The Skate Podcast: Bruins should pay to trade Backes in order to keep Johansson

WEEI
July 03, 2019 - 7:00 am

This week’s edition of the all-new The Skate Podcast came on the heels of the Bruins making only minor additions at the opening of free agency on July 1.

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But co-hosts Ken Laird and Matt Kalman still had plenty to talk about, especially since David Backes is still a $6 million albatross on the Bruins’ salary cap and unrestricted free agent Marcus Johansson went unsigned on the first day of the market being open.

Laird wants general manager Don Sweeney to do whatever it takes to ship Backes out sooner rather than later. The Bruins will have to add a sweetener and maybe retain some of the cap hit, but then they can keep Johansson or find a replacement for him. If the Bruins have to wait to replace Johansson, they’re going to have to pay a steep price during the season.

“Six million dollars is significant with the cap not going up as much as people thought. And if you don’t get Johansson or somebody like him, you’re in the same spot again at the trade deadline, you’re going to give up another second and whatever for another rental,” Laird said. “Now you’re trading a first for a four-year player and a proven commodity, you saw him work with Coyle, who’s staying.”

Kalman thinks that whether Backes is here or not, there might be a chance Johansson stays. Why else wouldn’t he have signed on the first two days of free agency?

“By the same token Johansson didn’t sign anywhere. So Sweeney alluded to this, I don’t want to just echo what he said, but is there a reason he’s hedging his bets? Is he thinking … well, they obviously have a ballpark figure, is he thinking ‘well if I can’t $4 million over a five or six years in Boston, is that better than five or six years I might not be as happy?’ Somewhere I don’t fit, somewhere they want to ask you to be a second-line wing,” Kalman said.

You can hear all the talk about the Bruins’ current situation, plus a quick recap of some of the key additions made by the Bruins’ rivals, by listening to the entire episode here:

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