By: Maria From Watertown | Follow Me On Twitter @mariaofh2otown
Once the NHL makes a determination to resume league play in whatever form that may take in order to complete the 2019-2020 season, it will likely be “business as usual” in terms of teams getting ready for the 2020 draft, free agency, and the Seattle expansion draft. One of the looming questions surrounding the Bruins will be how they might approach the Seattle expansion draft and the potential impact those decisions may have on players currently on the roster.
The Bruins seemingly have quite a few roster decisions to address what with all the pending UFA’s and RFA’s (https://www.spotrac.com/nhl/free-agents/boston-bruins [spotrac.com]), as well as projecting who to protect (or not, as the case may be) in connection with preparing for the Seattle expansion draft. At the time of the Vegas draft, the Bruins protected seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie. Assuming they use the same formula, a few of the protected players are relatively easily identified in my view: Patrice Bergeron (F), Brad Marchand (F), David Pastrňák (F), Charlie Coyle (F), David Krejci (F), and Tuukka Rask (G).
The status of David Krejci is intriguing. Most consider the center iceman to be one of the “core” members of the current Bruins roster. There is no arguing that he’s played a significant role in the recent successes of the team. Having said that, however, Krejci has one year left under his current contract, which will pay him a base salary of $7,000,000 with a cap hit of $7,250,000. Krejci will be a UFA in the 2021 offseason and will also turn 35-years-old. Krejci currently has a no-trade clause. Under the rules of the expansion draft, if he declines to waive that clause, the Bruins must protect him. With only one year left on his current deal, protecting Krejci might be risky unless he’s willing to sign a team-friendly deal to potentially finish his career as a Boston Bruin.
Jake DeBrusk is another question mark for me. While he exhibits a tremendous amount of talent and ability, he can be an inconsistent player. Jake’s current contract is a very team-friendly entry-level base salary of $832,500 with a cap hit of $863,333. He will be an RFA in 2020, and it will be interesting to see how the Bruins handle Jake’s next contract or where he may land in planning for the expansion draft.
The looming concern for me is how the Bruins will handle the defensive core when it comes time for the expansion draft. Much of this decision could be further complicated by the Torey Krug contract situation. If and/or when the Krug extension gets done, then it’s safe to assume that Krug becomes a member of the protected group. In my opinion, Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy are future franchise defensemen, and they need to be protected. Matt Grzelcyk may likely find himself as the odd man out in this scenario, which is unfortunate. He is developing into a solid defenseman, with offensive output potential.
I don’t envy Don Sweeney and company. These upcoming decisions could likely have a significant impact on the future of the Boston Bruins roster.