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The Bruins are reportedly somehow in the mix for John Tavares

I have no idea how it’s possible, but here we are.

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Here’s a wild one for your Sunday night:


Arthur Staple is going to be about as plugged in as anyone during #TavaresWatch, as he covered the Islanders for Newsday for years before moving to The Athletic. If he’s putting the Bruins’ name out there, he must be hearing it.

The list Staple is referring to is the list of teams Tavares will meet with prior to July 1.

So...does it make sense? Of course, on the surface — every team is interested in adding Tavares. The Islanders captain is an elite talent, great in all three zones. Guys like this don’t hit the free agent market very often.

John Carlson just earned an AAV of $8 million when he signed his extension today. Tavares is miles better than John Carlson, and will likely command north of $10 million per season.

How are the Bruins going to fit that under the cap? They’d have to move David Krejci, David Backes or both.

The Bruins, per Cap Friendly, have almost $12 million in cap space this coming season; however, that doesn’t include a number of RFA/UFA skaters, nor does it include signing a back-up goalie.

Plus, the Bruins need to keep a close eye on their bottom line in order to not create problems in the near future: Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Ryan Donato, Jake DeBrusk and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, among others, are going to need new contracts in the coming years.

Trading Backes would free up $6 million; trading Krejci would free up just north of $7 million.

The problem, of course, is that teams around the league are going to know that the Bruins are trying to clear space. If a team is going to take on Backes’ contract, they’re probably going to want the Bruins’ to retain some salary. Same with Krejci.

I can’t really see how the Bruins would make this work, short of trading Krejci. Backes would clear enough space to make it doable, but Krejci’s spot is likely where Tavares would play. Krejci still has a full NMC, so he’s in control.

My gut is that Tavares ends up back on Long Island, with the Leafs being the second-place contender. Sure, it’d be great to add him to the Bruins, but would require some serious cap finagling to make it happen.

In any case, it’ll be an interesting few days. The Bruins’ pitch to Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t work; are they willing to up the ante for an even bigger fish?

Here's a Monday morning update from Dreger:

So it looks like the Bruins aren't among the teams getting an early meeting with Tavares...unless you believe Pierre LeBrun instead!

Chances are Tavares is going to listen to the first round of pitches before deciding if he wants to hear offers from other groups. The Bruins may or may not be in that first round.

Stay tuned!