Nick Goss

Five teams Bruins should call to trade contracts, create salary cap space

The Bruins have very little salary cap space, but there are ways to free up some room.


The 2023 NHL offseason will be full of tough decisions for the Boston Bruins, and that likely will include deciding which player(s) to trade away in an effort to create much-needed salary cap space.

The Bruins have over 10 players eligible for unrestricted or restricted free agency this summer, and they only have a little less than $5 million in cap space to work with, per CapFriendly.

Trading away a couple players, and maybe even buying out one or two, would open more cap room and give general manager Don Sweeney a little more flexibility to re-sign some of his own free agents.

Last month, we looked at five players the Bruins could consider trading to free up cap space. Now we'll look at five teams that could be trade partners with the B's (this list is not based on any reporting). All salary info is via CapFriendly.

Chicago Blackhawks

This is an obvious one for the simple fact that Chicago has the second-most salary cap space in the league right now at about $37.6 million. It wasn't too long ago that the Blackhawks appeared headed for a rebuild, but winning the draft lottery in May and earning the right to select can't-miss prospect Connor Bedard with the No. 1 overall pick has probably changed the situation in Chicago. It would be foolish to label them as contenders in Year 1 with Bedard, but they are much closer to being a playoff team if Bedard is the real deal.

Bedard projects to be a superstar center, but he needs good wingers who can take advantage of his elite playmaking ability. The Blackhawks have lost some pretty good wingers in recent years, including Artemi Panarin, Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane.

Could the Bruins work out a deal where Taylor Hall goes to the Blackhawks? Hall has been a very good player for the B's, but with a $6 million cap hit through 2024-25, moving his salary would give the Bruins some much-needed breathing room under the cap. Hall has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he has some leverage. If the Bruins aren't able to work out an extension with Jake DeBrusk, who can become a UFA next summer, maybe a deal with the Blackhawks is possible. The Bruins should absolutely try to re-sign DeBrusk, but they also cannot afford to lose him for nothing.

The Blackhawks also have just four defensemen under contract for 2023-24. Would they be interested in Derek Forbort ($3 million cap hit) or Matt Grzelcyk ($3.68 million cap hit)?

The Bruins should at least give the Blackhawks a call and see if some sort of deal can be made given Chicago's abundance of cap space.

Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes have acquired contracts from teams close to the salary cap for years. Arizona hasn't made much of an effort to win for most of its existence, and the team's current roster is yet another example.

The Coyotes have a little more than $27 million in cap space -- the fifth-most in the league. How much salary does Arizona want to take on? Probably not a ton, but if you're the Bruins, it's worth making the call to the Coyotes.

One potential roadblock for any team looking to make a deal with the Coyotes is whether the players involved would veto a trade to Arizona using the no-trade or no-movement clause in their contract. The Coyotes, who currently play in a college-sized arena, are not a popular destination for players.

Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks have the most cap space of any team with about $39 million in room.

Anaheim needs depth on the blue line. The Ducks have just three defensemen signed for next season. The Bruins have a surplus of d-men on their roster, so there could be a match there.

The Bruins have also made several trades with the Ducks in recent years, so both sides should have plenty of knowledge about each other's NHL rosters and prospect pools.

The B's acquired defenseman Hampus Lindholm from the Ducks before the trade deadline in 2022. Boston was able to get Anaheim to take John Moore's burdensome contract as part of that deal. The Bruins also dumped David Backes' awful contract on the Ducks in February of 2020, but it cost Boston a first-round draft pick as part of the package. A few days after the Backes trade, the Bruins and Ducks made another deal that sent forward Nick Ritchie to Boston.

Seattle Kraken

The Kraken have a little more than $20 million in cap space and just four defensemen under contract for next season. They could use some toughness and physicality on the back end. Seattle also finished 21st in penalty killing last season. Would they be interested in Forbort, who is an excellent penalty killer, blocks shots and plays tough defensive minutes? It's worth exploring for the Bruins.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins have around $20 million in cap space and could use another goal scorer on the wing to play alongside Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

Pittsburgh's goalie situation is a mess, too. Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith are the two netminders on the NHL roster and neither one inspires much confidence, especially in the playoffs. Less-than-stellar goaltending was a huge weakness for Pittsburgh in its last two postseason runs. Would the Penguins be interested in Linus Ullmark? The likely Vezina Trophy winner has a $5 million cap hit through 2024-25. He also has a 16-team no-trade list for the upcoming season. His value probably will never be higher, even after his lackluster performance in the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

If the Penguins are still trying to squeeze whatever is left from the Crosby/Malkin/Kris Letang core, maybe they would be interested in adding a few veterans, and the Bruins have plenty of those.

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