The Boston Bruins appear to be finished with the free agent market, but there are still holes to fill, meaning there’s a good chance a trade is on the horizon.

That will likely have to wait until they sign their restricted free agents, the trio of Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen. With just over $10 million in salary cap space to keep them all, there’s a salary crunch.

There’s been plenty of speculation about how the Bruins might use a trade or two to build their roster for the next season and beyond. Much of the conversation revolves around Torey Krug, and clearing the final year of his $5.2 million cap hit off the books.

Boston is plenty deep on the blue line, especially after extending Connor Clifton for three more years.

Krug, though, was an integral part of the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup finals as a top four defenseman and the quarterback of the power play. General Manager Don Sweeney has said it would take something big in return to trade him.

The other player potentially on the move is David Backes.

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Boston didn’t buy out Backes, who counts $6 million against the cap for the next two seasons. He didn’t play the final three games in the Stanley Cup finals, and his future with the team seems bleak.

The Bruins would have saved only $1.3 million if they bought him out, so they opted to keep him. But given how some teams around the league have been able to ship out bad contracts, there is a glimmer of hope for finding the right deal.

The Maple Leafs dumped Patrick Marleau’s contract to Carolina before the Hurricanes bought him out, but had to attach a conditional first-round pick to the deal.

Since the Bruins still have needs that went unaddressed in free agency, the door is wide open to acquire talent from somewhere else in the league.

One possible target is the Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, a pending RFA who wants – and probably needs – to get out of Edmonton. The 6-foot-4 former fourth overall pick checks a lot of boxes for the Bruins, and the Oilers should be motivated to deal him.

Puljujarvi is a right wing, too, so he might stand out as a low-risk trade target with the ultimate high reward in a new spot.

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Edmonton has just $3 million in projected cap space as well, so that could take some juggling, and it might not even be the exact move in which the Bruins are interested.

It’s at least a blueprint of the type of action that may happen this summer. Whether they’re done with free agency beyond their own restricted free agents or not, there’s still work to be done.

MAPLE LEAFS: Toronto signed two of its newest acquisitions to contract extensions.

Defenseman Cody Ceci agreed to a one-year extension for $4.5 million, while forward Alex Kerfoot was locked up for four more years with an average annual value of $3.5 million.

Ceci was acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators on Monday, while Kerfoot came over in a deal with the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. Both were restricted free agents.

CANADIENS: Montreal began using the money it won’t be paying Sebastian Aho by signing former Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot to a $10.5 million, three-year contract.

Montreal had signed Aho to a $42.7 million, five-year offer sheet, but Carolina intends to match that contract and keep its best player.

The 28-year-old Chiarot will count $3.5 million against the salary cap in each of the next three seasons.


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