With a critical offseason ahead for the Boston Bruins, Don Sweeney made his first big move of the offseason. Word broke that Taylor Hall has been traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in a salary dump for the Bruins, with two RFA defensemen coming to the Bruins.
Hall was due $6 million in 2023-2024 and 2024-2025, the last two seasons of a four-year deal he signed before 2021-2022. The Blackhawks were not a team on Hall’s no-trade list, so he did not have to waive his trade protection.
In his second full season in Boston, Hall scored 16 goals and had 20 assists over 61 regular season games, getting injured just before the trade deadline and being transferred to LTIR when the Bruins acquired Tyler Bertuzzi. Hall had a big playoff run for the Bruins, scoring five goals with three assists in seven games, an unbelievably short run for the Bruins after setting the NHL wins record.
An interesting wrinkle is the inclusion of Nick Foligno in the trade. Foligno was a pending UFA following the second year of his two-year contract, with $3.8 million coming off the Bruins’ books. Until July 1, the Blackhawks get exclusive negotiating rights with Foligno.
The Boston Bruins have traded Taylor Hall to the Chicago Blackhawks
It seemed unlikely he was going to re-sign in Boston after Jakub Lauko had a solid run with the team and Garnet Hathaway played well after being traded for. Darren Dreger reported that the Blackhawks are hopeful they can sign Foligno prior to free agency opening.
As for the return the Bruins got? That would be two right-handed defensemen in Mitchell and Alec Regula. The Bruins are thinner on the right side of their defense, especially with Dmitry Orlov and Connor Clifton set to hit the open market.
Both Mitchell and Regula have NHL experience, with Mitchell having played 82 games over parts of three seasons and Regula having 22 over parts of three seasons. Something worth noting is that Mitchell was coached by Jim Montgomery at Denver. As for his play on the ice?
Well, that’s not great. Granted, it’s a sample size of 82 games. He had one goal and seven assists last season and has four goals and 12 assists at the NHL level. Mitchell will most likely spend the majority of the season with the Providence Bruins, which will be his age 25 season. He’s going to be an RFA on July 1.
Regula is also in a similar boat as Mitchell, as he will also be an RFA coming off his entry-level contract. Regula is a bit younger, as he’ll turn 23 in August. He has one goal and no assists in a cup of coffee at the NHL. He’s also someone who will spend his time this year in Providence further developing his game.
All in all, this is a good trade for the Bruins. Offloading $6 million in cap space is a big deal, and with Tyler Bertuzzi also going to be a UFA, this gives the Bruins the needed money to bring him back. After all, Bertuzzi and Hall are both middle-six wingers with the ability to jump to the top six.
In Mitchell and Regula, the Bruins get two young defensemen that, if developed correctly, can help the NHL team when needed. It’s about to be a busy offseason for the Bruins, this was just the first domino to fall.