Bruins set to target one of these free agents after Taylor Hall picks Sabers


The Boston Bruins have reportedly been part of free end Taylor Hall’s teams, but that is no longer an option for the Original Six club after he signed with the Buffalo Sabers on Sunday confirmed to Pierre LeBrun of TSN that it’s a one-year, $ 8 million contract with the Sabers. It was a surprising decision given Hall’s recent comments about wanting to win and the Sabers being one of the worst teams in the NHL for the past eight years.

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So where are the Bruins going to improve their scoring depth with Hall out of the market?

There are still a few quality wingers available in free agency, with Boston having around $ 12 million in salary cap space.

The upper left wing available is Mike Hoffman. The 30-year-old forward is a consistent goalscorer who has scored more than 20 goals in six consecutive seasons. He averaged 28.2 goals per season during that span and recorded 59 points (29 goals, 30 assists) in 69 games for the Florida Panthers during the 2019-20 campaign.

It’s worth pointing out that a good deal of Hoffman’s offensive production comes on the power play. The Bruins had the second-best power play last season and struggled to score 5-on-5 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Still, Hoffman would be an upgrade on Jake DeBrusk at the second-row left wing next to veteran center David Krejci.

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The other best wingers on the market are mostly straight wings. The Bruins have a greater need on the left wing as they already have David Pastrnak, Ondrej Kase and newly signed Craig Smith on the right side.

Tyler Toffoli is among the best unsigned straight fenders yet. He has four 20-goal seasons since his debut in 2012-13, and he’s also made 54 career playoff games with a 2014 Stanley Cup title as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. Toffoli scored 24 goals last season between the Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. He is also one of the six best caliber wingers available at 28.

Evgenii Dadonov is the other leading right winger in the market. He has scored 25 or more goals in three consecutive seasons for the Panthers. The 31-year-old veteran also scored 11 career power play goals last year.

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Mikael Granlund might be a cheaper option for the B’s. He would bring valuable versatility with his ability to produce on the left and center. He’s a good playmaker and could contribute to the second power play unit. Granlund has just had a disappointing 2019-20 season in which he scored just 30 points (17 goals, 13 assists) in 63 games, so he’s also a potential rebound candidate.

The Bruins could also re-sign left winger Jake DeBrusk. He’s averaged 20 goals over the past three seasons, but he’s frustrating. Boston must also decide to re-sign two of their free agent defenders, Zdeno Chara (UFA) and Matt Grzelcyk (RFA).

There’s no question the Bruins need to improve their top-six group before next season. Secondary scoring was a huge weakness for the B’s in the playoffs, and while Smith’s signing was a great move, it won’t fix that problem for Boston on its own.


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