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Bruins Fans: Temper Expectations Of Free Agency

Pez Says: Everything here changes with trades. Pretend trades aren’t a thing because we can’t begin to predict trades. Yes, we’d all like to see Matt Beleskey or Jimmy Hayes or Adam McQuaid traded to get their cap hit off the books, but we don’t have that control. 

Yet. 

Free agency is right around the corner and before everyone gets into the screaming and shouting matches about which free agents the Bruins should bring to Boston, I’m here to tell you all that we should temper our expectations of what the Bruins are going to do.

Cap Space

Per CapFriendly, the Bruins currently have a projected cap space amount of $12,743,332. This number includes their latest transcation, a modest two year contract for Noel Acciari where he will make 725K per month. So remember that number, because it is going to be incredibly important for the Bruins going forward.

$12,743,332.

Roster Composition

When you look at the Bruins roster, their major holes are on the wing. After Brad Marchand, the Bruins don’t have a wing player that can be a great compliment to a guy like David Krejci. Please note that I am not counting David Pastrank as “on the roster” because he doesn’t have a contract. That will certainly change in the coming days/weeks (hopefully not months).

You can look at David Backes and believe he’s the compliment, Horton-type player that Krejci has thrived with in the past, but he’s not. Last season he scored 17 goals and had 38 points – his lowest point total since the 2007-2008 season. It’s possible that at 33, Backes is starting to decline from the years of hard play he’s put on his body.

Matt Beleskey hasn’t proven that he’s the $3.8M player Don Sweeney believed he was. Beleskey finished the season with 8 points in his second season with the Bruins. The good news is that 8 points seems to be the anomaly here because the season prior he had a career high in points with 37. Is Beleskey the second line winger type if Backes is going to be put on a line with Bergeron and Marchand? Probably not.

The Bruins lack some serious goal scoring ability after the Marchand/Bergeron/Insert guy here line. It was shown in the playoffs that if a team targets that line, the rest of the roster can not pick up the slack. Don Sweeney is going to need to find someone to pick up that slack. Is the answer in the minors?

Probably.

Jake DeBrusk had a hell of a season this year in Providence and could provide that secondary scoring that Boston sorely lacks.

Before we can go into this though, we need to talk about David Pastrnak.

Pastrnak Contract

On June 15, 2017 – Jonathan Drouin signed a 6 year, $33,000,000 contract with the Montreal Canadiens (boo). This contract holds an AAV of $5,500,000 per season. Let’s use this contract as a base for Pastrnak. If David Pastrnak signs the exact same contract, the Bruins cap hit will fall to $7,243,332.

No Big “Splash” In July

This number isn’t terrible, but you can bet your bottom dollar that is crosses off some of the larger names in free agency.

Kevin Shattenkirk? Nah (thankfully)
Alexander Radulov? Based on the rumors he wants $7,000,000 per year from Montreal, probably not.

Your free agent splash is David Pastrnak and that is absolutely a-ok with me. What Boston needs to do is allow their younger players like Jake DeBrusk and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson to play in the NHL, learn the game and supplement low cost veterans around them. The days of overpaying mid-to-low tier talent (sup, Quaider?) should be over for this team.

Expect Boston to make runs at defensemen like Trevor Daley or Michael Del Zotto. These type of guys more than likely won’t require long term deals for a lot of money. If Boston can get one of them for one, two or maybe even three years, they’re golden. Use them as sparingly second – mostly third – pairing roles and teach the Charlie McAvoys and Rob O’Garas of the world the position so when those contracts fall off, we’re watching these young guys come into their early-to-mid 20s and are ready to take off.

I know we all get excited when free agency rolls around the corner. The idea of the big free agent coming to your team is incredibly thrilling, but the Bruins aren’t in a position to do that. David Pastrnak is your big free agent and that’s not a knock on him.

Temper your expectations and you won’t be let down this summer.