Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Mar 25, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrates his goal with left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) left wing Brad Marchand (63) and defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, and with no disrespect to what’s been done to date, but Don Sweeney’s 2023 offseason will include greater decisions than letting Kai Wissmann return to Germany and re-signing third-string goaltender Brandon Bussi.

With a staggering number of free agents, and with almost no cap space, Sweeney & Co.’s headache has only just begun.

But time is ticking. The Bruins are mere days away from the 2023 NHL Draft, which will begin with the first round next Wednesday and wrap up with rounds two through seven the next day, and are a week away from the start of NHL free agency.

How the Bruins ice a competitive roster for 2023-24 is truly anybody’s guess (though we have a rough idea who and what the Bruins will have to move off their roster), but here’s where things stand with everybody in need of a new contract.

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  • Patrice Bergeron

    Apr 26, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) gets ready for a face-off during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 26, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) gets ready for a face-off during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Florida Panthers. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • This is the big one, we all know. Bruins center and team captain Patrice Bergeron is in a year-to-year mindset, and when we last spoke, Bergeron had yet to make any definitive statement on his hockey future. Now, for what it’s worth, Bergeron had told the Bruins ahead of the start of free agency last year that his plan was to come back for the 2022-23 season. He didn’t sign his contract until August, but the sides were operating under the belief that he would be back for a month.

    The Bruins will certainly need something similar this time around, and that’ll likely be the case. Given the year-to-year basis of his situation, Bergeron and the Bruins would almost certainly sign another bonus-heavy contract that reduces Bergeron’s 2023-24 cap hit as it means to build the best possible team around him.

    The big question: Is this it for Bergeron? Honestly, I think he’s back if only because he’s still so good and so effective — and I do think there’s been an element of people almost trying to will him into retirement with constant questioning as to whether or not this is the end — and I do think there are reasons beyond the still-strong skillset that lead me to believe he’ll be back in 2023-24. If Bergeron returns in 2023-24, he will be the captain of the Bruins in their centennial season. It would also be his 20th season with the club. That would make Bergeron just the fourth player in team history to play at least 20 seasons with the Bruins, joining a list that features Dit Clapper, Johnny Bucyk, and Ray Bourque. Bergeron’s running mate of over a decade, winger Brad Marchand, is also just 53 games away from NHL game No. 1000.

    Bergeron’s most recent contract came with a $2.5 million cap hit, but with another $2.5 million in bonuses.

  • Tyler Bertuzzi

    Mar 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) skates against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) skates against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

  • What I can tell you is that Sweeney and the Bruins really want to keep Tyler Bertuzzi around. In fact, I’d say it’s clearly emerged as their top priority ahead of free agency. They love what he brings to their forward grouping, they love his chemistry with David Pastrnak, and even they were surprised at some of his other attributes. Namely his passing game.

    Keeping Bertuzzi would also be in line with Sweeney’s established MO as Boston’s general manager. When the Bruins trade a first-round pick to bring a player to town (which they did when they parted with a top-10 protected first-round pick to acquire Bertuzzi from Detroit), they do whatever they can to keep that player around. To date, the only time that did not happen was when Rick Nash retired due to concussion issues, so that wasn’t exactly in Sweeney’s control.

    Now, how they keep him around is anybody’s guess. Bertuzzi’s postseason (a team-leading five goals and 10 points) only helped his value in terms of his next contract’s average annual value, and as the father of a young daughter, the 28-year-old wing is looking for what you’d consider long-term security on his next deal. And Bertuzzi, for what it’s worth, really enjoyed his time in Boston and admitted to me that he could see himself settling down here.

    With the way the cap is expected to explode, signing Bertuzzi to a contract that comes with a $6.5 million cap hit will only ‘hurt’ for a year or two. (It won’t hurt at all should Bertuzzi produce at the clip he did upon his arrival to the Bruins, which would pace out to a 62-point campaign and likely more should his shooting return to its career norms like it did late in his tenure.) It would, however, also mean more contract shuffling for the Bruins, with names like Taylor Hall ($6 million for another two seasons) or Jake DeBrusk (entering the final year of a $4 million per year deal) likely on the table should Bertuzzi re-sign.

  • Nick Foligno

    Feb 25, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Boston Bruins forward Nick Foligno (17) looks upwards for the puck during the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 25, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Boston Bruins forward Nick Foligno (17) looks upwards for the puck during the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. (Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports)

  • On the heels of a downright disastrous 2021-22 campaign, Bruins winger Nick Foligno showed up to last fall’s training camp a healthier body and promised to show more than he did in his first year with the club. It’s something you’ll hear from almost any player who had a nightmarish year, sure, but the 35-year-old Foligno was not lying.

    In action for 60 games this past season, Foligno rebounded with 10 goals (his most since 2019-20) and 26 points, and was a valuable fourth-line piece for the Bruins throughout that run. He likely would’ve pushed for his highest point total since that 2019-20 had it not been for a knee injury that ended his regular season in late February, too.

    It’s the kind of year that’s made Foligno an interesting figure ahead of a projected jump back into unrestricted free agency, though Foligno has made it clear where he wants to be come opening night 2023.

    “I think it’s no secret, I love it here,” Foligno said. “I’ve bonded with these guys, and we’ve gone through a lot, and I’ve felt like I’ve given what I can to this group, and I hope to come back and finish what we’ve started. That’s my biggest thing.”

    After skating with a $3.8 million cap hit these past two seasons, the Bruins are going to need Foligno to take a massive haircut if he’s going to return to the Bruins in 2023-24. And by that, you’re talking about league minimum or just above it. Foligno is also 35 years old now, meaning that he would be eligible for a bonus-laden contract a la David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron a year ago, though that may not be of supreme interest to the Bruins when it comes to retaining Foligno.

    “I can’t control what Sweens, Cam, and the staff decide, [but] I think the feeling’s mutual, just got to try to figure out something,” Foligno offered. “We’ll see how that goes. Obviously, I would prefer to come back, especially with the way things ended and what I foresee for this group, there’s still a lot of great players, and it’s hard to see because there’s going to be change, but you hope to be part of it and rectify what went wrong this year.”

  • Trent Frederic (restricted)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 14: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on January 14, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 14: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on January 14, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • The Bruins waited an awfully long time for the breakout they finally got from 2016 first-round pick Trent Frederic this past season. On the board with 17 goals (and one of just two NHL players to score at least 17 goals in 2022-23 while averaging less than 12 minutes of time on ice per game, with Seattle’s Daniel Sprong being the other), Frederic was a fit wherever the Bruins put him. And the other thing that stuck out about Frederic’s game: Almost everybody he played with was better with him than they were without him. That makes him an interesting case in summertime contract talks with the Bruins.

    Now, it’s worth noting that Frederic’s shooting percentage this year was almost double his career average. So, if you have doubts that he’ll be a regular 17-goal scorer, that’s more than fair. If you’re the Bruins, you’re essentially weighing whether or not that’s the new norm and that he’s simply found his footing as an NHL player or if this is as good as it’s going to get.

    An arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, Frederic is due a $1.15 million qualifying offer this summer.

    Boston’s cap situation could lead the Bruins to aim for a bridge deal with Frederic and essentially kick the can down the road and buy themselves more time, but it’s possible that Frederic’s camp seeks a long-term deal given the goal-scoring surge he had this past season. This is a negotiation that could come with some give-and-take between the sides, with either a lowered average annual value on a long-term deal or a juiced-up number on a bridge deal given the uncertainty with his game.

    But there’s no uncertainty when it comes to the Missouri-born Frederic’s preference for his future.

    “I want to be here for as long as I can,” the 25-year-old Frederic said. “I want to be a Bruin as long as I can. I’ve had fun being here this year, been awesome, and hopefully we can do it again next year.”

  • Garnet Hathaway

    Mar 11, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) celebrates his go ahead goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 11, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) celebrates his go ahead goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Maine native Garnet Hathaway certainly seemed to enjoy his time with the Bruins, and he did what you’d ask out of a fourth-line wing, with four goals and six points, along with 70 hits, in 25 games with the Bruins following his trade from Washington.

    But after back-to-back seasons of goals in the teens (14 in 2021-22 and 13 in 2022-23), the 31-year-old Hathaway could be in line for what is the final multi-year payday of his NHL career, which is not exactly great news for the Bruins.

    “From the moment I got here, I’ve said it a few times — I felt welcomed,” Hathaway said of his time with Boston. “It was a group that brought me, Orly and Bert in as if we’d been here all season. That was how it felt. That’s how it transitioned onto the ice too, the chemistry was great with the lines we were on and the team we were with, and I think that was built from how the guys treated us and the characters in this room. It was really special.”

    For what it’s worth, the Bruins’ interest in Hathaway predates the trade that brought him to Boston. That could make him a higher-ish priority for Sweeney & Co., but the Bruins have always been careful about not overcommitting to fourth-line players in either dollars or years. It’s been perhaps one of their most consistent organizational beliefs since Sweeney took over for Peter Chiarelli in 2015, and it’s almost always proven to be the right call.

  • David Krejci

    Mar 14, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (46) skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 14, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (46) skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. (Jamie Sabau/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Back with the Bruins on a bonus-laden, low-dollar $1 million contract in 2022-23 after a year playing for his hometown club in the Czech League, David Krejci centered Boston’s second line with Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak, and produced at a more than respectable clip, with 16 goals and 56 points in 70 games. It was his most productive season since his 20 goals and 73 points in 2018-19, and his 44 even-strength points actually ranked as the sixth-most he’s had in any season in his NHL career.

    But the B’s version of ‘The Last Dance’ left David Krejci a stunned, emotional man. Speaking on the heels of Boston’s stunning first-round exit, Krejci admitted that the loss stung with the same pain that the 2019 Stanley Cup Final had. Krejci lamented the opportunity the team squandered, and was upfront about the fact that it was still ‘too emotional’ for him to talk about it.

    Reading the tea leaves in May and June can often be a tricky proposition, but my own read on this is that Krejci will not return to the Bruins in 2023-24. Firstly, his family didn’t travel with him to Boston for the 2022-23 and Krejci admitted that being away from them for almost the entire year was extremely tough on him. He actually would have left the team and returned home had the Bruins not gotten off to such a great start, he acknowledged. And the general vibe around his exit interview felt like he was truly crushed because he knew this was going to be a one-and-done for him, and there seemed to be a ‘goodbye and thanks for everything’ air around the conversation once our recorders stopped.

    Given the Bruins’ cap crunch, they’d almost certainly welcome Krejci back at a similar contract to the one he played on in 2023-24 (though they’d probably prefer to lessen the bonus impact). Krejci himself admitted that it’s either Bruins or retirement, and a decision on that front should likely come before the start of free agency.

  • Jakub Lauko (restricted)

    BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16: Jakub Lauko #94 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on September 16, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 16: Jakub Lauko #94 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on September 16, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • A surprise out of last year’s training camp, left-shooting winger Jakub Lauko certainly looks ready to take the step from part-time role player to full-time NHL talent. In action for 23 games last season, Lauko put up four goals and seven points for the Big B’s, and chipped in with six blocks and 44 hits in a fourth-line role. He was also a penalty-drawing menace.

    The 23-year-old Lauko is a pending restricted free agent, and is due a $787,500 qualifying offer.

  • Tomas Nosek

    Nov 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek (92) gets set for a face-off during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek (92) gets set for a face-off during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Another fourth-line standout, Tomas Nosek is set to hit the open market following a 2022-23 campaign that included a career-high 18 points and plus-9 rating in 66 games. Nosek also averaged 2:33 of shorthanded time on ice as part of Boston’s go-to penalty-killing forward tandem for a B’s penalty kill that finished the year as the best shorthanded unit in the league.

    Nosek, who will turn 31 years old this September, also had tremendous success at the faceoff dot, with a 59.3 percent success rate at the dot (his best figure since becoming a full-time center). Nosek was especially strong in his own end, with a 58.3 faceoff percentage in defensive-zone faceoffs during the 2022-23 season.

    Like just about every Bruin, Nosek’s preference is to remain with the B’s.

    “I really like the group of guys here so I would love to stay, hopefully we can [make a deal work], and I can stay here for sure, it’s my number one priority,” Nosek said. “We love Boston. My family loves Boston and if there’s a chance I [can] sign here, I want to stay here. But it’s not up to me right now, and we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

    Nosek is wrapping up a two-year deal that came with a $1.75 million cap hit.

  • Connor Clifton

    Jan 28, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton (75) skates with the puck during the second period against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 28, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton (75) skates with the puck during the second period against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena. (Jason Mowry/USA TODAY Sports)

  • If there’s a sneaky-big loss coming for the B’s, it’s on the backend and with the seemingly likely departure of Connor Clifton.

    With the organization for the last six seasons, the 28-year-old Clifton, who admirably took the long road to the NHL, is staring down a jump into unrestricted free agency after a season that included career-highs in games played (78), goals (five), assists (18), points (23), plus-minus (plus-20), blocks (120), and hits (208). And after what was a bargain contract that had the 5-foot-11 Clifton on the Boston books at $1 million cap hit over the last three seasons.

    If there’s a time for Clifton to maximize his earnings on a long-term deal, it’s now.

    Now, my understanding is that Clifton loves the Bruins and would take less than market value in order to return to the club, but the odds suggest that even that won’t be enough for the sides to find common ground given both the B’s cap crunch and the raise Clifton absolutely earned himself with what was a fantastic season for the versatile defender.

    One thing that makes the impending (and still just potential, of course) loss of Clifton a bit harder to swallow? His fit with Hampus Lindholm. Together for 276 minutes of five-on-five play together last season, the Bruins held an on-ice edge in shots (166-132), scoring chances (180-112), high-danger chances (66-47), and goals (19-4) with Lindholm-Clifton out there. That’s some strong chemistry, and Boston’s need for a perfect balance that puts McAvoy, Lindholm, and Carlo on different pairings seemingly confirms that Clifton would be a perfect fit for that plan to be executed at its optimal level.

    The focus for the Bruins is going to be on retaining Bertuzzi, I know, but if they can find the money to keep Clifton in Boston, they should explore every possibility, especially with right-side defense being a constant weak spot from a depth standpoint.

  • Dmitry Orlov

    CALGARY, CANADA - FEBRUARY 28: Dmitri Orlov #81 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring against the Calgary Flames during the first period of an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on February 28, 2023 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

    CALGARY, CANADA – FEBRUARY 28: Dmitri Orlov #81 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring against the Calgary Flames during the first period of an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on February 28, 2023. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

  • Defenseman Dmitry Orlov was a downright stellar addition for the Bruins.

    A do-it-all defenseman who can play both the left and right side, Orlov put up four goals and 17 points in 23 games with the Bruins following his move from DC to Boston, and added a team-leading eight assists in seven playoff games.

    But Orlov is going to get paaaaaid by a defense-hungry team this summer, and it’s hard to imagine the Bruins being the team to pull that off. Internally, the Bruins view Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, and Hampus Lindholm as their core pieces on the backend. Orlov would be an absolutely welcomed luxury, but they’re not in a position to break the bank for a luxury.

    There’s also a legitimate question as to whether or not the Bruins should give Orlov what he wants this offseason. Unable to reach a long-term agreement in Washington prior to his trade to Boston, the 31-year-old, 5-foot-11 Orlov is likely looking for the maximum term available. Given his build and his style of play, would it shock anybody if his contract aged rather poorly? The Bruins have already overextended themselves for the present, and at a certain point, you need to stop the bleeding.

  • Jeremy Swayman (restricted)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 06: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on April 06, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 06: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on April 06, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • An arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman had a simple vision for his future: He wants to be playing goalie and playing goalie for the Bruins. Everything else would be left up to his agent, he admitted.

    “I’m just taking it day by day and letting my agent be involved and take control,” Swayman said of his upcoming contract negotiations with the club. “I have no doubt it will be a fun contract and good things will happen.”

    The number that Swayman checks in at, however, may very well be one of the most interesting stories of the entire offseason for the Bruins. Led by a strong second-half surge, Swayman finished the 2022-23 season with a 24-6-4 record and .920 save percentage. His 24 wins were the 15th-most in hockey, while his .920 ranked fourth among qualifying goaltenders. Swayman’s 11.63 goals saved above average at five-on-five also ranked 13th in the NHL (per NaturalStatTrick), while his .870 high-danger save percentage was tied for the fifth-best figure among the group of 40 goalies with at least 1,500 five-on-five minutes played.

    In essence, he’s due for a significant raise.

    Two recent figures that stand out as it relates to Swayman and his next contract can be found in Dallas and Florida. In Dallas, the Stars inked 24-year-old goaltender Jake Oettinger to a three-year, $12 million contract ($4 million cap hit) last September following the expiration of his entry-level deal. The Panthers, meanwhile, inked Spencer Knight to a three-year, $13.5 million contract ($4.5 million cap hit) just weeks later. Both goalies are comparable to Swayman in age, numbers, and experience.

    The Bruins would aim to get that contract as low as possible, especially with likely Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark on the hook for another two years at $5 million per year. Given their well-established cap constraints, it’s hard to envision the 2023-24 Bruins being able to realistically have a goaltending tandem that costs over $9 million on their books.

    Given the tightness of the bond between Swayman and Ullmark, it’ll be interesting if the Bruins can convince Swayman and his camp to take a one or two-year bridge deal at a lower cap hit. The selling points from the B’s point of view: It’ll allow the Bruins to remain competitive with two strong goaltenders who have a one-of-a-kind rapport with one another, it’ll almost certainly keep Ullmark in town, and it’ll allow the Bruins to give Swayman his big payday when the cap explodes and their cap situation frees up and gets some much-needed breathing room in 2024 and/or 2025.

    Swayman, for what it’s worth, wants to see Ullmark return with him in 2023-24, too.

    “We’re both upset with what’s happened and we want to make sure that moving forward, we do whatever we can to make sure it won’t happen again,” Swayman offered. “We took so many positives this year, made so many incredible things together. Come playoff time next year, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we make it to that second round, third round, and fourth round.”

  • On the farm…

    MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 21: A detailed view of the Boston Bruins' logo is seen during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at Centre Bell on March 21, 2022 in Montreal, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    MONTREAL, QC – MARCH 21: A detailed view of the Boston Bruins’ logo is seen during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at Centre Bell on March 21, 2022 in Montreal, Canada. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

  • Jack Ahcan

    Dec 4, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan (54) watches a play against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 4, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan (54) watches a play against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    A 5-foot-8 defenseman, Jack Ahcan is slated to hit the open market as a Group 6 unrestricted free agent after a 2022-23 season that included a career-high 31 assists and 36 points in 68 games for the P-Bruins. The 26-year-old Ahcan has one goal in nine NHL games with the Bruins since the start of the 2021 season. The Bruins would probably love to keep Ahcan around as a depth option, but given his UFA status and after establishing a pro career-high in points, Ahcan could prioritize opportunity over familiarity this offseason and look for a team that gives him a greater chance of breaking out at the NHL level in 2023-24.

  • Samuel Asselin (restricted)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 23: A detail of the Bruins logo on the sweater of Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins during the first period of the preseason game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on September 23, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 23: A detail of the Bruins logo on the sweater of a Bruins player during the first period of the preseason game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    The Bruins have spent an awful lot of time developing undrafted forward Samuel Asselin as a potential depth piece. The 24-year-old Asselin is coming off a seven-goal, 16-point 2022-23 season, and has scored 23 goals and 65 points in 166 AHL games since the 2019-20 season. An arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, Asselin’s qualifying offer checks in at $787,500.

  • Shane Bowers (restricted)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 28: Shane Bowers #15 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period of their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on September 28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Avalanche 4-3. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 28: Shane Bowers #15 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period of their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on September 28, 2021. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    A midseason addition to the Providence forward group, the Bruins picked up Bowers in the deal that sent Keith Kinkaid to Colorado. Bowers, a first-round pick in 2017 and a Boston University alum, put up four goals and seven points in 20 post-trade games with the P-Bruins. An arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, Bowers is on the hook for a $787,500 qualifying offer should the Bruins want to retain his rights. At 23 years old and with 174 games of AHL experience, as well as that first-round pick pedigree, the 6-foot-2 Bowers could be looked as ‘tweener’ depth filler for the B’s.

  • Connor Carrick

    Sep 24, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Carrick (58) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

    Sep 24, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Carrick (58) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

    The right-shooting Connor Carrick, who is your classic ninth or tenth defenseman on an organizational depth chart, is set to return to the open market as an unrestricted free agent after a 2022-23 season that included Providence backend-best 44 points, along with one assist in one regular season appearance with the Big B’s. There’s something to be said for the Bruins trying to keep Carrick around — especially given his projected cost and with so much uncertainty on defense — but Carrick is a journeyman by trade, as the Bruins were his sixth different organization since 2015.

  • Matt Filipe

    BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: Matt Filipe poses for a portrait after being selected 67th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)

    BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 25: Matt Filipe poses for a portrait after being selected 67th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)

    6-foot-2 forward Matt Filipe, who hails from Massachusetts and played his college hockey at Northeastern, missed almost all of last season due to injury. But in a season of almost all bad news, Filipe did draw into action for three games with ECHL Maine, and was productive in that three-game sample, with one goal and four points. The lefty-shooting Filipe, originally a third-round selection of the Hurricanes back in 2016, will be a Group 6 unrestricted free agent.

  • Joona Koppanen

    ELMONT, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: Joona Koppanen #45 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on January 18, 2023 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images )

    ELMONT, NEW YORK – JANUARY 18: Joona Koppanen #45 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on January 18, 2023 in Elmont, New York. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Another one of Boston’s pending Group 6 unrestricted free agents, Joona Koppanen was given a five-game run on Boston’s fourth line this past season, and chipped in with one assist, two shots, and eight hits. Koppanen also had a strong showing at the faceoff dot, with wins in 25 of his 44 battles at the dot (56.8 percent), including wins in 17 of his 27 defensive-zone drops. This could be noteworthy should Nosek, a fellow left-handed center option, price himself out of Boston’s range as expected.

    A fifth-round pick in 2016, the 6-foot-5 Koppanen also established new single-season career-highs in goals (12), assists (23), and points (35) in 64 games with Providence last season, and has logged 245 games of experience with Providence since the 2017-18 season. Koppanen has certainly put in the work, now comes seeing if it’s enough to earn him another look in Boston.

  • Vinni Lettieri

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Vinni Lettieri #95 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2022 in New York City. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 5-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 05: Vinni Lettieri #95 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2022 in New York City. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 5-4. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Another ‘tweener’ type, the 27-year-old Vinni Lettieri appeared in 48 games this past season, and ranked second on the P-Bruins in both goals (23) and points (49), which made him the only Providence skater to average over a point-per-game (minimum 40 games played). Lettieri also got into one game of NHL action for Boston during the regular season, and it would’ve been more had it not been for an in-practice injury suffered mere moments after his first call-up to the Big B’s.

    Lettieri has recorded seven goals and 18 points in 83 NHL games between the Rangers, Ducks, and Bruins.

  • Marc McLaughlin (restricted)

    MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 24: Marc McLaughlin #26 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Centre Bell on April 24, 2022 in Montreal, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    MONTREAL, QC – APRIL 24: Marc McLaughlin #26 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Centre Bell on April 24, 2022 in Montreal, Canada. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    A late-season addition in 2022 following a strong collegiate career at Boston College, Marc McLaughlin seemed like an obvious candidate for a full-time role with the 2022-23 Bruins. An impressive development camp and a solid preseason made him seem like a borderline lock, too. But without the threat of waivers hanging over his status, McLaughlin was instead sent to Providence, where he spent the majority of the 2022-23 campaign, with 13 goals and 30 points in 66 games for Providence.

    The Billerica, Mass. native did appear in two NHL games for the Bruins this past season, and finished with three shots and wins in six of his 11 faceoffs. McLaughlin seems like a prime candidate to make the full-time jump to the NHL in 2023-24 given the Bruins’ cap situation, as well as the projected openings on their bottom-six forward group.

    A restricted free agent this summer, McLaughlin is due a $874,125 qualifying offer this summer. He’s also eligible for arbitration should the sides find themselves unable to come to terms on a deal.

  • Anton Strålman

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Anton Stralman #36 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2022 in New York City. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 5-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 05: Anton Stralman #36 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2022 in New York City. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 5-4. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    This feels like the end of the road for the veteran Anton Strålman. Signed as an insurance policy following his pro tryout with the Bruins last training camp, Strålman chose a potential run with the Bruins over retirement (even after the numbers game waived him down to Providence), and Strålman ultimately opted to leave Providence and go back home following the Big B’s elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Stralman, who appeared in eight games with Boston and 17 for the P-Bruins this past season, played 938 NHL games between seven different franchises over the course of a 16-season NHL career.

  • Chris Wagner

    Oct 4, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Chris Wagner (14) against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 4, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Chris Wagner (14) at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

    Banished down to Providence for the last two seasons due to his contract and the Bruins looking for more pop from their fourth line (and from two different head coaches), Walpole, Mass. native Chris Wagner will almost certainly depart for greener pastures (a path back to the NHL) this offseason. One of Boston’s top hitters throughout his time with the Bruins, Wagner played ultimate good soldier over the last two seasons, with 34 goals and 58 points in 124 games with Providence. Wagner made his post-waiving NHL returns count, too, with 17 hits in two NHL appearances with the Bruins between 2022 and 2023.

  • Nick Wolff

    Oct 4, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Nick Wolff (65) against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 4, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Nick Wolff (65) against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

    Another Group 6 unrestricted free agent, the 26-year-old Nick Wolff is coming off a 2022-23 season that featured one goal and four points in 35 games with Providence. Overall, the 6-foot-5, 223-pound defenseman has put up one goal and 14 points, along with a plus-11 rating, in 91 games with the P-Bruins since 2021.

  • Michael DiPietro (restricted)

    VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 9: Goalie Michael DiPietro #75 of the Vancouver Canucks readies to make a save during the team warm up prior to NHL action against the Calgary Flames on February, 9, 2019 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

    VANCOUVER, BC – FEBRUARY 9: Goalie Michael DiPietro #75 of the Vancouver Canucks readies to make a save during the team warm up prior to NHL action against the Calgary Flames on February, 9, 2019 at Rogers Arena. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

    Acquired from Vancouver in the Jack Studnicka trade, Michael DiPietro spent the majority of the 2022-23 season with ECHL Maine, where he won 19 games and posted a .918 save percentage in 29 appearances. DiPietro, who has appeared in three NHL games (0-2-0 with a .771 save percentage) over this pro career, stopped 33-of-35 in his lone AHL game of the year.

    A pending restricted free agent, the 24-year-old DiPietro is due $882,000 on a qualifying offer.

    Depth is never a bad thing, especially in net, but it’s almost hard to imagine how the Bruins make this one work for DiPietro without making an additional call somewhere on the organizational depth chart. DiPietro is not aided by the fact that Bussi, who is the closest to the NHL among Boston’s minor-league goalies, has another year of waiver-free hockey set for 2023-24.

  • Kyle Keyser (restricted)

    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 03: Kyle Keyser #85 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on October 03, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 03: Kyle Keyser #85 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on October 03, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Another option in what’s a crowded depth chart below the NHL level, goaltender Kyle Keyser is a pending restricted free agent after a 2022-23 campaign that included a career-high 13 wins in 24 games with AHL Providence. The 6-foot-2 Keyser, who has battled injuries throughout his professional career, has posted a 28-25-11 record with a .904 save percentage in 68 games with the P-Bruins since the start of the 2019-20 season.

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