Boston Bruins 3 biggest free agency losses

The Boston Bruins lost some key players in free agency and these three players are their biggest off-season departures.
Apr 9, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Danton Heinen (43) tries to gain control of the puck ahead of Carolina Hurricanes right wing Andrei Svechnikov (37) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Danton Heinen (43) tries to gain control of the puck ahead of Carolina Hurricanes right wing Andrei Svechnikov (37) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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As is the case with every off-season, there was roster turnover for the Boston Bruins in free agency. GM Don Sweeney made some key additions to his roster for the 2024-25 season and beyond, but as is the case everywhere else in the NHL, it came at the cost of losing some of their own free agents.

The Bruins added center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Nikita Zadorov as their two biggest players, while bottom-six forward Max Jones should bring some thump to the bottom of the lineup. Sweeney had several players go out the door in free agency and here are the biggest three who are going to wear the Black and Gold next season.

Boston Bruins 3 biggest free agent departures

1. Jake DeBrusk

Ok, so I'm not breaking any news here, but Jake DeBrusk is the biggest loss in free agency for the Bruins. Last season he had 19 goals and 21 assists and while those numbers were a dip from his 27 goals and 23 assists in 2022-23, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft was a difference-maker when he was playing his best. He revived his career with the Black and Gold two seasons ago when former coach Bruce Cassidy moved him up to the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

DeBrusk played in all situations for Jim Montgomery the last two seasons and that was one thing that attracted the Vancouver Canucks to him and they signed him to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract. What makes this loss tough is the fact that Sweeney so far hasn't filled his spot on the roster and will likely have prospects Georgii Merkulov and Fabian Lysell fight it out in camp for a right-wing spot.

2. Danton Heinen

Going into free agency, there were rumors that the Bruins and forward Danton Heinen were looking to get an extension done to keep him in Boston. That extension never materialized and Heien, like DeBrusk, was signed by the Canucks after a standout 2023-24 season with the Bruins. When he agreed to a PTO before training camp last fall, I'm not sure many people saw a 17-goal and 19-assist season coming from the Bruins fourth-round draft pick in 2014.

Heinen filled a number of roles for Montgomery this past season in the lineup and he had a knack for scoring some big goals at key times. It would have been nice for Sweeney to be able to work out a contract to keep him rather than lose him to Vancouver for two years and $4.5 million, but it's clear he was looking for a payday that Sweeney and the Bruins were not willing to give him.

3. Matt Grzelcyk

The only home that Boston native Matt Grzelcyk has known has been the Boston Bruins. For the first time in his career, he hit free agency and the former Boston University defenseman found a new Eastern Conference home with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Health had been an issue for Grzelcyk wearing the Black and Gold the last couple of seasons, but when he was right, he was one of the better Bruins with zone exits and being a good puck-moving blueliner.

The last two postseasons saw Grzelcyk miss a majority of the playoffs and it is not surprising to see Sweeney and the club move on from him. His contract with the Penguins is for one year and $2.75 million to play for Mike Sullivan and he should be a good addition to their defense.

Boston also lost Derek Forbort to Vancouver, and Pat Maroon to the Chicago Blackhawks in free agency, but DeBrusk, Heien, and Grzelcyk are their three biggest losses in free agency this summer.

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