There are plenty of decisions facing the Boston Bruins as they look ahead to the 2021-22 NHL season. They need to figure out which of their many key free agents they are going to bring back and which may retire or continue their career in other cities or leagues.
While the Bruins would ideally like to retain their unrestricted free agents, on Tuesday, general manager Don Sweeney said that they would not like to sign any of them until after the Seattle Kracken expansion draft on July 21.
Why is that? Well, it’s simple really. By not signing any of their impending UFA, they don’t have to protect them on the Expansion Draft list with the Kracken.
It’s really a smart move because as was with the case with the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft four years ago, there is a good chance that there is someone that the Black and Gold are going to lose. It most likely will be a young player (I’m thinking a defenseman, but we’ll dive into that as the draft gets closer next month), but with a roster in what appears to be win-now mode, losing any pieces could turn out big over the next year.
In an ideal Boston Bruins world, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, and Taylor Hall return with deals for at least next season, giving coach Bruce Cassidy the chance to make a run with his core roster from this season still intact and hopefully healthy.
In order to keep the Expansion Draft list as limited with players exposed as possible, waiting on inking any of their free agents should wait until after the July 21 draft. The Bruins can get by losing a young player to the draft, but not a key piece veteran they are counting on in 2021-22.