Heading into the offseason, it was already known that the Bruins had a lot of work to do and little room to work with.

Even after dealing away Hall and Foligno, Don Sweeney wasn’t done making moves to clear cap space. Just before the start of Free Agency, Mike Reilly was bought out from the last year of his contract, freeing up an extra $2.66m in salary.

As soon as the clock struck noon on July 1st, Sweeney got right to work in the free agent market.

Within the first few hours, Milan Lucic, James van Riemsdyk, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Morgan Geekie had all signed with Boston.

Lucic, JVR, and Shattenkirk figure to fill depth and leadership roles on 1x$1m deals. Geekie signed for 2x$2m and is a big, young, forechecking center who scored 28 points for Seattle last season. He’ll most likely slot into the fourth-line center role.

Former BC captain Patrick Brown also signed with the Bruins on a short deal. Brown projects to be more fourth-line depth and may see more playing time in Providence.

True to his word, Sweeney was unable to re-sign any of the trade deadline acquisitions.

Dmitry Orlov signed with Carolina for 2x$15.5m, Garnet Hathaway went to Philly for 2x$4.75, and Tyler Bertuzzi went to Toronto on a 1x$5.5m.

Bertuzzi’s deal came as a surprise, as it was initially reported he was seeking a long-term contract.

Per Greg Wyshynski, once talks fizzled out with Boston, Bertuzzi went to the market and couldn’t find a deal. By the time he swung back around, Boston had already committed salary elsewhere and couldn’t fit him.

While this was seen as a big miss for Boston, Sweeney couldn’t wait around for Bertuzzi’s pivot.

With cap space already limited, committing $5.5m to one player with key RFAs still unsigned would be a difficult move. Boston has just under $7m in remaining space to sign Swayman, Frederic, and Chicago acquisition Ian Mitchell. All three have filed for salary arbitration but can still negotiate a new deal.

Depending on what arbitration returns, there could be more cap moves required very soon.

Sweeney has plugged the gaps in the lineup as best he could with the resources he had.

On paper, this Bruins team looks to be very reliant on defense and goaltending.
Still a playoff contender but nowhere near the world beaters from last regular season.

Photo: Paul Sancya/AP

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