By: Brandon Flowers | Follow me on Twitter @BKFlowers1
As the 2019-2020 season has come and gone, the offseason has seen some things shift course. The Bruins got bounced in the second round of the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup. Boston’s weakest link in the playoffs this past year was their lack of secondary scoring. The first line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak is arguably one of the best in hockey. This star talent trio is also aging, except for Pastrnak, so the window to win might be closing sooner rather than later.
With the loss of defenseman Torey Krug to the Blues via free agency, Don Sweeney, the Boston Bruins general manager, did go out and sign forward Craig Smith to provide some secondary scoring upfront. With many big-name free agents off the board, there might be the option to turn to some RFA’s throughout the league. With one of Boston’s own RFA’s, Jake DeBrusk is still unsigned and just under $7 million in cap space, it might be a good option to send some offer sheets to other RFA’s who could bolster your lineup going into the 2020-2021 season.
While still being very young, Anthony Cirelli did turn heads this past season. He isn’t a household name, but he’s an instrumental player on a Stanley Cup-winning team that could have an even higher ceiling with a different NHL club. His natural position is center, which is a position the Bruins have pretty good depth at. Therefore, he could be placed on the left or right-wing next to David Krejci or Charlie Coyle on the second or third line. He is an outstanding two-way player and ranked top-five among all NHL forwards in penalty-killing time (2:49 per game). Cirelli finished with 16 goals and 44 points in 68 games last season while pushing close to the 20-goal/50-point territory.
Sticking with a player from the same team, Mikhail Sergachev is another young player who showed major strides this past season with the Bolts. Sergachev had a breakthrough season, finishing with 10 goals and 34 points in 70 games. He showed that he could be an excellent skater, has a cannon for a shot, and the 6-foot-3, 223-pound size that anybody would want in a top-tier defenseman. He would fit right into the Bruins style of play and mentality and work well alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first line defensive pairing. As a reminder, Sergachev was a top-10 draft pick not long ago, while being a top-four defenceman by the age of 21, who hasn’t even peaked yet.
Wouldn’t it be fitting to erase the mistakes of the 2015 NHL draft when the Bruins passed on drafting this guy in favor of Jake DeBrusk? By no means is Jake DeBrusk a bad player, but so far, Mat Barzal has shown more upside to his game and has become a pretty good two-way player as well. He has had three consecutive 60-point seasons and racked up 85 points in his rookie season. The only issue with this most likely not happening is that the B’s aren’t in a good salary cap position to throw Barzal a massive offer sheet. The Bruins have just under $7 million in cap space, and Barzal will most likely command more money than that.
The 23-year-old speedy Finn forward is coming into his own for the Dallas Stars. He is not a big name RFA that you will hear about a lot, but he could be a nice offer sheet candidate for several NHL teams. He posted 19 goals and 33 points for the Stars last season and added another 13 points during their long playoff run to the finals. Hintz has blazing speed, size at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, and has an excellent upside. He worked his way up from being a bottom-six forward at the beginning of his career to now being a solid piece for a team. He would play very nicely on Boston’s third line or even second line in certain situations. This is the kind of player that could get a mid-level offer sheet from a team that sees potential in him.