BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins have had severely limited options in their quest to find a top-pairing defenseman, and one of the most expensive and least likely avenues is restricted free agency. But according to a new report from CSNNE Bruins insider Joe Haggerty, the Bruins are “preparing an offer sheet” for 22-year-old Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba.

Haggerty joined Toucher & Rich Wednesday morning to talk about his report and the possibility of the Bruins possibly signing Trouba to an offer sheet. Due to current rules, the Bruins would have to make an offer with an average annual value over $9.3 million and (here’s the really expensive part) send their next four first-round picks to Winnipeg for Trouba’s services.

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Since the maximum years to divide an offer sheet is five, the Bruins could achieve a $9.8 AAV with a seven-year, $49-million contract for Trouba. Haggerty believes not only that Trouba would be the heir apparent to Zdeno Chara the Bruins really need, the team’s interest in Trouba is real and has existed since he entered the league as a top-ten draft pick in 2012.

“This is a legit, young, top-four defenseman,” said Haggerty. “I’ve also been told throughout the year that the Bruins have really liked [Trouba], have really watched him a lot, and I think they feel like he’s a potential future No. 1 defenseman and he’s got the size and the strength and the offensive skills and the entire package that … he could develop into that kind of player.”

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Although signing Trouba to a lucrative long-term deal and giving up four first-round picks would be an incredibly steep price to pay for Trouba and a huge gamble on the future of the team’s deeply-stocked system of young players, Haggerty says it may be the only way the Bruins could get a defenseman of his caliber in the immediate future and lock him up long-term.

“Frankly … I think [the Bruins] are looking at themselves and they’re seeing a lot of the best free-agent defenseman coming off the board. I think the Bruins are saying to themselves, ‘If we want to get a No. 1 defenseman right now, a young one, the offer sheet route might be the only route that we are able to do that. … It’s not going to happen via trade.”

Haggerty also touches upon the “threat” of the offer sheet and how it may force the Jets to trade him to the Bruins before free agency. Listen to the full podcast below:

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