Bruins Acquire Pavel Zacha from the Devils for Eric Haula

In a surprise (?) move, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney sent Eric Haula to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Pavel Zacha. Interesting enough, both can play center or left wing.

The move clears Haula’s $2.375 million cap hit from the books. However, Zacha is a restricted free agent with arbitration attached after receiving his qualifying offer from the Devils yesterday. His qualifying offer was $3 million.

So why make this deal? First of all, they are selling high on Haula. Secondly, they are taking a chance that a change of scenery is all Zacha needs.

If you wish to assume Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are returning, and everything is pointing in that direction, the Bruins will have 24 players on one-way contracts with Zacha and Jack Studnicka pointing in that direction as well. If that is the case, that brings them to 26 contracts. Chris Wagner will likely be headed to Providence again unless Sweeney can find a trade for him. If the Bruins don’t want to risk losing Studnicka to waivers, Greer will likely be the odd man sent down.

They’d still be okay to start the season with Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk and Brad Marchand to start out on IR (or LTIR). But once everyone is healthy, they need to move out a body. With the injuries to the blueline to start, it likely won’t be Mike Reilly as they are left with 6 NHL defencemen. Jack Ahcan may be ready to take a step up to start, but we don’t know what Jakub Zboril will be like to start the season after recovering from surgery.

The glut as I see it is on left wing if that’s where Zacha ends up playing. Jake DeBrusk is already forced to play on his off side. The most obvious answer is to try and move Nick Foligno but at what cost?

Arbitration opens up a second buyout window for teams going to arbitration, in this case Zacha. But the second buyout window can only be used on players earning more than $4 million. So we know the Bruins won’t be utilizing that option.  

Sweeney was also busy inking 5 unrestricted free agents.

PlayerPrevious ClubYearsContractCap Hit
A.J. GreerNew Jersey2One-way762,500
Dan RenoufDetroit2Two-way762,500
Connor CarrickNew Jersey1Two-way750,000
Keith KinkaidRangers1Two-way750,000
Vinni LetieriAnaheim1Two-way750,000

Greer is a 6’3” and 210 pounds, 25-year-old left winger with 47 NHL games under his belt. The one-way contract likely means Anton Blidh will not be returning – although I’m not sure many people thought he would be based on some of the public comments Blidh made earlier in the offseason.

Renouf stands 6’3” and weighs in at 200-pounds. The 28-year-old defender has 23 games of NHL experience and is Providence bound. The P-Bruins needed some maturity on the blueline to help bring along the youngsters.

Carrick is a 28-year-old right shot defenceman who comes in at 5’11” and 192 pounds. With McAvoy having had surgery and will miss the first two months of the season, the right side is weak and the Bruins don’t have a whole lot of depth there. Carrick is a veteran of 241 NHL games.

Kinkaid is an interesting yet a required signing by the Bruins. If something where to happen to Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark, the Bruins didn’t have anyone with NHL experience to fill in. Kinkaid gives them that third NHL option.

Letieri is a 27-year-old center who stands 5’11” and 185 pounds. He has 82 NHL games under his belt. He showed some promise in his rookie pro season with the Rangers and the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL but was never able to put it altogether at the NHL level after that although he did well in the AHL. He did show some form with the Anaheim Ducks last season.

Things are getting crowded in Providence.

Published by Dominic Tiano

Following the Ontario Hockey League players eligible for the NHL Draft. I provide season-long stats, updates and player profiles as well as draft rankings.

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