Bruins News & Rumors: Horvat, Pastrnak, Merkley & More

In this latest edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, a prominent NHL insider said that the Bruins “could be the ideal landing spot” for Vancouver Canucks star Bo Horvat. Meanwhile, David Pastrnak‘s agent denied the report that the Bruins and superstar winger are finalizing an eight-year, $88 million extension. In other news, San Jose Sharks prospect Ryan Merkley has requested a trade, and he could be an intriguing target for Boston to consider.

Insider Calls Bruins “Ideal Landing Spot” for Horvat

In a recent piece for Daily Faceoff, NHL insider Frank Seravalli argued that the Bruins’ top objective at the deadline should be to add a center. From there, he named the Bruins as the “ideal landing spot” for Horvat. With the Bruins being at the top of the NHL standings, this is not the first time they have been linked to Horvat. However, when an NHL insider like Seravalli brings up the prospect of it, that naturally should grab the attention of Bruins fans.

Bo Horvat Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

If the Bruins acquired Horvat, they would have a sensational trio of centers that would include him, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci. Horvat could slot beautifully on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall, and that would make Boston’s already-strong offensive group significantly deeper. However, for this move to have any chance of occurring, Boston would likely need to part ways with at least one prospect, an NHL-caliber player, and a first-round pick at a minimum. It’s a hefty price, yes, but it is at least worth considering with Boston having “Stanley Cup or bust” expectations. This is especially so if they can ink Horvat to a long-term extension.

Pastrnak’s Agent Denies Radio Report

Last week (Dec. 31), Rich Keefe of WEEI reported that the Bruins are close to signing David Pastrnak to an eight-year, $88 million contract. Yet, Pastrnak’s agent, JP Barry, has since denied this report and even went on to call it “rubbish.” Yet, he also noted that there has been plenty of dialogue between both sides, so there is still optimism to be had when it comes to a potential Pastrnak extension.

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Realistically, an eight-year, $88 million contract seems just about right for a superstar pending UFA like Pastrnak. As a result, I wouldn’t rule out the chances of a deal like this getting done between both sides before the end of the season. We will have to wait and see whether Keefe’s “rubbish” report ends up coming to fruition from here.

Merkley Could Be Intriguing Target for Bruins

On Tuesday (Jan. 3), Seravalli reported that San Jose Sharks defenseman Ryan Merkley has requested a trade, and the Sharks are aiming to honor it. This trade request is not necessarily too surprising to see, as Merkley has not been given too many opportunities at the NHL level since being drafted in 2018. With that, he has solely played in the American Hockey League (AHL) this season, where he has 14 assists in 30 games with the San Jose Barracuda. Yet, even with his solid offensive statistics, he still has not earned a call-up from the rebuilding Sharks in 2022-23.

Ryan Merkley San Jose Sharks
Ryan Merkley, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With Merkley being a former first-round pick and the Bruins’ prospect pool being weak, it could make sense for them to consider him as a trade target. Although it is unlikely that he would have a spot in Boston’s top six immediately if acquired, he would work well as a depth option for the Bruins’ playoff run. With that, if the change of scenery leads him to take that next step in his development, he could be in the running to make Boston’s top six as soon as next season.

Bruins Win 30th Game of Season

With their 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday (Jan. 5), the Bruins became the first team in the NHL with 30 wins this campaign. That is certainly something to be proud of, but it’s even more impressive when noting that it was only their 38th contest of the season. Needless to say, they have been simply dominant this season, and this accomplishment is only the latest that effectively displays it.

The Bruins will now be playing the San Jose Sharks on Saturday (Jan. 7) and then the Anaheim Ducks the following evening (Jan. 8). Even though both of these teams are rebuilding clubs, it is never easy playing on back-to-back nights. Also, on a side note, it is particularly strange that the Bruins are not playing the Ducks first. Los Angeles is roughly a half an hour away from Anaheim, while San Jose is notably farther. Alas, the NHL schedule makers sometimes make questionable decisions, and this is just another prime example of that. Nevertheless, let’s see if Boston can reach 32 wins by the end of the weekend.

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