BOSTON — The Boston Bruins might have lost out on the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes this weekend, but Don Sweeney and Co. might have their eyes set on a much bigger prize.

New York Islanders center John Tavares – set to be one of the biggest free agent prizes in league history – is expected to meet with a small group of teams in the days leading up to the start of free agency on July 1.

According to Arthur Staple of The Athletic, the Bruins appear to be on that short list of teams, along with the Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks.

Obviously, adding a franchise player of Tavares’ caliber would be an absurd get for the Bruins, who would have a two-headed monster at center in both Tavares and Patrice Bergeron.

Tavares, the first overall pick of the 2009 NHL draft, is coming off of a 37-goal, 84-point campaign with the Islanders. In 669 games, Tavares has 621 points.

While the Bruins have close to $12 million in cap space this offseason, they would have to shed some significant cash if they wanted to reel in a player like Tavares. Larger contracts for players like David Backes and David Krejci would likely have to be moved .

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