Despite August being a relatively quiet off-season period, it’s been a rollercoaster month for the Boston Bruins.
Boston successfully re-signed Jeremy Swayman and Trent Frederic to reasonable contracts.
Fredric signed for two years at $2.3 million prior to arbitration, which is fair value for a bottom-six forward coming off a career-best season. Swayman signed for one year at $3.475 million. Both signed below their initially predicted arbitration numbers and enabled the Bruins to retain a sliver of cap space ($429k) for next season.
A key aspect of Swayman’s deal is that he retains RFA status and could go back to arbitration next year as well. Following the new deal, he said he held “no ill will” against the Bruins brass but did not enjoy the arbitration process either. With significant cap space opening next summer, Boston could move to sign him long-term much sooner.
Both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have chosen to retire.
Their decisions seemed inevitable the longer the offseason dragged on, and both dealt a crushing blow to the Bruins squad and fanbase.
Bergeron’s leadership and generational defensive prowess will be sorely missed on the ice and in the locker room. He has always been regarded as a model citizen not only in Boston but across the entire league. His six Selke Trophies are an NHL record, and he’s one of only four Bruins ever to score 1,000 points with the franchise. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of Boston Bruins players and will undoubtedly have his number in the rafters.
Krejci will go down as one of Boston’s most underrated playmakers and playoff performers. He posted six different seasons with a least forty assists and five different double-digit playoff runs in over 1,000 games as a Bruin. On two separate occasions, Krejci leads the entire Stanley Cup playoffs in point scoring (23, 26). Coincidentally, Krejci is tied with both Bergeron and Marchand for second all-time in Bruins playoff scoring (128).
The 2023-24 Bruins Forward Depth
Bergeron and Krejci’s retirements contributed to the mass exodus of forwards over the summer. Without much wiggle room to plug those holes, the Bruins have a lot of questions in their lineup.
At the moment, Boston will be icing Zacha, Coyle, Morgan Geekie, and Patrick Brown down the middle on Opening Night,
Zacha thrived in his first season with the B’s as a Swiss-army knife Top 6 forward. Whether he was centering his line or playing on the wing, his counting stats and underlying numbers all thrived. But the big question is if he can replicate those numbers with more pressure and expectation to drive the offense.
Coyle had arguably the finest season of his career, playing largely as a third-line shutdown center. His previous offensive production playing further up the lineup has been underwhelming, and he’s penciled in as the second center.
Geekie and Brown aren’t likely to be more than bottom six forwards, but Frederic proved that role can be impactful.
Beyond Pastrnak, Marchand, and DeBrusk, James van Riemsdyk is the only winger with a track record of goal-scoring. However, he has only broken 20 goals once since 2019.
Needless to say, it might not look too great right off of the puck drop in October.