Recapping A Busy Free Agency So Far For The Bruins
Well, fans we have finally made it to the NHL silly season. On day one of free agency, we saw 163 signings and almost 800 million dollars spent. The Bruins were one of the busy teams today weaponizing their cap space to make several additions to the roster. Before we all jump to say what we think of the team let’s also remember it was only day one. The start of the season is still over ten weeks away and there is still work to be done until then. So let’s not waste any time and look at the day one free agency moves before even more happen.
Losses To Free Agency
The first loss we are looking at is Jaroslav Halak heading to Vancouver on a 1-year deal worth up to 3 million dollars. His deal carries a 1.5 million dollar cap hit with a 1.25 million dollar bonus for playing 10 games and another 250k bonus for a save percentage over .905. Halak spent three seasons in Boston going 49-23-14 with a .918 save percentage and 2.40 goals against. Halak and Rask formed one of the best goalie duos in the league during his time here. Unfortunately, age finally caught up to Halak and Swayman took the backup spot on the playoff roster. The writing was on the wall for Halak and I wish him well in Vancouver.
The next significant loss was Kuraly returning home and signing a 4-year deal with Columbus making 2.5 million per season. Kuraly played in 270 games for the Bruins scoring 24 goals 44 assists for 68 points. After a career year in the 19-20 season, Kuraly only scored 9 points in 47 games last season. This new deal almost doubles his old cap hit and hopefully will come with an opportunity for more ice time. Kuraly was a solid fourth-line center but it seemed like he had another level he just couldn’t reach here. Hopefully, a return home can bring out the best in him and he fits right in with the Blue Jackets.
We all heard the rumors that Hall wasn’t interested in money. Even that he wanted to sign in Boston last free agency but it just didn’t work out. Well, now we know it wasn’t just about the money for Hall. Taylor signed a 4-year 6 million dollar per year extension to stay with the team. In just 16 regular-season games Hall scored 8 goals with 6 assists for 14 points. His numbers dropped in the playoffs only scoring 3 goals and 5 points in 11 games but injuries are partially to blame for those results. Now with a chance to have an offseason to build on the chemistry he already started forming last year Hall could be an absolute steal making just 6 million per season. If you are still unsure about Hall here is an article giving his supposed red flags a closer look.
The Bruins have also agreed to an extension for their other trade deadline acquisition Mike Reilly. Reilly signed a 3-year deal paying him 3 million dollars per season. In 15 regular-season games, Reilly put up 8 assists and was a +7. In 11 playoff games, he had 4 points again all assists, and was a +3. Here is an article covering his career before he came to Boston. With the Bruins once again losing depth on defense keeping Reilly around helps that group a lot. Another year in the system with a healthy cast around him should see an improvement in his play from last year, and fingers are crossed for even a goal or two.
Free Agency Additions
The Bruins’ first addition of the day was left-handed defenseman Derek Forbort. The 29-year-old signed a 3-year deal paying him 3 million dollars per season. A veteran of 331 NHL games between the Kings, Flames, and Jets Forbort brings exactly what the defense needed. At 6’4 and 219lbs Forbort is the net clearing defender we have all been calling for. A lock for over 100 blocks and hits Forbort doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game. More importantly, he has averaged over 20 minutes a game in 4 of the last 5 seasons. With Miller retiring Forbort is an excellent replacement for his role.
The Bruins continued to address their size issue signing Tomas Nosek to a 2-year deal worth 1.75 million per season. At 6’3 Nosek will bring some size and offensive potential to the fourth line. In 257 games split between Detroit and Vegas Nosek has scored 32 goals with 34 assists for 66 points. Last season in 38 games Nosek scored 8 goals with 10 assists for 18 points just under a 40 point pace in just 13 minutes of ice time per game. Nosek is listed as a center/left-wing and has won over 50% of his faceoffs the last two seasons. The 28-year-old likely fit on the fourth line and can hopefully continue to develop his offensive game.
The Bruins weren’t done adding versatile players next signing center/left-wing Erik Haula to another two-year deal paying him 2.38 million per year. At 30 years old with 456 NHL games under his belt, Haula still has some questions about his game. In the 17-18 season, Haula had a career year scoring 29 goals and 55 points in 76 games with Vegas. Since that season he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Last year in 51 games Haula scored 9 goals and 21 points on an offensive starved Nashville team. Haula has also won well over 50% of his faceoffs over the last 6 seasons. With some more offense around him less defensive pressure on his line should see him be the third line spark this team has sorely missed in recent years.
The Bruins still were not done adding to their forward depth making a big splash with Nick Foligno. The Former Columbus Captain has been on this fan’s wish list for some time. Foligno has played in 957 regular-season games with a stat line of 203-283-486. The 33-year-old signed another 2-year deal paying him 3.8 million per year. Once again Foligno brings versatility to play any forward position in the team’s middle-six. Last season in 49 games Foligno scored 7 goals and 20 points right on pace for another mid-30s point season. Foligno isn’t the player that scored over 70 points anymore, he likely isn’t even a 50 point player now. However, he brings leadership, work ethic, physicality, and great two-way play. He is exactly what you think of when you think of Bruins’ style hockey.
By far the biggest free agency splash of the day was the signing of 27-year-old goalie Linus Ullmark. The former Sabres starter signed a 4-year deal paying him 5 million per season. Hallmark has put up a career record of 50-47-13 with a .912 save percentage and 2.78 goals against all with the Sabres. Last season on a historically bad Buffalo team Ullmark was 9-6-3 with a .917 save percentage and 2.63 goals against. With Rask out until at least, January or February Ullmark will be a great 1A with Swayman as the 1B. Ullmark also allows Swayman to continue his development without the pressure of being the franchise guy. Just look at the up and down development of Carter Hart and Matt Murray to see why you need to properly support young goalies.
Final Free Agency Thoughts
The Bruins also made a minor trade sending goalie Dan Vladar to the Calgary Flames for a 2022 3rd round pick. The Bruins have also yet to re-sign David Krejci. With all the moves made yesterday most of the Bruins cap space is now spoken for leaving just over 1 million in space according to Cap-Friendly. Krejci has already said he won’t play for another NHL team so there is no rush to make trades clearing up cap space. So far this offseason has addressed several issues with the team including defensive depth physicality and scoring depth. Good luck pushing the likes of Forbort, Nosek, and Foligno around. These are win-now moves and there are likely more to come. Keep checking back for all the latest news on the Bruins and your other favorite Boston teams. Until next time stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!
Featured image courtesy of sportingnews.com
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