Brad Marchand has been mentioned as possible trade bait in Boston and his departure would provide the team with much-needed cap space. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Two days after the Boston Bruins’ heartbreaking Stanley Cup final loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe wrote a column that suggested the Bruins should trade Tyler Seguin or Brad Marchand.
Dupont based his opinion on the duo's underwhelming performance in the Cup final and called upon Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to re-examine their expensive contracts and consider moving one of them.
A week later, Seguin was shipped to the Dallas Stars in a multi-player trade.
So when Dupont took to Twitter to say he wouldn't be surprised to see Marchand and/or Chris Kelly traded, Bruins fans took notice.
Though Dupont subsequently stated he wasn't saying the Bruins were shopping the duo, his original “tweet” gave rise to Internet speculation another major trade may be brewing.
If Chiarelli does shop Marchand and/or Kelly, it would free up cap space to re-sign restricted free agent goaltender Tuukka Rask, whose new contract could be worth double last season's $3.5 million salary.
The Bruins currently have about $5.6 million in cap space. They're allowed to exceed the salary cap by 10 percent during the off-season, but must be cap compliant when the new season begins in October.
It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that the team will save roughly $4 million against the cap when it officially puts concussed Marc Savard back on the long-term injured reserve.
Still, the Bruins will have little or no wiggle room for call-ups or other acquisitions during the season.
Chiarelli must also look to the future, as he's believed to be close to re-signing Patrice Bergeron (eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer) to an expensive long-term extension that would begin in 2014-15.
Marchand earns an annual cap hit of $4.5 million through 2016-17, while Kelly makes $3 million per season through 2015-16.
The 25-year-old Marchand has more offensive upside than the 32-year-old Kelly, but the latter carries a more affordable contract with a full no-trade clause, whereas Marchand's is a modified no-trade clause.
If the Bruins shop one or both, they won't want much salary in return. For clubs with cap space seeking a pesky scoring winger or an experienced two-way center, it could be a great opportunity to address those needs at an affordable price.
Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster has been busy rebuilding his roster this summer, shipping Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to Colorado for David Jones and Shane O'Brien and then acquiring Kris Russell from St. Louis.
Feaster acknowledged his roster overhaul isn't finished, telling the Calgary Herald that finding a second-line center “is still the biggest issue.”
The Calgary Sun's Randy Sportak listed six centers the Flames could chase - Chicago's Marcus Kruger, Colorado's Paul Stastny, St. Louis' David Perron, Philadelphia's Sean Couturier, plus free agents Peter Mueller and Damien Brunner.
The best target would be Brunner, though he's reportedly seeking up to $3.5 million per season. Mueller's career was nearly ended by concussions and he's never regained his once-promising form.
As for the others, only Perron is likely to be available, as the Blues could be faced with having to shed salary to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo, Chris Stewart and Jake Allen. Perron carries an average annual salary of $3.8 million and also has a concussion history.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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