Yesterday’s press conference involving the Boston Bruins brain trust offered some insight into their offseason plans. Read on for the latest.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Boston Bruins team president Cam Neely listed the defense corps, right wing and backup goaltending as the three key roster areas his club must address before next season. The club lacked sufficient blueline depth to support aging rearguards Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, they could lose right wing Loui Eriksson to free agency and it doesn’t sound as though current backup Jonas Gustavsson will be re-signed.
Fluto Shinzawa believes it won’t be easy for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to upgrade the defense, as it could cost them some young assets like “Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano, or their picks and prospects.” Given the club’s desperation to improve, Sweeney could be squeezed into making a bad deal.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty believes the Bruins will try to increase their efforts to “potentially snag young, potentially available D-men like Jacob Trouba, Mathew Dumba, and Sami Vatanen among others this summer.” While they could also go the trade route to improve at right wing, possible unrestricted free agent options include Kyle Okposo, “Troy Brouwer, David Jones, and Shane Doan (somewhat wishful thinking with this one for the Bruins).”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have over $48 million invested in 12 players for next season. Blueliner Torey Krug (who they can’t afford to lose) is an RFA with arbitration right this summer coming off a one-year, $3.4 million contract and will likely seek at least $5.5 million annually on a long-term extension. They must also decide if they’re re-signing RFA Brett Connolly and if they’ll re-sign or replace Lee Stempniak (who could be an affordable, short-term re-signing), Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman and John-Michael Liles. If upgrading the defense is their top priority, the latter three probably won’t be back.
Going after good young defensemen like Trouba, Dumba or Vatanen will be costly. The Bruins do have some depth in prospects plus two picks in this year’s first round, but I’m not convinced that’s enough to pry Trouba out of Winnipeg or Dumba away from Minnesota. Vatanen might be a possibility, though with the Anaheim Ducks’ depth in defensemen they could use Vatanen as bait for a scoring forward.
Haggerty believes Okposo would look great in a Bruins jersey, but he’ll cost over $6 million annually. Brouwer would be a cheaper short-term addition, Jones is past his best-before date and Doan isn’t leaving the Coyotes.