Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports

Wild express interest in Bruins free agent Drew Stafford

Ty Anderson
July 12, 2017 - 1:43 pm

The Bruins have let noteworthy deadline pickup and unrestricted free agent Drew Stafford twist in the wind since the start of free agency. That was to be expected to the case as long as restricted free agent David Pastrnak remained unsigned. And with the Bruins and Pastrnak still without a deal, the 31-year-old Stafford continues to wait.

But now another team has come calling Stafford’s camp with a similar proposal.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher has reached out to Stafford, and there’s mutual interest between the parties if and when Minny takes care of their three restricted free agent forwards (Marcus Foligno, Mikael Granlund, and Nino Niederreiter), and depending on how much cap space is left.

"This has become the typical shift in the NHL after the first few days of free agency," Fletcher told the Star Tribune. "You talk to players, sign a few, then shift to the RFA's. Once that's done, you see where you're at when you have a little better sense of your available cap space. If something's out there now that makes sense, we'd do it. But once the RFA's are done, we can check back in and see if there's a fit out there.”

Acquired from the Jets on deadline day, Stafford seemingly revitalized his offensive game with four goals and eight points in 18 games with the Bruins, and added two goals in six postseason tilts with Boston. A veteran of 725 NHL games between the Sabres, Jets, and Bruins, Stafford has recorded 183 goals and 400 points in his career.

Stafford, a Minnesota native that still calls it home in the offseason, is the father of three young children (his wife gave birth to twins shortly into his tenure with the B’s), so staying local with the Wild would obviously be a plus from a family standpoint.

But it is also worth noting that he’s gone on the record as saying that he liked his fit with the B’s as a middle-six scorer, and that Boston is one of his wife’s favorite cities to visit.

“I loved it here,” Stafford told WEEI.com after his season. “A lot of great guys in this room, everybody made me feel welcomed right off the bat. To help this team get into the playoffs, and to be part of something — it felt like we could of had a longer run, but in the short period of time that I was here with the team, I enjoyed everything.”

Despite his endorsement for another run with the Bruins, and their (likely) need for a veteran scorer to step up in the event that a prospect or two doesn’t pan out for next year’s big club, Stafford’s going to continue to have to wait for a call from the club if Bruins general manager Don Sweeney stays true to his current plan.

“I can’t predict what other teams or other players will do in that regard,” Sweeney admitted of the club’s holding pattern with veteran free agents. “Some of the players we’ve talked to, I don’t know if that timeline identified with them. But, I’ve been consistent, we’re going to deal with our RFA situations and move forward from there.”

The Bruins currently have $12.9 million in cap space and with Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner left to re-sign to NHL deals. 

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