It was a another long season in Boston as the B’s missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season. Obviously there are many questions surrounding the team as changes are expected and have already taken place most notably the departure of a few assistant coaches. With the draft having come and gone without any major trades, the Bruins will look to free agency to help restock a team under serious pressure to perform. I’ve targeted a few free agent defensemen and forwards that the Bruins should look at, realistic or not. I’ve also given my thoughts on a few Bruins that will hit the free agent market.
Jacob Trouba: Rumors regarding the 22 year-old Winnipeg defenseman have ramped up in recent days with the Bruins reportedly preparing an offer sheet for the soon to be restricted free agent. The two biggest downsides of this would the B’s would need to part with four future first round picks and would need to pay him close to $9 million a year which is in the company of Drew Doughty who just won the Norris trophy as the league’s top defenseman. At that steep price, he’s not worth it as the B’s would be gambling their future away. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not an option. The mere threat of an offer sheet could bait Winnipeg into trading Trouba which would be a better option for the Bruins.
Jason Demers: Arguably one of the top options in the unrestricted market, Demers is a solid two-way defender with a right handed shot that could be valuable to the Bruins. Asking price would likely be in the $5 million per year range. There is a lot of interest in Demers across the league but he is a dependable player that could be an asset to the B’s
Dan Hamhuis: The Bruins were rumored to be interested in the long-time member of the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline but nothing materialized. Would likely be a stop-gap solution as he will be 33 at the start of the season. He is a very sound defender especially in his own zone which is one of the B’s weaknesses.
Kris Russell: Also a target at the trade deadline, Russell is an outstanding shot-blocker and a solid player in his own zone. Size could be an issue at 5’11 but he plays hard and that would definitely appeal to the Bruins.
Kyle Quincey: Very experienced guy with 495 games played in his career. Should strictly be a depth signing, meaning he shouldn’t be the first option but he is a solid, dependable player that could be an asset at the right price.
Brian Campbell: Also should be a depth signing. Offensive skills are still there but at 37, he should only be looked at as a stop-gap solution.
Torey Krug: Set to become an unrestricted free agent and should remain in Boston. Will likely see a sizable offer from the team, but it shouldn’t be too big that it prevents them from signing other players. Really a specialist at this point, could be a better player in his own zone but is a very unique player with a unique skill set.
Milan Lucic: A possible Boston reunion could be in the cards but only at the right price. Would still fit very well in their lineup, as he and David Krejci typically worked well together during Looch’s time in Beantown.
Kyle Okposo: Very realistic option for the B’s. Pure goal scorer that isn’t afraid to get physical. This is the goal scorer the Bruins have been looking forward and he is just hitting his prime. Price might be a bit high but in my kind it’s worth it.
Steven Stamkos: Absolutely zero chance in my mind he comes to Boston but I’d gladly eat my words. Personally, I’d be shocked if he left Tampa. This guy is a top 5 talent in this league and will be a superstar for many years but the asking price will be astronomical.
David Backes: Rumored to be an interest for years for the team but I would imagine the asking price would be too high. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the B’s made a serious run at him. Great physical game and gets to the dirty areas.
Thomas Vanek: Been a Bruins killer his whole career. Would be a great addition at the right price. Can still put the puck in the net, guaranteed 20 goal scorer in my mind.
Loui Eriksson: Looking more and more unlikely that he re-ups in Boston every day. The B’s shouldn’t waste their time with him as he is already looking for more money than the Bruins are willing to pay. He is a good offensive player don’t get me wrong but he should’ve been dealt at the trading deadline as the Bruins could’ve improved for the future but instead held onto him to make a run at a playoff spot which failed miserably and now their stuck with a player who most likely won’t be back.
Brett Connolly and Landon Ferraro:
Both set to become unrestricted free agents. Connolly was a disappointment in his year and a half with the club, scoring just 9 goals in 71 games last season. I loved Ferraro’s play at times last season but he ultimately wasn’t consistent enough for the Bruins to make a qualifying offer to.