UPDATE (5:30 PM): Well, scratch two of the names below off the list!
Okay...OEL and Garland for Beagle, Eriksson, Roussel a 1st tonight, a 2nd (next year) and a 7th. ARIZ retains 12 per cent of OEL salary— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 23, 2021
Draft Day is here, and with it come plenty of swirling trade rumors across the entire league.
Jack Eichel might be dealt! Seattle might make a bunch of deals! Carolina needs a goalie!
It would appear, at least according to one reporter, that the Bruins are active on the trade front as well:
There has been continued dialogue between the Coyotes and Bruins this week, with multiple players names out there, including some Bruins prospects. I’m curious if they get to the finish line. BOS has been linked to several AZ players.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 23, 2021
You’ll remember, of course, that the Bruins and Coyotes were linked in the off-season, last season, and pretty much every season to an interest in Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Coyotes, so it could be that.
However, there have also been reports that the Bruins are interested in acquiring Conor Garland, a wing who is a pending restricted free agent.
Garland, 25, is coming off of a year where he had 39 points in 48 games, equaling his total from the previous season (in which he played 68 games).
It’s worth noting that trade rumors are as ever-present as mosquitoes in the summer when we’re this close to the NHL Draft, so don’t go crazy.
The Coyotes seem to be in financial trouble pretty frequently, and are likely looking to shed some salary. They’re also stockpiling draft picks so far this offseason (they currently have 4 second-round picks next year).
Who on the Coyotes may be enticing to the Bruins?
Conor Garland - 25, LW/RW Garland is a Massachusetts native, which automatically rockets him up the Bruins’ priority list. He’s had a solid last few seasons playing for a not great Coyotes team, and appears in line to command a decent raise. He’s also a player who has pretty strong analytics numbers, and could probably flourish with more talent around him. On the Bruins, he’d like slot in on the third line somewhere, depending on what the B’s do with guys like Jake DeBrusk, Nick Ritchie, and Ondrej Kase. Contract status: None, pending RFA
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - 30, D Here we go again, back on the OEL merry-go-round! Ekman-Larsson, the Coyotes’ captain, has been linked with the Bruins for years. He’s a left defenseman, and while he isn’t the player he once was, he’d still make the Bruins’ defense corps better. But...that contract. Woof. Ekman-Larsson carries a cap hit of $8.25 million through 2027. 2027! Given that the Coyotes aren’t really flush with cash, it’s hard to imagine they’d be willing to eat enough of that salary to make a deal palatable to the B’s. In that case, the Bruins would be wise to steer clear. Sure, he’s decent — but that contract has the potential to hamstring the team for years. Contract status: $8,250,000 AAV, signed through 2026-2027
Darcy Kuemper - 31, G
Kuemper could end up being an intriguing back-up/platoon option for the Bruins.
With Tuukka Rask out for months (if he ever comes back) and Jaroslav Halak moving on, the B’s are likely to bring in a veteran netminder to offer some support to Jeremy Swayman and Dan Vladar.
Kuemper is a solid goalie, but he had a down year last year (2.56 GAA/.907 sv% vs. 2.22 GAA/.928 sv% the year before).
He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after next season, so it wouldn’t need to be a long-term thing.
He has a cap hit of $4.5 million next season, which is a bit steep for a platoon goalie; however, the B’s may agree to take it on if it’s part of a larger deal.
Contract status: $4,500,000 AAV, signed through 2021-2022
Phil Kessel - 33, RW
This one might be a bit of a stretch, but stranger things have happened!
Kessel is firmly on the back-nine of his career, but remains an impressively productive player: he’s recorded 20+ goals in all but one of the last five seasons, including 20 in 56 games for Arizona last year.
Could he be a palatable 3RW/PP guy for the Bruins? Maybe in a vacuum, but he also carries a pretty steep cap hit ($6.8 million).
Again, unless the Bruins are taking on salary as part of a larger deal, this probably doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Still, it’d be a good excuse to dust off that old jersey from 2009...
Contract status: $6,800,000 AAV, signed through 2021-2022
Christian Dvorak - 25, LW
Thanks to savebyryder in the comments:
Follow up on AZ chatter: The Coyotes are very engaged in trade talks involving F Christian Dvorak. Multiple teams, including Boston, in the mix.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 23, 2021
Dvorak is a 25-year-old center/left wing. He had 17 goals last year and 18 the year before that.
He could be an option at LW if the Bruins elect to move on from Jake DeBrusk, but I’m not sure where he fits at center — the B’s are set at 3C, and he’s not good enough to replace David Krejci (unless the B’s are thinking of promoting Coyle and need a 3C).
Contract status: $4,450,000 AAV, signed through 2024-2025.
What would the Coyotes want?
Picks and prospects, probably.
If you look at their roster, the Coyotes are about as far from “win now” mode as they can be.
They also don’t have their first-round pick this season due to violations of the league’s combine testing policy a couple years ago.
With that in mind, you’d have to think the Coyotes would love to get back into the first round of what’s a pretty deep draft.
Arizona also has just four defensemen under contract right now (per CapFriendly), so they may be interested in a young defenseman or defense prospect.
I guess we’ll see what happens tonight!
It’s safe to say there’s a decent chance this is all just rumor and innuendo, but if there’s a deal in the works, who would you like to see come in from Arizona?