By: Ray Guarino | Follow me on Twitter @rayguarino
Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney is fast approaching the place in Bruins fan’s hearts that only Tuukka Rask resides in right now. You either love him, or you hate him. Regardless of what side of the aisle you fall on, one of the things all Bruins fans can agree on, Sweeney excels at re-signing Restricted Free Agents.
On the eve of the 2017-18 season, the Bruins signed RFA David Pastrnak to a 6-year contract totaling $40M. An AAV cap hit of $6,666,667. A contract that he has already far outperformed. In the three-plus years since he signed that contract, Pastrnak has scored 135 goals in 239 games. That equates to 46.3 goals per 82 games.
Another home-run for Sweeney was the Charlie McAvoy contract. Signed a month before the start 2019-20 season, McAvoy signed a three-year contract worth $14.7M. An AAV cap hit of $4,900,000. Two years later, McAvoy is in the conversation for the Norris Trophy, given out to the NHL’s best defensemen.
According to CapFriendly, the Bruins will have in the neighborhood of $30M in cap space this offseason. How much of that is used to sign their restricted free agents will go a long way into determining how they can improve the team through unrestricted free agency.
Below, we’ll take a look at the Bruins upcoming restricted free-agents and what their next contract could look like.
The 2015 second-round pick has blossomed into a rock-solid second pair defenseman that the Bruins count on to close out close games. He’s their number one penalty-killing defenseman and has emerged as a team leader.
Working against Carlo is why defensive defensemen do not get the big money contracts that offensive defensemen get. Also, Carlo has now suffered two concussions that we know of, so the Bruins would be wise to tread carefully when it comes to term on his new contract.
Current contract: Two years $2,850,000 AAV–3.5% of the cap.
Comparable contract: Brent Pesce, Six years $4,025,000–5.37% of the cap.
Predicted contract: Four years $4,250,000 AAV–5.21% of the cap.
Nick Ritchie has had a disappointing start to his NHL career after being the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Anaheim Ducks. He came to Boston at the trade deadline in 2020 in exchange for Danton Heinen. Ritchie has put together a solid season so far in 2020-21. He sits at 8-7-15 totals in 28 games, which include 5-4-9 on the power play. He found his home on the ice, standing in front of opposing goalies providing screens, and putting rebounds, and tips, into the net.
Current contract: Three years $1,498,925 AAV–2.06% of the cap.
Comparable contract: Artturi Lehkonen Two years $2,400,000 AAV–2.94% of cap
Predicted contract: Two years $2,445,000 AAV–3% of the cap.
Trent Frederic has been an instant fan-favorite to Boston Bruins fans. His ability to play physically and not only a willingness to drop the gloves but what appears to be a desire to engage in fisticuffs brings a lot of Bruins fans back to a bygone age of the Big Bad Bruins. He currently leads the NHL in penalty minutes.
Current contract: Three years $925,000 AAV–1.23% of the cap.
Comparable contract: Evgeny Svechnikov One year $874,145 AAV–1.07% of the cap
Predicted contract: One year $1,000,000–1.22% of the cap.
Through no fault of his own, Zach Senyshyn has felt the wrath of a lot of the Bruins fanbase ever since his name was announced at the podium at the 2015 NHL Draft. Universally considered a reach pick at number 15 overall, Senyshyn has failed to justify being selected that high. When you consider the players drafted immediately after him, you can see why a good portion of the Bruins fans feels like the misses in that first-round were franchise-altering. My feeling is he can be a very productive fourth-line winger on this team.
Current contract: One year $700,000–0.86% of the cap.
Comparable contract: Maxim Letunov One year $700,000–0.86% of the cap.
Predicted contract: Two year contract $800,000 AAV–0.98% of the cap.
Ondrej Kase came to the Bruins in exchange for a first-round pick and David Backes at the trade deadline in 2020. Kase has played in a total of 19 games for the Bruins (8 regular seasons and 11 playoffs) with zero goals and four assists. He is currently on the Injured Reserve for the seventh time in his career. He has suffered multiple concussions, and there is no timetable for his return. The best thing the Bruins can do is not give him a qualifying offer and let him become an unrestricted free agent, freeing up cap space so to pursue free agents.
Current contract: Three years $2,600,000 AAV–3.27% of the cap.
Predicted contract: The Bruins don’t offer him a contract, thus Kase becomes an unrestricted free agent.