It’s certainly been a frustrating few days for Bruins fans as general manager Don Sweeney and company haven’t done much since the beginning of free agency on Friday.
The Bruins were in on trade negotiations until the end for Coyotes’ captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson who ultimately decided to remain with the Coyotes.
They reportedly were one of the finalists to sign newest Sabres forward Taylor Hall who opted for a one-year deal instead of the reported three-years the Bruins offered.
Being in on the bigger available names is great and all, but none of it really matters if nothing comes from it.
I understand that the Bruins—like many others—were waiting for the Hall shoe to drop before continuing with their business, and that’s just fine. But since Hall shocked the hockey universe by signing in Buffalo, Sweeney and the Bruins have been MIA.
With Torey Krug departing for St. Louis the Bruins have a need on the left side of their blue line. A need that could have been filled by a Devon Toews who was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for two second-round picks.
Nate Schmidt was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a third-round pick. Schmidt is another left-shot defenseman who would have helped the Bruins fill the void left by Krug.
The Bruins lone attempt to better their blue line has been by re-signing Kevan Miller to a one-year contract. As much as I like Miller and it seems his teammates do too, no thank you. There’s just not a need for Miller.
While I do like the Craig Smith signing and he does help improve the Bruins five-on-five scoring issues, it’s simply not enough for a Bruins team that has a very small window to win a Stanley Cup with their current aging core.
Some have speculated that Sweeney has been giving an “internal cap” by owner Jeremey Jacobs. This comes after the Bruins parent company Delaware North was forced to cut 14% of Buffalo-area full time jobs thanks to revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As much as that would make sense, I don’t really buy it.
The Bruins currently sit about $11M under the salary cap. With RFA’s Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk to sign, the Bruins should land somewhere around $3-$4M under the cap after signing the two. That doesn’t really sound like an internal cap to me.
With Krug gone, Zdeno Chara still an UFA, Miller back in the mix and Smith now on board, the Bruins aren’t any better than they were a season ago. In fact, they’re worse off. That doesn’t sit well with Bruins fans after seeing the Tampa Bay Lightning and their young talented core bulldoze the Bruins en route to a Stanley Cup.
Now sure, the offseason is not over yet and there are some names left that could certainly improve the Bruins, but many other teams are in a similar boat as the Bruins, likely inflating prices on some of the remaining free agents.
According to Frank Seravelli of TSN
the Bruins are one of the teams most interested in free agent Mike Hoffman.
"He can be had on that one-year deal and the teams that are most interested at this point in the No. 5 free agent available on our board this year would be the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators," Seravelli said. "But other teams like the Habs, like the Canucks, could be in the mix if they're able to move pieces."
Another player the Bruins are in on…
More bad news struck yesterday as the Bruins announced that David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy all had offseason surgeries.
On September 16 Pastrnak underwent right hip arthroscopy surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery in approximately five months from the date of surgery.
Marchand underwent a sports hernia repair on September 14 and is expected to make a full recovery in approximately four months from the date of surgery.
McAvoy underwent a right knee arthroscopy on September 8 and has already been cleared to resume normal offseason activities.
While the news on McAvoy is good, should the season begin on the targeted date of January 1, the Bruins could be without Pastrnak and Marchand to start the season.
Oh how fun.
*Updated 1:17 PM 10/14
Minutes after posting the blog, the Bruins announced a trio of signings.
Jakub Zboril: Two-year contract with a cap hit of $725K
Greg McKegg: One-year contract with a cap hit of $700K
Callum Booth: One-year contract with a cap hit of $700K
Nothing to see here...