ESPN Floats ‘Pipe Dream’ Free Agency Target For Bruins This Offseason

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The Boston Bruins have several internal questions to answer after being bounced from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time in three seasons.

All, more or less, fall under the same umbrella: Can the B’s make another deep run with the current core?

ESPN previewed the NHL offseason for eliminated teams, looking at how they might approach free agency, trades and the upcoming draft. Greg Wyshynski believes the Bruins should “stay the course, but tinker,” largely because Boston won the Presidents’ Trophy for posting the league’s best regular-season record before the COVID-19 pause and has enough salary-cap space to augment its roster in the coming months.

“Reading too much into the results of ‘bubble hockey’ can be at one’s own peril,” Wyshynski wrote in a piece published on ESPN.com. “Taking another crack at it with the aging core next season — Patrice Bergeron (35), David Krejci (34), Brad Marchand (32) and Zdeno Chara (43, assuming he’s back) — is a given, based on that success.”

So, what exactly does “taking another crack at it” entail?

Obviously, the Bruins will need to figure out whether to re-sign Chara and/or Torey Krug — both free agents — while also making sure Tuukka Rask is in a good place to return to the ice.

After that, it’s all about searching for upgrades, and Wyshynski floated a very interesting “pipe dream” while speculating on what might lie ahead for team president Cam Neely, general manager Don Sweeney and the rest of Boston’s front office.

“Even with the flat cap, the Bruins will have over $15 million in space with which to play. Some upgrades in speed and toughness would be paramount,” Wyshynski wrote. “Our favorite Bruins pipe dream? That Taylor Hall decides to take a page out of the NBA and chases a Cup for one season in Boston, serving as the talented left wing Sweeney has coveted in his lineup for years.”

Hall, drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010 (one spot ahead of where the Bruins selected Tyler Seguin), is set to become a free agent after spending this season with the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes.

The 28-year-old had a down year, totaling just 16 goals and 36 assists for 52 points in 65 games, and appeared in just 33 games during the 2018-19 season due to a knee injury. But he won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player in 2017-18, a season in which he racked up 39 goals and 54 assists for 93 points with New Jersey.

So, there’s plenty of upside when it comes to the talented forward, especially playing alongside someone like Krejci on Boston’s second line.

The question is whether this “pipe dream” scenario fits the Bruins’ overall vision for their future after a second-round postseason exit one season removed from advancing to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images





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