The Boston Bruins were busy on Wednesday afternoon. In their first move of free agency, the Bruins and defenseman Derek Forbort agreed on a three-year contract. The deal came with an annual cap hit of $3 million as the Bruins were able to improve their depth. While Forbort has a limited ceiling offensively, he projects to be a bottom-pairing defenseman.
In 56 games last year, Forbort had twelve points. The former first-round pick also attempted 174 shots, 67 of which landed on the net. While the Bruins’ newest addition is not known for his offense, he has been able to contribute occasionally. In his seventh NHL season, he also showed that he was not afraid to sacrifice his body.
Additionally, the twenty-nine-year-old blocked 115 shots last year, which was the fifth most among defensemen. It was the fourth-highest total of Forbort’s career in the veteran’s only season with Winnipeg. While averaging 20:45 minutes of ice time a game, he was able to land 80 hits. He has also spent a lot of time on the penalty kill when healthy.
While Forbort may not be a household name, he is a premier shot blocker. The Bruins are far from done but were able to add one of their top targets. He has also played in 18 playoff games and recorded three points. In Boston, he will be looking to add to his postseason resume.
With Forbort now signed, the left side of the defense consists of Matt Grzelcyk, Mike Reilly, and Forbort. The B’s still need a shutdown defender on that side and could shift their focus to the trade market. He is an upgrade over what Boston had last year, as the Bruins were bombarded with injuries in the playoffs.
Over the next few weeks, the Bruins will be a team to watch but they wasted no time on Wednesday afternoon, in making their first free-agent splash.