By: Chris Nosek | Follow Me on Twitter @cnosek6342
We all remember that last off-season Sweeney pulled off the one-for-one trade with the New Jersey Devils to bring in Pavel Zacha for Erik Haula. This deal wasn’t difficult because both players would have fit under either team’s salary cap without any other moves required. This year, an exchange like this will be much more difficult for Sweeney because the Bruins have $4.5 million in cap penalties thanks to bonuses paid to Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Jeremy Swayman.
So can trader Donnie acquire someone this year who will help the team on the ice and take up less space under the salary cap? We’ve been told that all options will be explored this off-season, so let’s look at a couple of potential candidates Sweeney could try to pry from other teams via trade.
Ryan Hartman (C/RW) – Minnesota Wild
Pulling Joel Eriksson Ek or Frederick Gaudreau out of Minnesota would be better for any team, but Hartman is the one who could be had the easiest. Eriksson Ek is younger, with five years left on his contract containing a $5.25 million cap hit, while Frederick just signed his five-year contract extension indicating a desire for Bill Guerin to want to keep him around. Hartman is coming off a down year that saw him post 15 goals and 22 assists over 59 games, which could allow Marco Rossi to step up, as the organization is hopeful he will.
The Wild will likely need help on their blue line as Matt Dumba and John Klingberg will hit unrestricted free agency. Dumba has expressed some interest in returning; however, all indications are that Klingberg will look to test the open market again. Should Sweeney be so inclined to move a defenseman like Brandon Carlo, he could help bring a much-needed, young center back to Boston in return.
Adam Henrique (C/LW) – Anaheim Ducks
Another team that could use the services of a seven-year veteran defenseman who is only 26 years old would be the Ducks. Since Carlo is locked up, the Ducks could look at bringing him in to help solidify their blue line with Jamie Drysdale. They also just got awarded the second overall draft pick, which they will likely use on Adam Fanitlli. Adding yet another young, talented forward to the group could see someone like Henrique get bumped further down the lineup.
Should he not want to play down the lineup, Boston should be happy to pair him back up with his former linemate, Taylor Hall. Swapping the player association representatives could also be the starting point for a more significant deal. Pat Verbeek has made it known he will look to move John Gibson and his contract, so maybe you can work out getting Cam Fowler or even your second-round draft pick back as part of the deal.
Radek Faksa (C/LW) – Dallas Stars
After three straight 30-point seasons, Faksa inked himself a 5-year contract to stay in Dallas, which he still has two years left on. Lately, he has been playing on the fourth line. Dallas could use some help along the blue line, like many other teams, and they have a lot of young talent on offense, like Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson, and Wyatt Johnston.
They need more depth on their blue line, and the Bruins have several defensemen, such as Derek Forbort, who could provide that depth. Faksa had his last 30-point season under head coach Jim Montgomery. Monty’s familiarity with a player has already proven beneficial to Boston as he just coached Trent Frederic to a career season statistically and showed more consistency to his game than ever before at the NHL level. Maybe, Monty has some more magic for another former player, not to mention he who would fit in nicely with his fellow Czech countrymen; Jakub Zboril, Jakub Lauoko, Pavel Zacha, and David Pastrnak.
Shane Wright (C) – Seattle Kraken
Alright, Alright. I know; this one sounds ludicrous. Just hear this out, though. Despite getting some of the worst goaltending in the league and inconsistent defense, the Kraken still managed to make it to the conference semi-finals – a far cry from waiting to draft fourth overall. Despite having high hopes for him, Wright spent all but eight games this season down with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL.
Seattle may be willing to part with the former projected number-one draft choice if they can get a couple of players who could help push them over the edge sooner rather than later. Wright would fill the most significant need that the Bruins have once David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron officially hang up their skates.
Boston may be able to part with an elite-level goaltender and a defenseman who could elevate the Kraken to the next level if that fits what they could be looking for in return. Any rumors of Wright being disgruntled would easily be put to bed once he can start feeding David Pastrnak and possibly Brad Marchand pucks.
All four players mentioned above could be close to even swaps or save Sweeney money against the salary cap, depending on what the other team may be looking for in return. Additional names will likely be seen on the rumor mill who could drive Sweeney to do a much more violent shake-up to the lineup than we anticipate. Who are some of those players?
Evgeny Kuznetsov wants out of Washington, and while we know Sweeney can get a complicated deal done with Brian MacClellan, it would take a lot just to fit the Russian centerman’s $7.8 million cap hit to work on the books in Boston. He’d fill the void down the middle for sure, but so could J.T. Miller of the Canucks and Flyers’ Alternate Captain, Kevin Hayes. Despite their very high cap hits, Miller and Hayes have higher upsides than Kuznetsov. Miller is set to start his new eight-year contract next season, while Hayes has two seasons remaining on his.
Being from Massachusetts, Hayes may be willing to take less on his next contract to stay, which will be easier to convince him to do once he’s played in Boston. Hayes is 31 years old, while Miller is 30, and their cap hits are $7.1 million and $8 million, respectively. While any of these three would also be nice, the possibility of getting them is minimal, so let’s all sit back and see what Don Sweeney has up his sleeve this off-season.