Report: Bruins not among teams UFA Marcus Johansson still talking to

Matt Kalman
June 30, 2019 - 2:29 pm

Don Sweeney admitted Friday he couldn’t get into specifics with unrestricted free agent forward Marcus Johansson because the Bruins don’t yet know how much cap space they actually have to spend with restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen in contract limbo.

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So now it appears the inevitable result of the Bruins’ situation is going to happen, and Johansson will be playing elsewhere in 2019-20 and beyond after free agency begins on Monday.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Sunday that Johansson has been speaking to several teams as the free agent interview period wound down later this week, and none of those teams are the Bruins.

A Johansson departure will make yet another hole in the Bruins’ lineup, which was already missing a top-six winger to play on the first or second line (depending on where coach Bruce Cassidy decides to play David Pastrnak).

According to CapFriendly.com, the Bruins have 20 players signed with around $12 million in cap space remaining. That’s almost as much as it will take to sign McAvoy, Carlo and Heinen. Should Cassidy decide that Heinen can be a top-six wing on a regular basis – something Cassidy didn’t think last season – then the Bruins would just be on the lookout for an unrestricted free agent third-line wing, someone along the lines of Garnet Hathaway or Brandon Pirri.

As for the bigger-ticket UFA wings – Mats Zuccarello, Wayne Simmonds, Gustav Nyquist among them – the Bruins would be in the same boat as they are with Johansson.

Still, Sweeney said he intends to add players Monday. So we’ll see what he comes up with and whether he’s willing to factor in the 10-percent cushion NHL teams can use to exceed the salary-cap ceiling in the offseason.

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