Just when the Boston Bruins need to explore the NHL trade market for a center, the market has settled down.
NHL sources have confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that while Bruins GM Don Sweeney is still open to hitting the NHL trade market to find a replacement for longtime second line center David Krejci, the market has simply gone stale over the last five days. The timing couldn’t be worse for Sweeney and the Bruins after Krejci announced last Friday, that he was moving on from the Bruins and the NHL. For now, it appears the Bruins will slot Charlie Coyle in that 2C spot.
“I think the obvious choice is Charlie Coyle,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told the media on Thursday. “He’s familiar with our guys and I’m familiar with him. That’s the way we’re leaning and we’ll see how the other pieces shake out.”
It was well known that Krejci was at a crossroads in his life and that him moving back to the Czech Republic was a very real possibility.
“I talked to my parents, and they asked me. I can’t even give them a straight answer,” Krejci said when addressing his future back on June 12. “I just don’t know right now. I just don’t know.”
With that in mind, Sweeney was aggressive on the NHL trade market at the NHL Draft and leading into NHL free agency. One NHL source has confirmed that while, as numerous outlets reported, the Bruins and Coyotes had serious trade talks involving Coyotes center, Christian Dvorak, two weeks ago, those talks have hit a bit of a stalemate. There has been chatter for a while that Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Jakub Zboril are players the Bruins are willing to trade to snag a center on the NHL trade market, but this source could not say if that was specific to the Dvorak talks.
DeBrusk is entering the final season of a two-year contract that carries a $3.6 million cap hit and Zboril is also heading into the final season of a two-year deal with a $725,000 cap hit. The Coyotes currently have $7.4 million in cap space but considering how much cap space Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has been willingly absorbing on the NHL trade market over the last month, neither DeBrusk’s nor Zboril’s cap hits would be an issue. The question is, is Armstrong interested in either?
DeBrusk is coming off a difficult season that had the 24-year-old winger that the Bruins drafted 14th overall in their infamous showing at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
“I’ve been struggling. It’s not fun when you’re struggling,” DeBrusk said back on May 6 just prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “You try to find little positives and things like that and move on from there. It’s not the end of the world. Obviously, I’d like to do a lot more with what I can do, but at the same time, it obviously hasn’t been meant for me. I understand that my time will come. Like I said earlier, just trying to stay positive. But yeah, the game’s not fun when you’re struggling, man.”
DeBrusk had five goals and nine assists in 41 regular season games and two goals and one helper in ten playoff games.
Zboril was taken one pick before DeBrusk at that the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and in his first full season in the NHL, he had nine assists in 42 regular season games.