The Boston Bruins had three huge restricted free agents when they entered the offseason and it looked like they were about to have a hard time signing all of them. It was suspected the Bruins might be forced to trade away young talent because of the price tag much like they did with Hamilton a few years ago. But there was hope when Sweeney was able to sign Heinen early in the summer to a two year deal worth $2.8 million annually. With only about $8 million in cap space left Sweeney was gonna have to get fancy to sign his remaining two RFA’s in Carlo and McAvoy.
It was a long summer and a quiet one at that, as the Bruins moved closer and closer to Training camp it looked as if at least one of the defenseman would become a holdout this season. But as the RFA dominoes started to fall and guys on other teams signed, contract talks picked up. After the Columbus Blue Jackets were able to sign RFA Zach Werenski to a three year deal at $5 million the market became set for McAvoy. Werenski was a very comparable player for Mac and Sweeney was able to sign McAvoy to a deal the next day with similar numbers of a three year deal with a $4.9 million cap hit.
After being able to keep McAvoy’s contract cheap and team friendly, he was left with roughly $3 million to sign Carlo. Carlo has played 230 games in his career and posted 32 points. He’s a great defensive defenseman and has shown his worth on both the top pair and the second pair. After McAvoy got $4.9 it felt as if Carlo might get somewhere around $3.5 or $4 million which the Bruins didn’t have the space for. Instead Sweeney offered a short term deal for two year at $2.85 million for Carlo. Carlo took the deal and now the Bruins roster is filled out with just over $1 million in space.
Going into the offseason it was doubtful that the Bruins could sign all of their RFA’s without clearing some cap space but they were able to do it. Sweeney has been great with the in house deals he has signed players to and has kept the Bruins away from salary cap hell. His UFA signings have been mediocre at best so far with the Backes deal sticking out as the biggest mistake. Sweeney has still done well since taking over as the Bruins GM and in just a few short years their culture has changed from a big heavy team to a smaller and quicker type of play.
With a young roster Sweeney will have to make more RFA deals in his coming future and next year will have big decisions looming. Krug becomes a UFA and will be due for more than he makes on his current deal, while also having to sing DeBrusk and Gryzelcyk to new contracts. The Bruins future does look bright and with a solid core of veterans they will be Stanley Cup contenders once again.
-Tyler Smith (@TylerSmith4386)