There is no way of sugarcoating it; this past weekend was a disappointment for all Bruins fans. People were expecting the Bruins to make a move for defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and/or Cam Fowler. Unfortunately, similar to last year, the Bruins kept their picks and, at times, overreached in drafting prospects. Nevertheless, the reported asking prices were a king's ransom, so perhaps Bruins GM Don Sweeney made the right call?
Nevertheless, the Bruins and their fans were ignited with a sense of optimism when former Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton joined TSN1050 in Toronto Monday morning to talk about this upcoming offseason. Of course, one of the most prized players to ever hit free agency, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was a hot topic of conversation, but when Lawton revealed his top three teams to sign Stamkos, one stood out to me in particular.
The 26-year-old is expected to gauge interest from anyone that has the available cap room, but his former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, are expected to have the most likely chance to sign the Canadian Center.
Over the weekend, Sweeney made it clear that the Bruins were going to make a serious run at Stamkos (along with Milan Lucic, kind of bizarre), and we all know that they have the available cap space to do so. While the Bruins have their own free agents in the not-so-distant future that they need to re-sign, most notably Brad Marchand, they could and should make a serious run at Stamkos, even if negotiations approach $10-$12 million per year.
While many may consider this a pipe dream, it is important to remember the events that transpired in 2013 when Steven Stamkos injured himself playing against the Boston Bruins. Stamkos was rushed to the hospital and was visited by none other than Bruins head coach Claude Julien after the game, which, admittedly, meant a lot to Stamkos. Additionally, Julien coached Stamkos in international competition, as they were both members of Team Canada.
There is no reason for Stamkos to leave Tampa Bay unless he just wants a change of scenery. With Toronto building a good, young core, but still not being ready to threaten for a playoff spot, the Bruins could make all the sense in the world. If the Bruins were somehow able to land Stamkos, that would make David Krejci expendable, as he is not worth ~$7 million a year to be a third line center. Trade Krejci for some help on defense, and you are instantly one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Could the Bruins be hanging around with Claude Julien in hopes that he will be able to entice Steven Stamkos? Only time will tell.