Following a run to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will have some big offseason decisions to make this summer.
Up first, Sweeney will need to decide what to do with pending free agents Anton Khudobin, Rick Nash, Riley Nash, Tommy Wingels and Nick Holden. Breakout stars Charlie McAvoy, Ryan Donato and Danton Heinen are all also eligible to sign extensions. Next Sweeney will need to survey the free-agent market for some depth scoring and a back up goaltender.
In his latest column for NBC Sports Boston, Bruins insider Joe Haggerty highlights five trade chip options for the team, should Sweeney not be able to fill his needs via free agency. The five individuals identified as being “on the block” by Haggerty are defensemen Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo, forwards David Krejci and David Backes, and goaltender Tuukka Rask.
That’s a good chunk of the team’s current core with Krug, Krejci and Rask playing HUGE part in the team’s success the past few seasons. Krug had a career year in 2017-18 with 14 goals and 59 points in 76 games. He’s signed at a reasonable $5.25 million cap hit for the next two seasons. Krejci makes sense as a trade option, but at $7.25 million per season for the next three seasons, it’ll be difficult to find a trade partner. Ditto for Rask as there aren’t too many teams out there looking to acquire an underachieving goaltender in his 30s for $7 million a season.
As for Carlo, the 21 year old blue liner has been a revelation and is signed to a team friendly contract for the next season… why the urgency to trade him?
Backes also seems like an odd inclusion, not because he’s too good to trade but because he’s signed for three more seasons at $6 million per. It’s hard to see a team taking on that kind of contract for a player whose production has essentially dipped to 3rd or 4th line status.
Whatever changes GM Sweeney elects to make this offseason, Bruins fans are sure to be treated to the most active offseason since Sweeney first made his big splash at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Buckle up, B's fans.