By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bruins remain in a holding pattern with their restricted and unrestricted free agents, general manager Don Sweeney confirmed.
“We’ve been in communication with all of our players; all of our RFAs and UFAs,” Sweeney said. “We’ve been doing a lot of internal planning, obviously with the cap and where that goes is a bit of an unknown. We’re all predicting that it may stay flat, but we don’t have confirmation in that regard, so we haven’t done anything concrete.”
With Charlie Coyle and Jaroslav Halak already taken care of, the focus remains on Torey Krug on the unrestricted free agency front. The 29-year-old, who entered the pause with nine goals and 49 points (28 of which on the power play) in 61 games played, has tallied the seventh-most points among all NHL defenders since the start of the 2013-14 season, but is entering the true unknown territory of his career as an undersized puck-mover entering his 30s.
Speaking with reporters earlier this pause, Krug outright admitted that he had hoped this wasn’t the end for his run in Boston, and then double downed on those comments in a Town Hall with season-ticket holders.
The problem for the Bruins, of course, is that Krug’s top-of-the-line production should come with a substantial raise from the $5.25 million cap hit he’s carried for the last four seasons. An expected flat cap may make that difficult for the Bruins to pay.
In addition to Krug, Zdeno Chara will find himself in need of a new contract as an unrestricted free agent. Chara has been willing to take things on a year-to-year basis, and will almost certainly be asked to do that once again in 2020. And before you ask, no, the 43-year-old Chara has no intentions on retiring at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
Joakim Nordstrom, Boston’s Swedish Army Knife for the last two seasons, is also due for a new contract.
On the restricted front, Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork are the names to watch up front, while Matt Grzelcyk is also in need of a new contract at the end of the 2019-20 season.
DeBrusk is likely looking at a bridge deal thanks to a hot-and-cold campaign that featured 19 goals and 35 points in 65 games, while Grzelcyk is certainly due a raise from his $1.4 million salary behind a career-high 21 points on Boston’s third pairing. Bjork, meanwhile, is still looking to stick as a full-time NHLer.
And the Bruins are trying to fit all these pieces into place with a projected $18 million in cap space should the cap stay flat.
“We have some done planning accordingly and some forecasting with RFAs and UFAs,” Sweeney admitted. “But we have not put anything to paper at this point in time.”
You can almost expect that to remain the case until the NHL actually finishes this currently-paused season, too.