With less than a week left before the Seattle Expansion draft, Don Sweeney and the Bruins have been busy as they had two separate transactions occur on the backend. Defensemen Kevan Miller has announced his retirement after 10 seasons. Kevan was one of those players that was born to don the black and gold jersey. The way he played the game was the exact mix of character and toughness that really thrives in this city.
In brighter news, the Bruins also announced the resigning of defenseman Brandon Carlo to a new six year deal with an earnings of $4.1 million per season. Once again, Don Sweeney signs one of his key guys locked-in long term and under a team friendly number. Carlo was a pending restricted free agent (RFA) heading into the offseason. His re-signing was one of the bigger tasks the Bruins had on their to-do list.
The Bruins currently have six regulars signed heading into the Seattle expansion draft. There’s also a strong chance that they will lose one of the guys listed below (excluding McAvoy and Carlo, who will be protected). The third spot will more than likely be used on Grzelcyk:
The Bruins have a lot of cap space heading into this offseason and, after Cam Neeley’s end of season presser comments, I expect a good portion of it to be spent on the backend. Where Neeley reaffirmed the teams desire to locate, “the elusive left D we’ve been looking for who can chew up a lot of minutes.”
Here are some interesting names that will be available in the free agency market this offseason for Don Sweeney and the Bruins.
D Alec Martinez, UFA Vegas Golden Knights
Martinez rode shotgun with Alex Pietrangelo for much of this season on the Vegas top pairing. During the playoffs, he swallowed a good 20+ minutes per game. All while reportedly dealing with a broken foot. The former two-time Stanley Cup champion checks every box that the Bruins need for a top four left-handed defenseman. Martinez will be a hot commodity. He fits that need for a lot of teams criteria this offseason and is going to get A LOT of money.
D Ryan Suter, Buy-Out Minnesota Wild
In the current flattened salary cap era, it’s no surprise that several teams are exercising the buyout window this offseason. Both Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise came to Minnesota together and left together as the two were bought out of their contracts this past week. Suter is now 36 and heading to free agency. His two-way game has slowed a bit but he has shown he can still take on big minutes. I expect that he isn’t worried as much about pay as he is playing for a contender. Don Sweeney and the Bruins fit that criteria.
D Jamie Oleksiak, UFA Dallas Stars
The 6-foot-7 defender really became a staple on the Stars fast and heavy blueline in the 2019-2020 season where they made it to the Stanley Cup final. This season he found his home in the top four, riding shotgun with stud defenseman Miro Heiskanen in the Stars’ top four, where he led their back end in hits for consecutive seasons. I like to think of him as a left-handed Brandon Carlo with a little nasty in his game. He could slot right in next to McAvoy next season and let McAvoy do his thing.
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