The Boston Bruins would be interested in a reunion with forward Milan Lucic and plan to try to negotiate with forward Steven Stamkos, general manager Don Sweeney told CSN New England on Saturday.
Lucic, of the Los Angeles Kings, and Stamkos, of the Tampa Bay Lightning, each can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Lucic played for Boston from 2007-2015.
"There are a lot of coveted ones (free agents) on the market, and we will make all of the calls," Sweeney said. "It's everybody. The city would embrace it, and the organization has great respect for [Lucic]. So there's no question that we would explore all players."
That includes Stamkos, who is expected to be the most coveted free agent if he does not sign with the Lightning before noon ET on July 1. Boston has about $21 million in NHL salary-cap space, according to the report. The salary cap will be $73 million next season.
Teams were allowed to speak to possible free agents starting Saturday.
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"The interview period has already begun, and we were on the phone today with players that we had targeted," Sweeney said without identifying the players. "It was our first opportunity to speak with them, and see if things line up. It will play out over the next few days and we will be aggressive about it because we want to improve.
The report said Sweeney "was adamant that the Bruins would make all the necessary exploratory phone calls when specifically asked about both Stamkos and Lucic."
Lucic, 28, played this season with the Kings, and after saying numerous times he wanted to stay with Los Angeles reportedly said this week he would enter free agency. He had 20 goals and 35 assists in 81 games.
Stamkos, 26, had 36 goals and 28 assists in 77 games this season, his eighth with Tampa Bay.