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Ullmark, Swayman, DeBrusk, Maroon talk future at Bruins break-up day

Ullmark, Swayman, DeBrusk, Maroon talk future at Bruins break-up day originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins held their annual break-up day Sunday, where players meet the media for the final time before the offseason truly begins.

It's going to be an interesting, and potentially busy, summer for the Bruins. They have more than 10 players able to become an unrestricted or restricted free agent in July.

Boston is projected to have around $21 million in salary cap space, which is a lot more than general manager Don Sweeney had at his disposal last summer.

Not all of that money will be used on outside additions, though. The Bruins need to re-sign goalie Jeremy Swayman. They also have to figure out which of their other free agents are worth bringing back.

Here's a roundup of what notable Bruins players said about their future with the franchise during the break-up day media availability Sunday. All of these players, except Ullmark, can become free agents in July.

Linus Ullmark, G

Figuring out Ullmark's future is among the top priorities for the Bruins this summer. Jeremy Swayman established himself as the team's No. 1 goalie in the playoffs with a fantastic performance. He was Boston's best and most valuable player through two rounds.

Swayman is five years younger than Ullmark and is a restricted free agent this offseason. If he signs an extension with the Bruins that carries a cap hit of $5 million or more, then the team would be dedicating $10 million or more in salary cap space to the goalie position when you account for Ullmark's $5 million cap hit.

It makes little sense for the Bruins to use that much cap space on goalies, especially when other roster needs -- such as adding another top-six forward -- need to be a priority. Trading Ullmark and clearing his cap space from books, and maybe getting some assets (like draft picks) in return, would be the best-case scenario for the Bruins.

“My future here? I’ve got one more year," Ullmark said Sunday, per a team-provided transcript. "I'm very excited about what's to come. We’re in for a heck of a summer. I'm very motivated, mixed in with some revenge, obviously some inspiration this fall, but most of all, excitement of what's to come. Obviously, everybody thinks about, for me personally, that it was a year that wasn't as good as it was prior. For me, though, it's all about personal growth, and I learned a lot about myself and different aspects of the game and also how I am as a human being.”

Ullmark also talked about being involved in trade rumors for the first time in his career and how difficult it was navigating that situation. It sounds like his preference is to stay in Boston. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

"Like I said, I have one more year. I wouldn't want anything else than to come back here, get a bit of a revenge tour," Ullmark said.

Ullmark has a 16-team no-trade list in his contract, so he has some control over the process if the Bruins try to move him.

Jeremy Swayman, G (RFA)

Swayman is a top 10 goalie and just 25 years old. He led all netminders with a .933 save percentage through two rounds of the playoffs.

Working out a long-term extension with him needs to be a top priority for the Bruins this offseason.

"I'm confident that my agent and I and management will figure out the details this summer," Swayman said Sunday. "I'm looking forward to it."

Jake DeBrusk, LW/RW (UFA)

DeBrusk is the most notable Bruins forward able to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. He can be very inconsistent, but he has made great strides defensively and as a penalty killer. He has scored 20-plus goals three times in his career. Those players aren't easy to find and aren't cheap to acquire.

It sounds like DeBrusk wants to stay in Boston.

"I see a path here," DeBrusk said Sunday, via The Boston Globe. "I mean, I think I said it all year. I still have hope and if you told me at the beginning of the year I’d be here without a contract, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But at the same time, I mean I’ve always loved my time here. There’s a lot of great memories even from my rookie season to now, seventh year, I guess, in the playoffs."

Pat Maroon, LW/RW (UFA)

Maroon was a trade deadline acquisition for the Bruins and played his role pretty well. He brought experience and toughness to the bottom-six group. The veteran left wing didn't provide much offense, but he also didn't make his debut with the B's until the last couple games of the regular season. Before that, he was recovering from back surgery in February.

Danton Heinen, LW/RW (UFA)

Heinen's second stint in Boston was a successful one. He signed for just $775,000 in October and tallied 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 74 games, while providing important versatility by playing multiple positions and on multiple lines throughout the season. It was actually one of the best bargain contracts in the league this season.

Has he talked with the team about a potential extension?

"No, not yet. Obviously, the season just ended, so hopefully that will be coming in the future," Heinen said, per a team-provided transcript.

Would he be open to getting something done before July 1?

“Yeah, I mean, I would like to, but we'll see what happens and we’ll see how those talks go.”

James van Riemsdyk, LW (UFA)

Van Riemsdyk signed with the Bruins in free agency last summer and provided solid bottom-six depth. His scoring production dried up late in the year, though. He closed the regular season with zero goals in his final 20 games, and then he scored only once in 11 playoff games.

What is he looking for in free agency this offseason?

“I think for sure, at this stage of my career, it's all about having a chance to win and obviously being in a place where it's a good fit as far as with what you bring to the table and the role that maybe you're going to be envisioned and try to obviously align a lot of that, so I loved my time here this year," van Riemsdyk told reporters Sunday, per a team-provided transcript.

"Certainly would love it if I was able to come back. So, obviously, all that stuff kind of gets worked out over the course of the summer and things like that. But I can't say enough good things about my experience here and about the group of guys that we have here and the staff and things like that. So it was, again, that whole atmosphere was awesome. So a great experience overall.”

Derek Forbort, D (UFA)

After playing 76 games in his debut season with the Bruins, injuries limited Forbort to just 54 games in 2022-23 and only 35 this year. The 32-year-old defenseman is eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer.

Would he like to return to the Bruins?

“Yes, definitely," Forbort told reporters Sunday, per a team-provided transcript. "Jim (Montgomery) is someone that I love playing for, the way he thinks about the game and the way he explains things. I love the guys in the locker room. I’ve been on other teams and this is a pretty special group in here.”

Matt Grzelcyk, D (UFA)

It was a tough season for Grzelcyk. He revealed Sunday that he tore his oblique earlier in the season, which is why he had to go on long-term injured reserve. Grzelcyk didn't make much of an impact in the playoffs. He played in three games against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, with Game 5 of that series being his final appearance of the season.

Grzelcyk is able to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Massachusetts native has spent his entire career with the Bruins.