The Bruins currently have an overload of talent in the organization. That's always a good thing. Until you have to pay the talent. The Bruins have a very big offseason ahead of them as far as restricted, and unrestricted free agents. Multiple top forwards and defenseman are in the final year of their deals in Boston.
Restricted free agents after this season:
Unrestricted free agents after the season:
Those are just the players that have seen NHL playing time this year. With the exception if Kevan Miller of course, who hasn't played yet this season due to injury. Of the restricted free agents, Brett Ritchie, Anders Bjork, and Joakim Nordstrom are all eligible for arbitration. Aside from the players mentioned above, the Bruins have nine more organizational players that have expiring contracts this season.
The Bruins will have roughly $23 Million to play with while dealing with the 23 expiring contracts. Seeing as how its very unlikely that the Bruins bring back all 23 players, $23 Million is a good amount to have going into these negotiations. Torey Krug has already said that he will be willing to take less money to stay in Boston, so that will come into the Bruins favor when its time to talk.
Whos number one?
With so many player contracts that need to be addressed, the Bruins will have to prioritize who they want to bring back. Assuming that Zdeno Chara will be back next year barring any drastic decisions made by the Bruins or Chara himself, I don't think the Bruins are too concerned about Chara. Torey Krug, Charlie Coyle, and Jake DeBrusk are probably going to be the Bruins topn priorities this offseason. Jake DeBrusk being arbitration eligible makes things a little easier, as its another way to go about keeping hum in Boston. With so many players to deal with, and the fact that DeBrusk has been a little inconsistent, look for the Bruins to bring him back on a one year deal in arbitration.
While I personally think the best option is to trade him, I would assume Torey Krug will be the biggest priority for the Bruins. He's probably a bigger asset than Charlie Coyle, as there are potential replacements for Coyle in Providence. I think the Bruins bring back both guys, but with Torey Krug willing to take less to stay in Boston, they'll probably look to get that deal done as soon as possible.
Time will tell
With so many players to re-sign, its very possible that the Bruins address some of these guys before the end of the season. They are already in contract negotiations with Torey Krug, and there's been rumblings of a long term deal with Jake DeBrusk. Its very possible that a player turns it on throughout the rest of the season, and his value goes up a little bit before negotiations begin. I'm sure there will be some trade negotiations involving some of these players as well. Especially with the Bruins having so many injuries right now. Eventually players will come back and there can only be so many players on the roster. It comes down to consistency. If players show that they can help the Bruins win, the Bruins will keep them in Boston.
Credit to stanleycupofchowder.com for the cover photo