Bean: Are offseason roster fireworks coming for the B's? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Something has to be coming for the Bruins, right?
This offseason has the potential to be Don Sweeney's most pivotal since 2015, his first as GM. Torey Krug will be free to sign with another club Friday. So too will Zdeno Chara. Tuukka Rask and David Krejci are entering their contracts' final seasons, while Jake DeBrusk headlines Boston's restricted free agents. That whole "they don't have enough wings" thing hasn't gone away, either.
So far, nothing doing.
Last year's roster was not good enough to win the Cup -- and it never was, even before the stoppage -- so whether Sweeney wants to go for broke for the coming season or just build a team that can be really good for a while, he's got work ahead of him. Doing nothing would be a disappointment and more or less guarantee another relatively early playoff exit.
The Bruins have the bones of a good team. They've got two of the best goal-scorers on the planet in David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, one of the best young defensemen in Charlie McAvoy, and still one of the best centers in the game in Patrice Bergeron. If Rask has a future in Boston, that's another major plus.
So these next few days will be interesting. The Bruins entered the offseason without many realistic trade chips, and they didn't do themselves any favors when it came to stocking the cupboard for future trade capital.
The Bruins' first pick, defenseman Mason Lohrie at No. 58 overall, probably won't be that any time soon.
Colin Cudmore, a Senators blogger, compiled 50 different collections of prospect rankings as a means of knowing where each player was ranked on average. That way, as soon as Player X was taken with Pick Y, there was a quick resource for determining whether the pick would be considered a reach, steal or anything in between.
The Bruins' first pick, at No. 58, provided a first for this year's draft: He was the only player completely unranked on all 50 lists.
As is always the case, we don't know spit about the prospect and won't pretend we do. Here's what I'm assuming though: Even if there was another team or two that liked this kid enough that they would have drafted him -- or even taken him in the third round -- that probably isn't a very long list.
So maybe Lohrie becomes a star player at some point down the road, but in the meantime, he won't be much of a trade chip. "This guy was taken in the second round" probably won't mean much if you're talking with a team that wouldn't have drafted the guy.
So now, assuming Krug's gone, the Bruins could try to spend in free agency -- which has largely not been a strong suit of Sweeney's -- or try to swing some trades. Josh Anderson, a scorer from the Blue Jackets who made sense for the Bruins given their infatuation with size, was dealt to Montreal.
Ekman-Larsson? I don't get it. He costs $8.25 million against the cap, so while he would bolster Boston's first or second pairing, the Bruins would just be spending more to replace Torey Krug when defense isn't their biggest need.
The Bruins should just try to buy more time, which is tricky considering their goalie is in the last year of his deal and they don't have a replacement ready to take over. I won't quite say the same for David Krejci, as ideally, Jack Studnicka contributes as a right wing -- which is a big need -- for the coming season, then moves to his natural position of center if and when Krejci departs.
If scoring isn't addressed via trade, there are the Dadonovs and Hoffmans out there in free agency, but another intriguing option is Taylor Hall. Common sense says he'd cost way too much, but Chris Johnson of Sportsnet reported Hall, the 2018 Hart winner, will entertain one or two-year deals given the COVID-depressed market.
With $14.4 million in cap space, according to Cap Friendly, the Bruins do have the dough to add an impact player or two, depending on whether they ship out DeBrusk or re-sign him. In a perfect world, they get DeBrusk on a team-friendly bridge deal and, after re-upping Matt Grzelcyk, spend the savings on more scoring.
There's potential for fireworks here. In an especially strange offseason, we'll see what Sweeney can do.