As the Boston Bruins continue to seek additional skill at the center position, another potential candidate might enter the NHL trade market after the holiday roster freeze is lifted. A reliable source within the NHL has informed Boston Hockey Now that the Chicago Blackhawks are indicating their readiness to trade center Tyler Johnson. The 33-year-old, 5-foot-8, 185-pound player is in the final season of a seven-year, $35 million cap hit, with a remaining salary cap hit of $2,005,209 this season. Johnson has contributed seven goals and four assists in 34 games this season.
Having won consecutive Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021, Johnson was traded to the Blackhawks in July 2021. In his first two seasons with Chicago, injuries limited his playing time, but he managed 56 games last season, tallying 12 goals and 20 assists. Johnson’s most prolific NHL season was in 2014-15 when he scored 29 goals and had 43 assists, helping the Lightning reach the Stanley Cup Final.
In the context of the Bruins’ ongoing pursuit of center Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames, insiders believe Lindholm may be traded before the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. While the Bruins are interested, they face challenges due to the lack of a 2024 first-round pick and competition from other teams, including the Colorado Avalanche.
The Bruins’ trade prospects for Lindholm are further complicated by their lack of a 2024 second or third-round pick. Despite these challenges, the Bruins are likely to be linked to available centers in the trade market. However, it remains uncertain if Johnson, with his Stanley Cup pedigree and experience, would be a suitable backup option for the Bruins, considering his size and playing style at this stage of his career. Nevertheless, the Bruins seem poised to explore various center options as they address their need for more depth in the position.