Bruins GM Don Sweeney gives update on Pavel Zacha's next contract

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Bruins GM Don Sweeney gives update on Pavel Zacha's next contract originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins traded for New Jersey Devils center Pavel Zacha on Wednesday, but there's still one more hurdle to clear before he can get on the ice with his new team.

The 25-year-old forward needs a contract.

Zacha is a restricted free agent because his three-year, $6.75 million deal with the Devils expired after the 2021-22 season.

Pavel Zacha trade: What Bruins fans need to know about versatile forward

What's the latest on the Bruins working out a new contract with Zacha?

"Pavel Zacha was a player who we had targeted in the middle of the ice, a multi-positional type player, younger. I feel there's growth and potential there moving forward. " Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told reporters Wednesday.

"We hope to be able to find a deal to bring him in as part of the organization now and beyond. That remains to be seen, how long that is, but we'll attack that right away. I just felt like it was an opportunity for now and potentially moving forward that we've identified a player who would fit into our age group that we're excited about."

Sweeney later added: "I think he sees himself as a center. He's excited to be joining the Boston Bruins. We're excited to have him. Not really worried about the positional, I think down the road he's a center, so I think that helps us if we're able to find the term and an agreement."

If you look at the Bruins' salary cap situation, it's not going to be easy to sign players.

By trading veteran forward Erik Haula -- and his $2.375 million salary cap hit -- in exchange for Zacha, the Bruins now have $4,758,333 in cap room, per CapFriendly. That's a very small amount of money to sign Zacha, plus Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci -- assuming one or both of those two veteran centers return.

If Zacha wants $3 million per season -- which would be a reasonable ask given his performance the last couple seasons -- that would leave Boston with less than $2 million for Krejci and Bergeron.

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Making a trade or burying Nick Foligno's cap hit in the AHL are two of the best options for Boston to free up cap space. They could also put one of their injured players, such as Brad Marchand or Charlie McAvoy -- on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) to create cap room.

But it's going to be pretty tight, and as a result, Zacha might have to wait a bit before finalizing a contract both sides are comfortable with.