Thursday morning, Boston Bruins‘ general manager Don Sweeney met with the media. He gave updates on contract situations as well as the team’s plan after losing defenseman Jeremy Lauzon to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.
Sweeney confirmed that the B’s and unrestricted free agent (UFA) left wing Taylor Hall are close to getting a deal done. Along with Hall, Sweeney also gave updates on two other big UFAs Boston has this offseason.
He noted that veteran David Krejci has yet to tell the team his intentions for next season and there isn’t a timetable for him to make this decision. However, Sweeney gave somewhat good news in regard to defenseman Mike Reilly, who was acquired at this season’s trade deadline.
Sweeney stated that the B’s and Reilly have had constant discussions about a new contract and are hoping to get a deal done soon. Sweeney plans to “make a big push” to bring back the 28-year-old blueliner.
Re-signing Mike Reilly is much more important for the Bruins after losing Jeremy Lauzon to Seattle.
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, after losing Lauzon to the Kraken, the B’s now have only three left-shot defensemen under contract for 2021-22 (not including defensemen in the AHL. These three D-men are Matt Grzelcyk, Jakub Zboril, and John Moore. Not ideal.
So, you can see why it’s so important to re-sign Reilly, especially before free agency begins on July 28. If the B’s can’t get a deal done before then, they’re either going to have to pay Reilly market value (yeah, not with Sweeney as GM) or lose him to another team. If the Black and Gold lose Reilly, they’re going to have to sign two left-shot defensemen instead of one this offseason. And, honestly, the options are that great this offseason.
Reilly proved to be what the B’s needed at the time — another defenseman that could push the puck up ice and get it on net besides Grzelcyk. They still need this, so Reilly should be re-signed. But, the issue may be what Reilly is asking for.
Reilly had the best season of his career in 2020-21, so he’s probably asking for a decent amount. Both Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo are both making $4 million+ per year now. If he’s asking for more than them, I don’t think Sweeney pulls the trigger and lets him walk.
Overall, Reilly showed to be a valuable part of the B’s defense this past season. Hopefully he’s re-signed, otherwise Boston may be stuck with old-timers such as Ryan Suter and Keith Yandle on the blueline. Or worse, Jakub Zboril and John Moore….