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Bruins will be ‘aggressive' this offseason to improve roster, says GM

The Boston Bruins have a very good roster and, by most measures, the team exceeded expectations this past season.

But after failing to score enough goals in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs — and particularly against the Florida Panthers in the second round — there’s no question that this group needs an infusion of high-end offensive talent.

The Bruins scored two or fewer goals in the last five of their six games against the Panthers in Round 2. Jeremy Swayman was fantastic in net with a .917 save percentage in the series and a .933 save percentage in the playoffs overall, but even that level of goaltending wasn’t enough to overcome the types of scoring issues Boston faced, both at 5-on-5 and on the power play, during the postseason

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The Bruins scored 3.21 goals per game in the regular season, then dropped to 2.38 goals per game in the playoffs. That’s a fairly significant decrease, especially when the margin for error in the playoffs is often razor thin.

“The margins are small. They just are, I mean, the final three games of the series were 3-2, 2-1, 2-1,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Wednesday at the team’s end-of-the-season press conference. “At the end of the day, the other team’s having difficulty to score, and as teams move through the playoffs, things tighten up.

“You have to find a way — we didn’t get inside quite enough in rebound situations that we might have been able to take advantage of. So there are some things that we need to address, and I need to address from a standpoint of free agency and/or internal growth. … We have to complement — I have to be able to find some players that can come in and provide secondary scoring for us at key times.”

What will be the Bruins’ approach to adding offensive firepower in the summer?

“We are in a situation where we can look to add to our core group of guys,” Sweeney said. He later added: “We’re gonna be aggressive, you know, to be able to complement what we currently have in some areas.”

Speed is one specific area that the Bruins want to improve going forward.

“We’re not as fast as we’d like to be,” Bruins president Cam Neely said Wednesday.

Unlike last summer, Sweeney has much more salary cap flexibility this offseason. The Bruins are projected to have around $21 million in cap space, per CapFriendly, and that number could grow to around $26 million if goaltender Linus Ullmark (and his $5 million cap hit) is traded.

The Bruins should have enough cap space to make a substantial addition to the roster over the offseason, and, as explained above, the biggest weaknesses are up front. This roster needs a legit top-six center and a natural goal scorer. And luckily for the Bruins, the free agent market could be loaded with some very good forwards.

The top centers who have the ability to hit the market include Elias Lindholm, Steven Stamkos, Matt Duchene and Chandler Stephenson. The top left/right wings able to become free agents include Jake Guentzel, Teuvo Teravainen, Tyler Bertuzzi, Sam Reinhart, Jonathan Marchessault, Tyler Toffoli and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The Bruins also could dip into the trade market for scoring help. They don’t have an abundance of top-tier prospects to dangle, but they do have 2025 and 2026 first-round picks to use.

Whether it’s free agency or trades, the Bruins cannot go into next season with a similar amount of offensive skill and expect a better fate in the playoffs. Sure, some growth should be expected from young players such as Matthew Poitras and Mason Lohrei, and that will help drive more offense.

But for the Bruins to compete with teams like the Rangers and Panthers in the Eastern Conference, they need to add at least one high-end forward to their roster before Opening Night in October.

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