NHL writer lists Bruins as potential team for Nazem Kadri originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If Bergeron decides not to return, the Bruins will be faced with the tough task of finding a replacement for their top center.
According to Greg Wyshynski of ESPN, Boston has a chance of acquiring center Nazem Kadri during free agency, adding solid depth to the Bruins.
If Kadri is waiting for certain teams to clear cap space for him, then he has to keep an eye on the Bruins as he would be a great addition to their lineup. Last season, he tallied 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) in 71 regular season games with an additional 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 16 playoff games.
The Bruins have $4,758,333 in salary cap space right now. It is difficult to gauge if the Bruins would actually have room for Kadri without knowing Bergeron and Krejci’s futures with the team. Boston is set to enter salary arbitration this summer with center Pavel Zacha, which further complicates the situation.
Kadri’s last contract was a six-year, $4.5 million AAV deal. Money will be tight, but general manager Don Sweeney could get creative.
Players such as Charlie McAvoy, Brad Marchand, and Matt Grzelcyck could be placed on the long-term injury reserve which would free up a total of $19,312,500 AAV. The Bruins would have to be cap compliant at the time of activating any of the three players.
Sweeney could buy out Nick Foligno ($3.8 million AAV for one more season) or utilize performance bonuses for potential contracts with Bergeron and Krejci similar to Zdeno Chara’s last contract with the Bruins in order to make room for Kadri.
In recent years, the Bruins have relied on Marchand as the team’s aggressor. With Marchand set to miss a chunk of the season, Kadri’s competitive spirit could help the Bruins contend in the Eastern Conference.
While Kadri could help the Bruins fill some potential holes in their lineup, the 6-foot, 192-pound center has a storied past with the Bruins. During the 2019 playoffs, Kadri was suspended for four games after cross-checking Jake DeBrusk in the head. The bad blood between Kadri and DeBrusk is just another reason the deal is unlikely.
With Bergeron and Krejci rumored to return and the re-signing of center Jack Studnicka, it seems unlikely that Kadri is headed to Boston. Who will the Bruins top two centers be for the 2022-23 season? The uncertainty remains. Fans will continue to wait for official announcements about Bergeron and Krejci.