Unlike many teams who have recently won the Stanley Cup, the Boston Buins appear to be in excellent financial condition. They will not need to trade away essential pieces like Chicago needed to, and may even be able to pick up a few more pieces to help them have a shot at repeating in 2012.
Here’s a quick look at where the Bruins stand at each position:
Signed (time, money left on deal)
Marc Savard (six years, $21 million)
Patrice Bergeron (three years, $15 million)
Milan Lucic (two years, $8.25 million)
Nathan Horton (two years, $10 million)
Tyler Seguin (two years, $1.8 million)
David Krejci (one year, $4 million)
Chris Kelly (one year, $2 million)
Rich Peverely (one year, $1.4 million)
Gregory Campbell (one year, $1.2 million)
Daniel Paille (one year, $1.15 million)
Shawn Thornton (one year, $800,000)
Brad Marchand (restricted free agent)
Michael Ryder (unrestricted free agent)
Skinny: The Bruins are in great shape, as they will return 11 forwards who played substantial roles in the playoffs, and will unquestionably sign Marchand to a new deal. If Savard retires, which is likely, the Bruins will have more money to play with to find another defenseman or pick up a piece or two at the trade deadline.
I do not see Ryder back in a Boston uniform unless he takes a Peverley/Kelly type of deal (two years, $3.6 to $4 million). Jordan Caron seems ready to step in, and Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner might be ready as well.
Thornton should take over Recchi’s assistant captain role, but someone will need to step in and fill that leadership void. That will be a challenge for anyone.
Zdeno Chara (seven years, $45.5 million)
Dennis Seidenberg (three years, $9.75 million)
Andrew Ference (two years, $4.5 million)
Johnny Boychuk (one year, $2 million)
Adam McQuaid (one year, $600,000)
The skinny: Again, the Bs are in good shape for at least the next two seasons, as the top three defenseman are signed though 2013 (with Chara through 2019 and Seidenberg through 2014). Boychuk and McQuaid are fine as end of the rotation defensemen.
Everyone seems to believe Kaberle will not be re-signed. I am not convinced of that. After a horrible start to the postseason, Kaberle improved and played well in most of the Tampa series and in the final. He had 11 assists, had better production on the power play, and is a puck-moving defenseman, which the Bruins have wanted for years. Unless the B’s can find a way to sign one of the better defensemen on the market (Shea Weber, Kevin Bieksa, James Wisniewski, Ian White), there is a chance Kaberle is back – albeit at less than $4.25 million.
Steven Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski are not too far away from being contributors, and David Warsofksy might be ready to jump in as well. Look for the Bruins to also draft a defenseman at No. 9 in the draft.
Tim Thomas (three years, $9.75 million)
Tuukka Rask (one year, $1.5 million)
The skinny: This is a great strength for the Bruins, as Thomas has won a Cup, two Vezinas (well, after Wednesday night), and a Conn Smythe Trophy. Rask has proven ready to play at the NHL level, and will hopefully take the step from good to great in the next year. I would expect to see much more of Tuukka this year than last as Thomas will have some effects from the long season when camp opens in September.