Boston Bruins' free agents: who they should prioritize keeping, who they should can afford to let walk

Now that the Bruins' season is over, it's time to examine the free agent market from the inside out. Here's who they should prioritize keeping around for another season, and who they can afford to let walk.
Florida Panthers v Boston Bruins - Game Four
Florida Panthers v Boston Bruins - Game Four / Rich Gagnon/GettyImages
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Who should they prioritize signing?

Jeremy Swayman - Goaltender

Jeremy Swayman
Florida Panthers v Boston Bruins - Game Six / Rich Gagnon/GettyImages

If there was one player that you could give the entire amount of cap space remaining to, it would have to be Swayman after the performance he turned in in the playoffs, but surely General Manager, Don Sweeney, is not going to play that big of a hand.

Regardless of this, signing Swayman to a long-term deal, a la Tuukka Rask back in the day, or more recently David Pastrnak and his 8-year extension. Back when Rask was signed to his extension, it came with a cap-hit of $7 million - a number that should easily be attainable for Sweeney to sign Swayman to.

To say that Swayman has earned it would be putting it mildly. This is where the part of Swayman being a restricted free agent comes down to benefit the Bruins in oh so many ways. Not only do they have the opportunity to match any offer any team gives him, but they also get first dibs on him. At 25-years-old, it's clear that he's the goaltender of the future: SIGN. HIM. NOW.

Prediction: Swayman signs a 10-year, $70 million contract (annual AAV: $10 million).

Pat Maroon - Forward

Pat Maroon, Niko Mikkola
Florida Panthers v Boston Bruins - Game Three / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

After acquiring him at the trade deadline, Maroon could very well have been the savior for the Bruins in the physical department of the game. Recently, Maroon expressed interest in staying with Boston, according to Ty Anderson of 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Signing him, he should be, as fellow Causeway Crowd writer Scott Roche wrote, a "no-brainer". Maroon brings physicality to the ice that was missing for most of the season after the team lost Lucic both to an early season injury, then later a team (and league) warranted suspension.

At this stage of his career, Maroon has said he wants to act as a mentor to younger players, and most likely will sign a team friendly deal to stay in Boston.

Prediction: Maroon signs a 2-year, $2 million deal (annual AAV: $1 million).

James van Riemsdyk - Forward

James Van Riemsdyk
Boston Bruins v Florida Panthers - Game Five / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

Now, this may be a hot take, but in this reporter's opinion van Riemsdyk could be a good veteran presence on this Bruins' team were he to stay. While, he was a streaky scorer at times and did not put up as consistent numbers as some of the younger players, he was a steady passer and kept the power play afloat.

JVR tallied his third-highest assist total in his career with a total of 27 on the season, and was a steady force on both ends of the puck.

Much like Maroon, it's likely that van Riemsdyk would take a veteran's discount to stay in Boston and act as a mentor to the younger core of players.

Prediction: van Riemsdyk signs a 3-year, $6 million deal (annual AAV: $2 million)

Kevin Shattenkirk - Defenseman

Kevin Shattenkirk
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Four / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Shattenkirk did not exactly have a record-breaking season with the Bruins, but he's the only defenseman that would be worth extending an offer to out of this group.

In 2023-24 season, the Boston University product played in 61 games scoring six goals and racking up 18 assists (24 points). Having a right-handed shot on defense outside of Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo will help Boston out, especially with the slew of left-handed defensemen rising up through the ranks.

Shattenkirk has been around with a few different teams so his expertise will help out the younger defensemen as well in camp. Watch for Shattenkirk to at least be offered a team-friendly deal to stay.

Prediction: Shattenkirk signs with the Bruins on a1-year deal, worth $1 million (with incentives).