Bruins laying low while Maple Leafs, Lightning eye big-impact acquisitions

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When John Tavares signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney’s disappointed was two-fold. Sweeney missed out on courting the star center, even though they had a chance to try and win him over with a meeting in Los Angeles. Add in the needling fact that Tavares signed with a Bruins rival — a budding Toronto team that nearly pushed them to the brink in Game 7 of the playoffs after the Bruins had taken a 3-1 series lead — and it was a double downer.

“I would’ve preferred it not in our division,” Sweeney said.

The Atlantic Division has quickly transformed into a juggernaut. Tavares has the ability to transform the Maple Leafs into a team with exceptional depth in the middle of their lineup. They’ll be rolling out three heavy lines with centers Auston Matthews, Tavares and Nazem Kadri. That's the type of secondary offensive talent that can constitute a deep run. Tampa Bay is reportedly the team closest on the trail to trading for Senators stud defenseman Erik Karlsson, a move that will enhance a team that's coming off a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals and smothered the Bruins in the second round.

Hear the crickets from Causeway Street? The Bruins dug two hands into the bargain bin during free agency while their counterparts are swinging for the fences.