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Examining Bruins-Coyle trade rumors, Krug speculation

Matt Kalman
December 12, 2018 - 2:45 pm

Rumors about the Bruins’ interest in Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle surfaced a couple weeks ago in The Athletic. Pierre LeBrun on Tuesday went on TSN’s Insider Trading segment to again say that the Bruins have “kicked the tires” on acquiring the 26-year-old Weymouth, Massachusetts native.

LeBrun then said he doesn’t know if this is something that’s imminent. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to that there is nothing imminent on this front but that Coyle is a name that has come up in talks with the Bruins.

Wild general manager Paul Fenton is in his first season there and he’s taken a “wait and see” approach, as described by LeBrun (see link to video above), to reworking the roster. It's been widely reported tha the Wild are shopping for speed. When Minnesota’s ready to pull the trigger on a trade, they’d obviously be interested in one of the Bruins’ young, fast forwards – a group that includes wings Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork, and might include center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. The Wild might be looking for a shakeup but they’re not ready to trade for futures because they expect to compete for the playoffs this season.

Coyle would give the Bruins the experience and size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) they covet to complete their top-six forward group, plus he's versatile enough to play center and wing. He’s signed for a team-friendly $3.2 million cap hit for this season and next, but then becomes an unrestricted free agent. So essentially he could become a two-year rental because of the raise he’d eventually be seeking and the Bruins’ obligations to re-sign restricted free agents like Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and DeBrusk in the seasons ahead.

Coyle has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 14 games this season and had 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 66 games last year. His career-high point total of 56 came in 82 games in 2016-17.

The verdict in this space is that with the exception of DeBrusk, the Bruins should definitely consider moving one of their less-proven forwards in order to further bulk up their top six or nine with the addition of Coyle. (New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes remains the ideal addition, but he’s headed to unrestricted free agency this summer and will definitely have a higher asking price in a trade).

*A recent article in the Boston Globe about trading Torey Krug to Edmonton for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was clearly marked as “speculation.” But in our modern media environment anything that gets published by a reputable source gets taken as more than speculation, so social media and radio airwaves were filled with discussion about the pros and cons of such a deal.

Rather than delve into whether it would make sense for the Bruins to make such a trade, I’ll just tell you that a source with knowledge of the situation Tuesday confirmed that Krug has Edmonton on his eight-team no-trade list.

No-trade lists are sometimes waived, but that’s a hurdle it would be tough to see the Bruins clearing considering Krug negotiated that clause into his contract and has never shown anything but love for being in Boston and being a Bruin.

It’s going to be difficult for the Bruins to retain Krug and his $5.25 million cap hit through the end of next season because of the aforementioned RFA extensions they have to do and the raise Krug will want after 2019-20. But it doesn’t appear he’ll be heading to McDavid Country anytime soon.

Related: Kalman: Why Bruins’ new ‘best line in hockey’ should stay together