Don Sweeney‘s pre-draft press conference, which took place Thursday morning, didn’t feature too many questions about Friday’s NHL Draft. Instead, the Bruins’ general manager spent most of the time answering questions about the team’s pending free agents.
When it comes to Taylor Hall, Sweeney says the Bruins have “made significant progress” in their negotiations. “I hope that we will find a finish line. Looking forward to hopefully having him back as a big part of what we’re trying to do this year and moving forward.”
There’s been seemingly daily reports throughout this week of the Bruins and Hall getting close to getting a deal done. Darren Dreger of TSN even reported a potential financial structure Wednesday night of four years and “close to $24 million total.”
As for David Krejci, Sweeney said he has been in touch with the 35-year-old center, but didn’t go into any more detail. “I’m going to respect all his privacy and decisions. At this point in time he has not given a firm indication [of whether or not he’ll return],” Sweeney noted. “He’s got some things that he wants to address and then he’ll let us know. But I have been in regular communication with David. There’s no timeline to make decisions.”
Then there’s Tuukka Rask, who is both a pending free agent and expected to undergo hip surgery that will hold him out of the early part of the 2021-2022 season. Sweeney told reporters Rask will return to the US to have that surgery later this month. “I’ve had great communication with Tuukka throughout the year and the end of the year and really just allowing the medical stuff to be at the forefront,” he explained.
Sweeney also indicated the team will make a push to bring back defenseman Mike Reilly, who they acquired at the trade deadline last year. “We’ve had constant communication with Mike’s group. Haven’t found a finish line there. But I thought highly of Mike and what he added to our group,” he said. “So we’ll continue to talk there and see what might transpire. He’ll have some options as we get closer to the 28th and he may want to explore that, but certainly I’ve been in touch.”
Finally, Sweeney noted the team will make qualifying to all three of their restricted free agents, Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase & Zach Senyshyn.
Following Wednesday night’s expansion draft, NHL rosters unfreeze at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. Any moves, such as a new deal for Hall, can take place after that point.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.