So now what? The Boston Bruins lost out on two of their top targets Saturday Ilya Kovalchuk and defenseman Noah Hanifin. Kovalchuk signed a three-year deal worth $18.75 million with the Los Angeles Kings and Hanifin was dealt from Carolina to Calgary in a multi-player blockbuster involving former Bruins blue liner Dougie Hamilton heading to the Hurricanes.
As a result, the B’s have now shifted their focus to re-signing Rick Nash. They are also reportedly looking outside the organization for a potential scoring winger to play on the second line alongside should Nash negotiations go south.
NHL sources told CLNS Media Saturday night that two names to keep an eye on when it comes to Boston were Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner and Maple Leafs and former UNH standout James van Riemsdyk. The 26 year-old, two-time 30-goal scorer Skinner is a UFA next summer and the 29 year-old van Riemsdyk is a UFA July 1st.
But what about impending prized UFA John Tavares? Tavares’ agent Pat Brisson confirmed to The Athletic and TSN insider Pierre LeBrun on Saturday that Tavares will utilize the free agency interview period this coming week and meet with five interested teams.
Pat Brisson, agent for John Tavares, confirms that his client will use the UFA speaking period to chat with 5 teams
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 23, 2018
An NHL source confirmed to CLNS Media that the Bruins have indeed on more than one occasion reached out to the Tavares camp. However, there was no clear indication whether or not the Bruins are one of those aforementioned five teams. Following the conclusion of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft Saturday Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney played coy with the media about whether the Bruins were in the mix.
Don Sweeney certainly didn’t deny it when I asked if the Bruins were one of the teams planning to talk to John Tavares. Didn’t confirm it either #mystery
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 23, 2018
As for losing out on Kovalchuk, sources told CLNS Media Friday night the Bruins weren’t willing to go beyond two years with the prolific but 35-year old scorer.
“We put ourselves in position to try and be considered,” Sweeney said reacting to Kovalchuk signing with the Kings. “West coast, East coast, you’ll have to ask Ilya what ultimately swing the decision in LA’s favor. We thought it was a good fit and it didn’t work. Ultimately, we’ll move on to the next one. It was certainly something we wanted to look at and felt that if he was considering our team, it was something we could look favorably upon internally. We didn’t get it done so we have to look elsewhere.”
🎥 Don Sweeney recaps 2018 NHL Draft, and also touches on Ilya Kovalchuk, Rick Nash, and his offseason to-do list: pic.twitter.com/7cFDKsDDBY
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 23, 2018