The Bruins are coming off a respectable season after a hard fought playoff exit at the hands of the the Ottawa Senators. While a first round exit isn’t the ideal way to wrap up a year on but considering they fired their coach halfway through the season it wasn’t to bad. However it’s undeniable that the B’s are still a few key pieces away from being in title contention and free agency might be a good way to push the Bruins up a level talent wise.
The most dire area of need for the Black and Gold is at right wing, at the moment they only have two true right wingers in Drew Stafford and the ever disappointing Jimmy Hayes. Stafford’s contract is up and if the Bruins don’t resign him he’ll hit the market, I would be fine with the B’s bringing back Stafford if the deal is right and given that there are quite a few veteran RW in this class. Which isn’t great news for the B’s considering you would like someone a little younger and could be with the B’s for the next four or five years. As is you might be able to add an aging star for a season or two but I don’t know if the B’s will be able to get over the hump in the next two years just by adding someone like Justin Williams, he could certainly help but isn’t a long term piece. The Top Right Wing free agent will be TJ Oshie if he hits the open market but he comes with a big price tag.
The Second need the Bruins could address in Free agency is some blue line help, the B’s are in need of a Top four defenseman, and with Mcquaid’s injury history piling up two new defenseman would be ideal. Thankfully there certainly are a few to be had in this class. The Cream of the Crop being the Capitals Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner. I like both these guys for different reasons, Shattenkirk is a great offensive defenseman, a good scorer and a talented puck moving defenseman and could really help the B’s Power play. Alzner is a big guy and a defensive stud. If the B’s could get him under contract he could play well with Brandon Carlo and free Chara up to play with McAvoy and help bring him along. Those guys would obviously be home run signings for the Bruins and would likely cost a boatload too. Slightly cheaper options would be Brendan Smith who could be a good partner to hide Krug’s defensive shortcomings or Michael Stone who could add some size to the backline.
Free agency is always tricky in the tight cap world of the NHL but if the Bruins play their cards right they could take a big leap forward this offseason. With stars like Bergeron and Krejci not getting any younger and Chara likely on his last legs decisions have to be made about the future of the team. If the Bruins want to make the most of these guys later years then adding a Star like Oshie, Shattenkirk or Alzner might be the way to go.
Written by Jason MacKinnon