By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge
The 2020 NHL offseason has been a wild one full of star talent changing their uniforms for new ones. Here in Bruins Nation, the offseason has been a wild journey with the Bruin’s signings, or lack thereof. Some fans remain frustrated with the Boston Bruins losing star talent such as Torey Krug, and not signing more than just Craig Smith and depth forwards.
Amidst all of the stress of the current offseason, it is hard not to think about what lies ahead for next season and even after that. Let’s take a look at what the Bruins are dealing with for the 2021 offseason. As of right now, according to CapFriendly, the Bruins have just shy of $7 million in cap space, and Jake Debrusk will take some of that off the books. Barring any changes, the Bruins will have a few million to play with next year.
If you think this offseason was stressful, get ready for the next one. The Bruins have a lot that needs to happen before the 2021-2022 season. The unrestricted free agents they have include stars such as Tuukka Rask and David Krecji. Those two make up a big part of the Bruins core and it will be interesting to see how Don Sweeney handles it.
The other unrestricted free agents are made up of depth players such as Sean Kuraly, Par Lindholm, Greg McKegg, Kevan Miller, Paul Carey, Steven Kampfer, and backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Notable restricted free agents include Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie, Anton Blidh, and Brandon Carlo. Those are a lot of names that are coming to the end of their contracts. Don Sweeney will have around $30 million in cap space to retain the players of their choosing, barring any additions or subtractions.
Seeing how Sweeney has handled situations in the past, it is hard to see some of the depth unrestricted free agents returning. My personal prediction is that Lindholm, Kampfer, Carey and McKegg will be gone as the Bruins have young prospects who they want to play in the NHL. As far as restricted free agents, it is hard to see them leaving but we have seen crazier things happen.
What about the two big ones? Do Krejci and Rask return? Krejci has been a huge piece of this Bruins team for the past 14 years. I find it hard to believe the Bruins will walk away from him when he still has something left in the tank to produce for the team. It may not be at a second line level, but I do believe he will return for a cheaper contract than what he is on, so that is good news.
Rask is a weird one. There have been numerous reports saying that Rask has considered retiring after his contract is over. If he doesn’t, I think it is in the Bruins best interest to bring him back on a short-term contract. The fact of the matter is that he is still an elite goalie and it gives the younger prospects in the system to learn from one of the best. If Rask comes back, I doubt that Halak does, but if Rask retires or he goes somewhere else, then maybe Halak does return. This will be a story to watch out for.
As far as the NHL entry draft is concerned, the Bruins have all of their own draft picks, including a seventh-round draft pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs. That could easily change with trades from Sweeney at the trade deadline or sooner.
As if all that wasn’t stressful enough, there is one more thing to keep in mind. The Seattle Kraken expansion draft takes place the next offseason, so Sweeney and the Bruins have to be prepared to lose a solid player. Who will they protect, trade away, sign? It will be a crazy year for the Black and Gold, so be ready Bruins fans.