In an ideal world, us Hockey fans should be gearing up for the second round of the NHL playoffs, and for us Bruins fans, we should be anticipating a deep playoff run. Unfortunately we are living in a far from ideal world and can barely even leave our houses anymore due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, with the uncertainty of when or if sports will return, I guess it can’t hurt to take a look at what the Bruins offseason could look like per position.
The Bruins were one of the best offensive teams throughout the 2019-2020 regular season. So it should come to B’s fans' delight that they only will have one of their top six forwards as a free agent. Jake DeBrusk should be a higher priority this summer as he will be a restricted free agent this summer. DeBrusk has had a bit of a down season from his first two seasons with 35 points in 65 games played. Due to his struggles at times this year, I’d expect the Bruins to give him a bridge deal so he can prove his worth. My guess is that he would get a two or three year deal worth $2-3 million annually.
DeBrusk has been a solid forward on David Krejci’s left wing, but we’d all like to see him develop a bit more of a scoring touch as Krejci works best with a reliable scorer on his wing. As for free agency, I don’t see the Bruins being too active in signing a marquee forward. Due to a lack of cap space and honestly a lack of a glaring need, I don’t see a reason the Bruins would need another big name forward as their forward group has proven they are good enough to get to a Stanley Cup Final.
This is where it gets interesting. The Bruins will have three defensemen entering free agency this Summer. Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk and captain Zdeno Chara. Grzelcyk will be under team control as he is a restricted free agent, so the Bruins can’t lose him for nothing and by the looks of it, Chara will likely re-sign for another year as he looks like he has a bit more left in the tank.
Krug is a player who will be an unrestricted free agent and will likely get a raise. Krug is arguably a top five offensive defenseman in the entire NHL. Due to his hiccups defensively at times he might not get exactly the kind of money a top tier defenseman would get, but I would expect his worth around the league to be around $7-8 million. However, Krug has publicly on multiple occasions expressed how much he wants to stay in Boston, so I would not be surprised if he took around $5-7 million to stay in Boston.
Although the Bruins have Tuukka Rask, he has shown that he is unsure if he will play after his contract runs out at the end of next season. That brings up Jaroslav Halak; Halak’s contract runs out after this season, but has been exceptional since his arrival in Boston. So could he be a cheaper option to keep as a starter if Rask retires. Halak is a year older than Rask, so retirement could be on the table for Halak as well, but he has never made it known that he is ready to retire. So, if Rask is for sure retiring after next year, maybe keeping Halak for an extra two years could help the Bruins find a new starting goaltender for the future,
Overall, the Bruins don’t have a glaring need. The only problem with the Bruins is that the clock is ticking on some of their best players like Patrice Bergeron, Krejci, Chara and now Rask. So making sure the Bruins take advantage of this one to two year window they have to win a Stanley Cup should be top priority.