The Bruins were a little more than a week away from opening training camp when co-hosts Ken Laird and Matt Kalman recorded the latest edition of The Skate Podcast.
Sunday Skate co-host and CBS Sports hockey expert Pete Blackburn joined the show for a Bruins training camp preview. A lot of the discussion dealt with how Boston is going to get unsigned restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo signed before too much time slips away in camp or even the regular season.
Blackburn had an idea that would probably tick off a lot of people, but might be the Bruins’ best bet if things work out for them.
“Maybe one of these forwards, one of these young guys comes up and impresses you and maybe you feel a bit more comfortable trading a guy like Charlie Coyle, or something like that,” Blackburn said. “And I don’t think that that is necessarily what they want to do. I think that a big reason that they went for Coyle was for that extra year of control, not just a half-season rental. But I mean if you got one of these centers, one of these young centers in the lineup that comes up and impresses and you feel comfortable inserting him into that third-line center role, then you trade Coyle and get one of those defensemen or both of those defensemen signed.”
Coyle has a $3.2 million cap hit and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Weymouth native played his way into being a fan favorite with 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 24 games during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Final last year.
“It’d be interesting, you bring the hometown guy in, while they have the extra year of control. He does his job in the playoffs and has kind of a storybook story, and then you trade him the next year. That would be something,” Kalman said.
Blackburn then reiterated that he knows the move wouldn’t be popular but could be necessary pain for Boston to move on and get its salary cap in order.
“Don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t think that they want to do that and I don’t think a lot of people would be happy about it because he was one of their best forwards in the playoffs last year,” Blackburn said. “You give up a guy like Donato for a half season and you end up having to trade Coyle away just to kind of free up the mess that you made for yourself, that’s certainly not an ideal situation. But if we’re talking about something that they may have to do to get these guys signed, I think that’s a place worth looking.
“And I still say, another place worth looking is trading [goalie Jaroslav> Halak. Because it’s not a ton of money but it’s some money that you could free up. I know he’s been important, he was important last year in lightening the load for Tuukka. But it’s somewhere that you have to look, you’re going to have to bite the bullet somewhere, so free up the money where you can.”