BUFFALO — As of 12:01 am. Saturday, NHL clubs were able to talk to any and all free agents, the start of the so-called "open window'' leading up to the official start of free agency on July 1.
Asked specifically if he would talk to ex-Bruin Milan Lucic and Steven Stamkos, two of the bigger UFA names, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney for the most part kept to his standard party line: i.e. he'll explore all possibilities, talk to anyone, consider all options.
Sweeney was slightly more forthcoming about Lucic, the 28-year-old power forward whom the Bruins dealt to Los Angeles a year ago, while retaining a healthy portion of his multimillion-dollar salary.
"The city would embrace [Lucic], the organization has great respect for him,'' said Sweeney. "There is no question we would explore all players.''
The rumor mill, which ran at warp speed much of draft week, had the Flames among the clubs most interested in acquiring Lucic. The same rumor mill had the Flames also trying to unload former Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman, whose name popped up prior to the trade deadline as a possible fit in Boston. When he was suspended for decking an on-ice official, Wideman's name disappeared from all trade talk.
Wideman, 33, has one year left on his deal, at $6 million for 2016-17. His game is often trick or treat, but his puck skills cannot be denied. If the Flames were interested in retaining, say, one-half or one-third of his pay, it's possible the Bruins would reacquire him essentially as a one-year rental, allowing some of their younger D-men, including a top college prospect in Charlie McAvoy, another season to get NHL-ready.
After selecting defenseman Ryan Lindgren in Round 2, the Bruins were dormant until their two picks in Round 5.
They dealt away their third-round pick at this year's trade deadline to acquire defenseman John-Michael Liles from Carolina and they flipped their four-rounder to New Jersey for defenseman Lee Stempniak.
A little 'bandy'
Lindgren was sporting a large bruise across the bridge of his nose, compliments of his weekly Tuesday night game of bandy back home in Minnesota. His brother, Habs goalie Charlie Lindgren, also suits up for the weekly recreation.
"A European game on ice,'' said Lindgren, explaining the game to a bandy-clueless media group. "Just a fun 4-on-4 game.''
A number of NHL players in the area, including LA defenseman Jamie McBain, play in the bandy league, said Lindgren.
BC's Fitzgerald to Sabres
Boston College back liner Casey Fitzgerald, son of former Bruin Tom Fitzgerald, was chosen in the third round (No. 86) by Buffalo, much to the delight of the hometown Sabres crowd.
BC winger Ryan Fitzgerald, Casey's older brother, is a Bruins draft pick (No. 120 in 2013) and is slated to return to the Heights for his senior season in 2016-17. If Casey makes the jump to the NHL one day, he would join former BU Terrier Jack Eichel on the Sabres.
The day's most interesting trade had Florida dishing former first-round pick Dmitry Kulikov (No. 14 in 2009) to the Sabres for defensive prospect Mark Pysyk and a swap of draft picks. Kulikov will help the Sabres back line, if only for one year, given that he will earn $4.5 million in 2016-17 prior to reaching unrestricted free agency next summer.
Kulikov figured to be more of an offensive force (thus his $4.5 million), but that has yet to materialize. He scored only once last season in 74 games (1-16—17), and with his free agency approaching, the Panthers lost their appetite for potentially giving him a pay boost after next season.