The Boston Bruins haven’t been the busiest team this summer and they don’t really have a reason to be. General manager Don Sweeney has a strong crew of rookies to work with, but there’s a small army of players coming off their entry level deals next year and he may have to get creative.
As for the 2018-2019 season, things look alright.
There were no major free agency pickups for the Bruins this summer, but defenceman John Moore provides versatility. The also club switched up their backup goaltenders, with Jaroslav Halak coming in for Anton Khudobin.
Moore gives Boston depth behind Zdeno Chara. The 27-year-old was inked to a five-year deal worth $13.75 million and can play in all game situations. He averaged 20:01 of ice time last season for New Jersey, a career high, and posted 18 points in 81 games.
Halak has been up and down. He signed a two-year contract worth $5.5 million with the Bruins and went 20-26-6 with the New York Islanders last season. His 3.19 goals against average was far from terrific, but Boston is hoping less pressure and better defence will let Halak shine through.
The Bruins watched Rick Nash walk, but the 34-year-old may be done in the NHL. He spent just 11 games with Boston and produced six points.
Another Nash made his exit in the form of Riley Nash, who signed with Columbus. The 29-year-old centre had a career-high 41 points last season.
Among the many young players in the Boston system, Ryan Donato is arguably the most thrilling. The 22-year-old will be a top six guy sooner rather than later. The Bruins will try him out in all game situations to see where his real fit is, but the future is bright. He had a tremendous debut in March against the Blue Jackets, too.
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson is another name to watch. He’s played just one NHL game in 2016-2017, but the Bruins are hoping the 21-year-old will challenge for the third-line centre position. There’s a bit of a traffic jam down there, but the Stockholm native has a good shot.
There’s a lot to like about the Bruins for 2018-2019. Charlie McAvoy should be a good selection for fantasy owners, as he’ll see an increase in ice time in his second full NHL season. And Boston can roll two of the best lines in hockey, starting with the top unit of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.
Looking at the picture, the Bruins look to be one of the smartest teams in hockey this summer. They haven’t done a lot and that doesn’t make for splashy headlines, but Sweeney’s faith in the process should pay off and return this club to the promised land once more.