NHL Trade Rumors – 20 Sep 14

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Johnny Boychuk - Boston Bruins

What will the Bruins do about Johnny Boychuk?

–  The Boston Bruins as we all know, are above the team salary cap. And for each team who are found above the salary cap, they must get under by season’s start. That is the case for the Boston Bruins and for the Chicago Blackhawks. So for both teams they need to take care of business in a very near future.

Johnny Boychuk - Boston Bruins
Courtesy – Michael Miller

As of now, the Boston Bruins are above the salary cap by approximately $810,000. One way they can get under is by placing center Marc Savard (4.03 million cap hit) who has never really recovered from a severe concussion. The Bruins can place Savard on long term injured reserve which will enable the Bruins to get under.

The twist in this story is that it will not be enough for the Bruins to re-sign restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith. Recently in the Boston Herald’s writer and columnist Steve Conroy did report that general manager Peter Chiarelli will need to part ways with one of his nine NHL defenceman.

In  a recent column, CBC Elliot Friedman did mention that in order “to go younger” with Krug and Smith, Chiarelli will need to move defenceman Matt Bartkowski (1.25 million cap hit) and defence pillar Johnny Boychuk (3.37 million cap hit). Friedman is stating the Bruins would love to hang on to Boychuk and take another stab at the Stanley Cup until Krug and Smith are deemed mature and ready for lot of minutes. Hee also mentioned that Bruins and the Oilers did discuss Boychuk but nothing panned out of those discussions. The Oilers already have in their ranks a former Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference.

In moving Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins would free sufficient cap space to resign Krug and Smith and provide a decent return. He currently holds a
modified no-trade clause which expired at the end of last season. This expiration allows the Bruins to trade Boychuk anywhere without his consent. He is available to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, so the time to trade Boychuk may be sooner than by the trade deadline in March 15.

Friedman also stated that sending Johnny Boychuk away will weaken the Boston bruins defence corps. Zdeno Chara is not any younger, Dennis Seidenberg may not have the legs he used to, after being sidelined with a severe knee injury and Adam McQuaid was frequently sidelined last year. Adding the work horse load on young prospect Douggie Hamilton may be a bit early while Torey Krug is more reliable for his offensive talent than his defensive skills.

Although Johnny Boychuk would love to resign with the Bruins, they may not be able to accommodate him since they will have only 11 players signed at a total of 54 million dollars in 2015-16. the cap is due to go then and it may work out but Chiarelli will need to get creative and soon. Boychuk’s preference is to re-sign with the Bruins. But as they currently have more than $54 million invested in only 11 players for 2015-16, it could prove difficult keeping him off the UFA market. Retaining Boychuk for this season, however, gives Chiarelli time to consider his options for re-signing the defenseman.

Bouillon one last try with the Montreal Canadiens

When Francis Bouillon accepted the invitation from the Montreal Canadiens management, he only had one thing in mind – make the team. Invited to their training camp with no contract in his back pocket is nothing new for the soon to be 39 years old defenceman. This is how he started his career ago with the Canadiens. All he did after all is listen to his heart. He will not have any grudges against the team that gave him his first chance if it doesn’t work this year.

«It’s the story of my life”, he said on Friday at the Habs training camp. “I started my career here, and it looks like it will end here in the same manner, by being invited. I am familiar with this situation and I am Ok with it.” And if no other team come calling this year, there are teams where Bouillon could end up playing for, but in Switzerland.

“There are three or four teams in the Elite Swiss League who did inquire on whether or not I’d be interested in playing for them if it didn’t work out this year in the NHL. There is even one team willing to wait until October to see if I will join their ranks.” In the meantime, Francis Bouillon is ready for last fight and that is to win a job on the Montreal Canadiens roster.

With the emergence of prospects Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, Greg Pateryn and the resigning of Mike Weaver and the acquisition of Tom Gilbert in the summer, not too many positions are up for grab, and Bouillon is well aware. His role would be strictly as a seventh defenceman and also a mentor for the younger blueliners.

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