The Boston Bruins are going to need another top-six center in the very near future, regardless of whether Patrice Bergeron and/or David Krejci retire this offseason.
Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle played well as the top two centers in Games 3 and 4 of last season's first-round playoff series against the Florida Panthers, but you're probably not winning a Stanley Cup if those two guys are your No. 1 and No. 2 centers. Zacha and Coyle are better suited as No. 2 and No. 3 centers, respectively.
So, who could the Bruins target on the trade market to fill a top-six center role?
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Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets is one option. In fact, according to Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the Bruins have expressed interest in Scheifele.
"One player the Bruins are believed to have expressed some interest in is Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele, who is in the final year of his contract and comes with a $6.125 million cap hit," Pagnotta wrote Sunday.
"He also owns a 10-team no-trade clause. Trade talks involving Scheifele has been fairly quiet recently, as teams waiting to see how the free agent market would play out. Boston has limited options and he could be a good fit for a team that currently lacks both a No. 1 and No. 2 center."
Scheifele's future in Winnipeg is uncertain. He's eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, and if he doesn't want to re-sign with the Jets, they would have to trade him to avoid the possibility of losing him for nothing.
The 30-year-old veteran scored a career-high 42 goals last season, and he has averaged 30.4 goals scored over the past eight years. He's also tallied 40-plus assists in four of the past five seasons. Scheifele is a dynamic offensive player and would represent a huge upgrade at center for the Bruins.
He's not as strong defensively as another potential trade target -- Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm -- but he's still someone worth pursuing for the Bruins or any other team in need for a top-six center.
The Bruins are well-positioned to take advantage of next summer's expected increase in the salary cap. Boston is projected to have around $30.8 million in cap space next offseason, per CapFriendly.