Boston Bruins Free Agency: Who Stays, Who Goes.


May 3, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman

Torey Krug

(47) grabs the jesery of Montreal Canadiens left wing

Rene Bourque

(17) during the first period in game two of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Last year’s Bruins team so an awful lot of highs and lows. While the organization had a disappointing exit from the playoffs, they still had the best record in the NHL. The players and the organization know they have a Cup winning squad on their hands, and now it comes down to how well they can make those minor adjustments necessary to get another Stanley Cup in Boston.

The Boston Bruins have been a very ‘close to the cap’ team these last few years.There going to have to be again this year, and they’ve got to look at a lot of young free agents and have to make the call on who is going to stay in the spoked ‘B’ jersey. Will the Bruins make the right calls on who belongs in Boston, and who will move on to greener pastures?

Torey Krug

The Boston Bruins saw themselves go from having a laughable power play to a serious threat in just one season. One of the big reasons for that paradigm shift is Torey Krug.  A big part of the game changing strategy was using Krug on the power play, and having him occasionally teamed up with Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Krug’s speed and scrappy play allowed Chara to try out a new job as a screen for the goalie. The logic of the biggest player equaling the biggest screen made an awful lot of sense, and it was applied to strong effect this season. He had nineteen assists on the power play in Boston.  He’s also a profoundly gifted offensive player having a forty point season in his first full year in the NHL.

Krug is a smaller player, and he constantly found himself battling against players half a foot taller and forty pounds heavier. It’s a testament to his compete level that he won a majority of those contests. He had some bad shifts, but unlike other free agent defensemen you’ll see later, he rarely had a start to finish bad game. He’s earned his place on the roster, and the organization’s will reward him for that. It just comes down to how long and how much they’ll pony up to retain his services.

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Reilly Smith

Some of us were shocked when the Tyler SeguinLoui Eriksson trade hit Boston. As part of that big trade, the Bruins essentially trader Rich Peverley for Reilly Smith. It’s pretty simple who walked out ahead on that end of the trade. Peter Chiarelli declared early on that Smith wasn’t a throw-in player in that deal.  He said that he was a player the Bruins wanted all along.  Smith started out as a bottom six forward, but was promoted to the second line due to the concussions inflicted on Loui Eriksson. Last year, Smith was a very effective player for most of the season, having a fifty one point(twenty goal) season for Boston. He certainly had a goal drought late in the season. In the playoffs he got his focus back and was able to score four goals for the Black and Gold.

Smith is in line for a decent pay day too. His promotion to play with Patrice Bergeron (and Brad Marchand) speaks to the confidence the organization had in him last season. He is a play-maker, a solid winger, and has found himself a home in Boston.  Like Krug, it will come down to how much for how long.

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  • Matt Bartkowski

    In matters of technical skating, I still believe that Matt Bartkowski is a slightly better skater than Dougie Hamilton. The downside of this comparison is that Dougie Hamilton has a much higher hockey IQ on the ice. While some people focus on the lack of top six production as a reason for the Bruins departure, a lot of people focus on Bartkowski. He had five minor penalties in eight games. Bruins’ social media lit up every time his errors proved costly. The penalties were bad enough, but there were mental errors that often led to missed chances and gave opportunities to the opponents.

    In Bartkowski’s case, his fate is tied to others. It’s practically a given that Dennis Seidenberg will be back for training camp. Adam McQuaid at the moment appears to be still up in the air. If the Bruins chose to move McQuaid, then Bartkowski will likely stay in Boston for another one year, sub-million dollar contract. He’s not a terrible player by any means, he’s just got to clear up those holes in his game.

    Jordan Caron

    He spent last year being the thirteenth forward in Boston. Thirty five games in relief earned him three points(one goal) and a plus/minus of -8. When you look a the stats of other called up players, it’s safe to say that the Jordan Caron experiment is finally over in Boston. It’s probably for the best. In Caron’s defense, he was expected to be the next Patrice Bergeron. In his four years in the Bruins organization, he was riddled by misfortune and injuries. He never got to play to his potential. There was the April 22nd game playoff game against the Red Wings though. He scored a goal in that one, and probably had his best game of the season that night. We got to see a glimmer of that potential, but weighed against the whole, it’s not enough to keep him here. (A lot of said before the start of last season, and look what happened.)