( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Matt Barry | Follow Me On Twitter @oobcards

As the 2020 NHL Entry Draft approaches on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney held a pre-draft Zoom press conference to discuss many hot topics. There has been tremendous buzz surrounding the Bruins ever since their second-round exit in the playoffs. Everyone from Tuukka Rask to Brandon Carlo to Jake DeBrusk has been mentioned in trade discussions. The free-agent status of Torey Krug has been in limbo as well. After Sweeney’s most recent presser, there was very little clarity about what will happen next.

Sweeney was asked about the status of Rask, who has one year remaining on his contract and left the bubble during the postseason. The Bruins general manager said that Rask is still very much in the Bruins plans and that he feels very comfortable with the team’s goaltending situation with Jaroslav Halak also under contract for one more season. Rask has been rumored in trade discussions with the Colorado Avalanche over the last week. However, Sweeney’s comments seemed to signal that the team will have Rask in net during the upcoming season.

Sweeney also gave an update on Krug’s contract negotiations by basically saying that there has been no progress. All signs point to Krug testing the free-agent market beginning October 9. Still, Sweeney did say that there is no animosity between the team and the player and that after receiving offers from other groups, Krug may consider returning. There have been reports that the Bruins offer to the 30-year old defenseman was for six years at $6.5 million per season.

Sweeney also said that it is vital to listen as much as talk when it comes to evaluating the hockey club. The GM indicated that there is a shortlist of players who are “untouchable.” The flat salary cap also has to be considered when making deals or signing free agents. One free agent who is still unsigned is captain Zdeno Chara. There have been talks with Chara’s agent, but only “broad-based” discussions. Sweeney might also be waiting to see which players around the league are not extended qualifying offers by their teams. Another unrestricted free agent is Joakim Nordstrom, who Sweeney said the team would not be aggressive in re-signing. His return to the Black and Gold seems unlikely.

Two restricted free agents who played mainly in Providence last season will not be extended offers. Brendan Gaunce had a solid first season with the Providence Bruins tallying 18 goals and 37 points in 52 games with the Baby B’s. Ritchie, who scored the first Bruins goal of the season in Dallas, will also not return. The brother of Nick Ritchie had just two goals in 27 games with Boston. There was no update on other restricted free agents Zach Senyshyn, Karson Kuhlman, Matt Gryzelcyk, and DeBrusk.

As for the draft, the Bruins select 58th overall after trading their first-round pick as part of the trade for Ondrej Kase. When asked whether the team would explore trading into the first round, Sweeney stated that if the opportunity presented itself, the team would have to explore it. Having the free agency period open just two days after the draft is not typical. It will be interesting to see if the team makes a move during the draft or waits until free agency begins. Hopefully, this week, some of the buzz around the team turns into activity.