By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins were rumored to be in the running for Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin. But now they may be in a bidding war with, of all teams, the Canadiens.
The Habs made the first blockbuster of the 2017 NHL offseason on Thursday, acquiring winger Jonathan Drouin and a conditional 2018 sixth-round pick from the Lightning in exchange for top defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional 2018 second-round pick. They followed that up with signing Drouin to a six-year, $33 million extension.
But Montreal may not be done, as the Drouin trade came amid rumors that center Alex Galchenyuk may be on his way out. TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted on Wednesday that the Canadiens are “listening” to trade offers for Galchenyuk, the third overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. The team’s long-term commitment to the newly acquired Drouin – himself the third overall pick, in 2013 – could certainly make Galchenyuk expendable.
Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reported on Thursday night that the Wild have received some “quality” trade offers that involve two of their young defensemen: Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba. The Bruins have already been linked to the Wild in trade talks for Brodin, but could the Canadiens be turning this into a bidding war?
Russo added that the Wild have shown “great interest” in Galchenyuk in a potential trade. Moving either Brodin or Dumba would certainly be prudent for the Wild, who are already expected to protect blue liners Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon in next Wednesday’s expansion draft, leaving just one open defensive spot.
However, further complicating things for the Wild is that they also have decisions to make as far as which forwards they want to protect in the expansion draft. They are forced to protect Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Jason Pominville due to their no-movement clauses. That leaves four protection slots to use between Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, and veteran Eric Staal. Adding Galchenyuk to this mix would only make their decision harder, which may make a trade with the Bruins more attractive.
Don Sweeney doesn’t have an NHL-ready asset the caliber of Galchenyuk that he’s willing to deal for Brodin, but he could very well package the Bruins’ 2018 first-round pick. Plenty of theoretical packages have also included Ryan Spooner, but that feels more like wishful thinking that the Wild would take Spooner off the Bruins’ hands when they already have a deep group of protectable young forwards.
Ultimately, the Canadiens would present the most valuable trade asset in Galchenyuk. But the Bruins may be able to send the Wild a package that would make more sense for them ahead of the expansion draft. Either way, it appears that the Bruins and Canadiens (and maybe others) could be in an arms race to acquire Brodin.
A Bruins-Wild trade could go down before Saturday afternoon’s trade and waiver freeze. Stay tuned.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.