrano for the Panthers 2018 third-round pick, which turned into prospect Jakub Lauko.
So, with Jake Virtanen signing a two year deal with a $2.55 million AAV, is that somewhat comparable for Jake DeBrusk?— Dominic Tiano (@dominictiano) October 22, 2020
One team that appears to be a match in trade possibilities is the Minnesota Wild. The Wild have just $2.7 million in cap space and could be looking to unload a contract or two to create more roster flexibility. The Wild general manager is former Bruin Billy Guerin, and the two teams have made a deal recently with the Bruins sending prospect Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick to Minnesota for Charlie Coyle, a trade that has benefitted Boston greatly. Coyle has since re-signed with Boston, and the Weymouth, Massachusetts native has been an excellent third-line center. This might be a good time for the teams to revisit trade talks to help the Wild shed money and help the Bruins acquire more scoring depth.
Any trade made by the two teams is contingent upon the Bruins not being able to re-sign restricted free agent left wing Jake DeBrusk. There has not been much talk about negotiations between the player and the team since it was reported that DeBrusk might be seeking at least $5 million per year annually. With only roughly $6.65 million to spend and the status of unrestricted free agent captain Zdeno Chara still in limbo, it is not a guarantee that the club will re-sign DeBrusk. In this case, Minnesota may be a good fit in the trade as we take a look at the possibilities.
One trade target for Boston could be former Bruin Marcus Johansson, who performed very well on a line with Coyle in the 2019 playoffs. Jojo is a free agent after the 2020-21 season and carries a salary-cap hit of $4.5 million. The 30-year-old winger is six years older than DeBrusk, but maybe an added draft pick from Minnesota might seal the deal. Johansson does have a modified no-trade clause, but you would think that a trade back to Boston would be ideal for Landskrona, Sweden native. Another Swede could also be a good fit for Boston. Center Victor Rask is 27 years old and has two years left on a $4 million per year deal. Rask is not a big goal scorer but could provide some center depth for Boston.
Marcus Johansson, acquired by MIN, is a bottom six two-way forward with a good shot who’s nothing special at either end. Probably not actually below-replacement at even strength (weighed down heavily by special teams) but not very good either. #mnwild pic.twitter.com/QSO0EXpZMT— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) September 16, 2020
A very intriguing player could be winger Kevin Fiala, who scored 23 goals last season in Minnesota. Fiala is a restricted free agent after next season and could be a good swap for DeBrusk and a trade that would give Boston a chance to re-sign him next offseason. The 2014 first-rounder would help to replace DeBrusk as a second-line winger for David Krejci or potentially play with Patrice Bergeron on the first line. In order to make this trade, the Bruins might need to add some draft capital or a prospect.
It has been a fairly quiet and somewhat frustrating offseason for the Boston Bruins and particularly their fans. The Bruins added forward Craig Smith in a deal that many consider one of the best of the offseason in the league. But it seems that fans expected more from Sweeney and the Bruins. If the Bruins seek more, then maybe the Wild can satisfy their needs.