Boston Bruins: Breaking down what awaits this offseason

Boston Bruins (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins have some tough decisions to make this offseason

Despite finishing the regular season with the most points in the NHL, the Boston Bruins once again fell short of the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the Bruins were viewed as a strong contender for the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, their lackluster play in the bubble led to their elimination in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Now that the Bruins postseason run has ended, general manager Don Sweeney must get to work to figure out how to re-tool this team to make another run at the Stanley Cup next season. Heading into next year, the Bruins defensive corps could look significantly different as two of their top defenders, Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, find themselves as unrestricted free agents.

While comments by both Krug and the Bruins front office have all but confirmed that he will be playing for another team next season, there is still some speculation about whether the future will include Chara. While Chara has made it clear that he hopes to return to Boston for next season, the front office has not yet indicated their intentions about Chara’s future as a Bruin.

The overall defense of the Boston Bruins will look different next season

If they chose to keep him, they might risk losing some of their other free agents due to the money they commit to Chara. However, should they let him walk, they are losing his leadership both on and off the ice and will have to find a way to fill his production and toughness.

With Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy set to become the new leaders on the blue line and young prospects like Jeremy Lauzon and Urho Vaakanainen seemingly ready to step up, the Bruins are in a spot where it would make sense to move on from Chara and look to re-allocate some of the available salary cap towards the offensive side of things.

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2 trades the Boston Bruins must make to secure the Stanley Cup
2 trades the Boston Bruins must make to secure the Stanley Cup /

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  • While the defensive unit may look significantly different, the offensive side of things looks to be more concrete from a contract perspective.

    The only two forwards that are currently unsigned heading into the offseason are Jake DeBrusk and Joakim Nordstrom.

    DeBrusk, who has established himself as a solid second line wing with David Krejci, is a restricted free agent and should be back next year barring a trade or outrageous offer sheet from another team.

    With DeBrusk likely to see a pay increase, that will impact the Bruins decision on keeping Nordstrom or going into free agency and trying to make a splash.

    While Nordstrom provided depth and strong penalty kill minutes for the Bruins, he hasn’t been able to help them much in the scoring department.

    With players like Taylor Hall, Tyler Toffoli, and Mike Hoffman hitting free agency this year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bruins target one of those players for scoring depth and to trust Sean Kuraly, Par Lindholm, and Chris Wagner to step up following Nordstrom’s departure. With over $14 million in cap space and a few notable names heading to free agency, it will be interesting to see how the Bruins decide which of their current free agents they will retain and which ones they believe they can replace in free agency.