The 2018-2019 Boston Bruins season has come and gone. The season might not have ended in the exact way that the team and fans may have hoped, but it was still undoubtedly a success. Next year’s success starts in the offseason.
Buyout for Backes?
First big date in the NHL offseason is June 15th. This marks the beginning of the buyout period for NHL teams. The big name that comes up for Bruins fans when they hear buyout is David Backes. Backes’s play didn’t sit well with fans this season, especially because Backes is due $6 million next season. Given the buyout rules, if the Bruins choose to buyout David Backes, the team will only save $333,333. For what Backes brings to the table still, I think its highly unlikely that the Bruins buy him out. Look for Boston to package a pick or prospect with Backes in a trade if they do look to unload his contract.
Line em up
The Bruins have 14 pending free agents, and roughly $14 million to spend. Some restricted and some unrestricted. Given that young potential core, players like Brandon Carolo and Charlie McAvoy are both due big extensions, the Bruins will likely spend every bit of the initial $14 million before the offseason ends. In addition to Carlo and McAvoy, that leaves little money to spend for other key roster member on the list of free agents like Danton Heinen, Marcus Johannsson, and Noel Acciari. Given the current cap situation for the Bruins I think the fate of David Backes will be very telling for the Boston roster. If the Bruins want to bring back Marcus Johansson to help fix their right wing depth issue, something has to give. After Johansson’s play this season he will get money if he wants it. Money that the Bruins don’t exactly have as the offseason starts.
The time is now
This is quite possibly one of the best rosters that the Bruins have had in a while. A lot of talent in a lot of different places. But do they have talent in the right places? The Bruins have had an issue with depth on the wings for a couple seasons now. They have a lot of upcoming talent in the minor leagues, but it’s talent that isn’t quite NHL ready. With the depth that the Bruins have, they could go out and trade for players to fit their needs. A guy like David Krejci could be the cost if the Bruins want to create cap room for free agency. Krejci has been a consistent locker room presence for the Bruins. With the acquisition of Charlie Coyle at the trade deadline, though, the Bruins could afford to move a center.
Moves for the future
Torey Krug has been a very popular name in Boston as of late. Not only for his stellar play in the postseason, but also because he’s coming up on the final year of his contract. Krug is currently taking up nearly $5.5 million on the Bruins payroll. Again, the Bruins have some depth at the NHL level and could trade a defenseman if they choose to do so. A lot of the Bruins talent in the minors is talent that plays the blue line. So a veteran on a one year deal could give the Bruins prospects some time to progress into the 20-21 season.
In conclusion, the Bruins have a lot of options and a lot of crucial decisions to make. Some could come quick as the NHL draft is not far away. Some could come later in the offseason if the Bruins are not confident in their roster.