Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

MONTREAL, CANADA - APRIL 13: (L-R) Brad Marchand #63, goaltenders Jeremy Swayman #1 and Brandon Bussi #70 of the Boston Bruins celebrate a victory against the Montreal Canadiens at Centre Bell on April 13, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

With the madness of the NHL offseason rapidly approaching, or already here in some respects, Monday saw Don Sweeney and the Bruins finally make their first move of summer when it comes to the future of the club.

And it started in net, too, as the team officially signed pending restricted free agent Brandon Bussi to a one-year extension through the 2023-24 season.

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  • Currently considered the No. 3 goaltender on the Boston depth chart, the 24-year-old Bussi is coming off a 2022-23 campaign that included 25 wins and a .924 save percentage in 32 games for AHL Providence.

    Bussi, who originally joined the Bruins as an undrafted free agent in 2022 after a stellar collegiate career at Western Michigan University, also represented Providence in the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic in Laval.

    Overall, the 6-foot-5 Bussi has compiled a 25-7-4 record with a .923 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average in 37 games for the P-Bruins over the last two seasons.

  • It’s of course worth noting that Bussi’s extension is a two-way deal that’ll come with just under $150,000 in guaranteed money, and that it’ll be worth $775,000 at the NHL level.

    Now, which figures is more relevant in 2023-24 is the real question for Bussi and the Bruins, as the Bruins are in an undeniable ‘everything on the table’ situation when it comes to their upcoming cap crunch.

    It’s entirely possible that the Bruins explore the trade market for goaltender Linus Ullmark in an attempt to create cap flexibility. Halfway through a four-year, $20 million contract signed with the Bruins in 2021, Ullmark is poised for his first career Vezina Trophy, and as such, his trade value will never be higher than it is right now. Ullmark also has some openings on a trade protection front, as his no-movement clause becomes a modified no-trade this year.

    Should the Bruins explore that and even pull the trigger, Bussi would seemingly be in the mix for a promotion to the NHL squad, especially if the Bruins want to maximize their savings at the goaltending position.

    Of course, Bussi has yet to appear in an NHL game. He served as Jeremy Swayman’s backup in last year’s regular-season finale in Montreal, and was with the Bruins during their first-round series against the Panthers as an emergency backup, but when it comes to NHL games, Bussi is still sitting on a big ol’ donut.

    That alone tells you that he still might be just a bit away. At least when it comes to the Bruins handing him the keys to an NHL spot out of the gate, anyway.

  • MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 05: A detail of the Boston Bruins logo is seen during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on November 5, 2019 in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins 5-4. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    MONTREAL, QC – NOVEMBER 05: A detail of the Boston Bruins logo is seen during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on November 5, 2019 in Montreal, Canada. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

  • But the Bruins will have to figure out what to do with Bussi, and soon, as he’ll officially become eligible for waivers in 2024-25. This one-year contract seemingly buys the club — and Bussi — more time to figure out what’s happening above him at the NHL level and where he fits into the mix.

    Bussi’s signing also leaves the Bruins with three other restricted free agent goaltenders to be signed between now and the start of 2023-24, with Jeremy Swayman, Kyle Keyser, and Michael DiPietro also needing new deals.

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