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Off the Record: Bruins ‘All In’ in Trade Market; NJ Targets Canucks Star (+)



NHL Trade

The feel around the NHL is that the Boston Bruins will be “all in” to help Patrice Bergeron at or before the NHL trade deadline.

Could the New Jersey Devils add another Hughes?

The NHL trade market is ready to pick up, but sudden uncertainty over the projected salary cap for the 2023-24 season and beyond has created a holding pattern.

Off the Record is back on the National Hockey Now network:

1. Bruins ready to strike.

It has been reported numerous times by yours truly on Boston Hockey Now that the Boston Bruins have looked into what it may cost to acquire future Hall of Famer and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane before the March 3 trade deadline. Those reports have continuously been confirmed here, but the Bruins trade inquiries have not bee limited to Kane, o,r for that matter, playoff rentals.

Off the record:

“Their goal has always been to win one more for Bergeron,” a trusted NHL source told Off The Record recently. “But I know they’re exploring all sorts of trade options. Make no mistake, they would love to make a trade and prove to ‘Pasta’ (David Pastrnak) they’re not heading into a rebuild after this season. They think they can win now and keep winning.”

2. Could the Devils score a Hughes hat trick? 

On Dec. 17, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman reported that forward Elias Pettersson was the only untouchable on the Vancouver Canucks. Multiple NHL sources have since confirmed that report to still be true. So as the March 3 deadline comes into focus in the next two months, that at least means the Canucks are willing to listen on potential franchise defenseman Quinn Hughes.

“I don’t think that the Canucks really want to do that or are anywhere close to doing it,” an NHL executive source told OTR recently. “I do think it’s getting to that point that they will listen, though. They are really re-thinking things.”



Off the record: That statement prompted yours truly to look into what teams could make a major push for the 23-year-old Hughes, who has one goal and 29 assists in 31 games. Of course the New Jersey Devils, with Quinn’s brother, Jack, already their best player on their roster, and his other brother, Luke, a top prospect, were an instant topic of conversation. A Hughes hat trick would be epic for the Devils, but can it really happen?

“You bet it can,” said another top-ranking NHL source. “Tom [Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald] already has that in target and he’s got the goods to make it happen.”

3. ‘It’s gonna get ugly’

Color this puck scribe as not so surprised and full of regret recently. When Gary Bettman indicated to the Board of Governors in October that the NHL salary cap was going to increase by potentially $3-4 million, one of my most trusted NHL sources was baffled.

“This doesn’t make sense,” he said at the time. “None of this matches up with what owners are telling me.”

This source has a long-standing working and personal relationship with Commissioner Bettman, so as you can imagine, this came as an ominous surprise. However, mistakenly,  I didn’t follow up. Fast forward to earlier this month, and Bettman went into backtrack mode and projected only a $1 million increase for the 2023-24 salary cap. He then put the onus on the players and left the door open for a bigger cap increase if the players’ escrow balance from the pandemic and revised CBA in 2020 could be paid off.

Well, lets just say that not only has the NHLPA been seething since Bettman essentially threw them under the bus for the mistaken projections, but plenty of NHL general managers are as well.

Off the record

“It’s gonna get ugly,” the aforementioned top NHL source told OTR. “This has really set plenty of teams backwards in their plans. It’s a complete logjam with player movement. Meanwhile owners are pressing hard if their team is a contender, but GM’s can’t do anything. I still don’t understand why Gary said [the NHL salary cap] was going to go that high, but even worse why some owners let their GM’s believe it.”

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With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN,, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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