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Boston Bruins 2021 Offseason Overview

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The Boston Bruins and general manager Don Sweeney were very busy with this offseason. The Bruins had some interesting storylines this offseason. They are bringing back many faces to the roster for the upcoming season along with bringing in some fresh faces to replace players that have moved on from the team for now. Signing six new players, the Bruins roster will look very different than it did just two months while Boston was playing in the playoffs. The new Bruins will fill an important role in the ultimate mission of winning a Stanley Cup.

New Bruins Skaters

As free agency loomed ahead Don Sweeney and the rest of the Boston Bruins management team knew that they had to add a couple of things. First off they needed to add some more defensemen, some grit added to their lineup and a little depth scoring. 

Their first signing of the day was defenseman Derek Forbort. The former 15th overall pick at the 2010 NHL draft started his NHL career with the Los Angeles Kings. He played parts of five seasons with the Kings. Since then he played part of a season with the Calgary Flames and then played one whole season with the Winnipeg Jets. He has compiled eight goals, 57 assists for 65 points in his 331 NHL career. Forbort’s strong play over his six-season career earned him a three-year contract with an AAV of three million dollars. 

As a knowledgeable veteran Forbort will be a leader on and off the ice for the Bruins younger defensemen. Not only will he be a leader for the Bruins young players he will also be a solid addition to the Bruins now depleted defensive core. After Kevan Miller retired and Jeremy Lauzon was picked by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft, Forbort’s addition to the team was a much-needed one. Playing an average of 20 minutes a game, Forbort will most likely be used in a top-four role and on the penalty kill for the Bruins.

The second and third players the Bruins added via free agency were actually both drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights back when they were first coming into the league. Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek both reunite as they join the Boston Bruins ahead of the 2021-22 season. The more notable player of the two is obviously Erik Haula but both players will be a crucial addition to the Bruins lineup. 

Tomas Nosek is a 28 year old forward out of the Czech Republic. He has also played six seasons in the NHL for two different franchises. Starting his career with the Detroit Red Wings he played in 17 games scoring just 1 goal. He then was drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in their expansion draft. In his four seasons with the Golden Knights, he played in 240 games and scored 31 goals and 34 assists. Last season with Vegas he had the best season of his career as he scored eight goals and 10 assists in 38 games. Hoping to build off his career season, Nosek joins the Bruins looking to push for more consistent playing time. He most likely will find himself playing a fourth-line checking role on the Bruins as they lost Sean Kuraly today due to free agency. Hopefully, Nosek can find success with Bruins playing good defense while chipping in some offense once in a while. 

Erik Haula was the other former Vegas Golden Knight the Bruins drafted. After spending one season with the Nashville Predators he is leaving to come to Beantown. Spending eight seasons in the NHL Haula has played for five teams and when he makes his debut for the Bruins he will officially make it his sixth. Playing in 456 career games, Haula has collected 94 goals and 102 assists. Haula has shown he has the ability to produce points at the NHL level.  He will play in either the Bruins third or fourth line and add to their depth scoring.

The fourth and final skater added by the Bruins on the first day of free agency was Nick Foligno. The veteran and former Columbus Blue Jackets captain have spent the last 14 years playing hockey in the NHL. Playing parts of his career with the Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Toronto Maple Leafs, Foligno has racked up 957 games, 203 goals, and 283 assists. With the Bruins, Foligno will add some much-needed sandpaper that will be a hard forechecker that opponents will fear. Bruins fans should expect about 25-30 points from Foligno as he will most likely play on the third line.

New Bruins Starting Goalie

With Tuukka Rask seemingly ending this chapter of his NHL career thanks to surgery that will sideline him for the next six or seven months, the Bruins needed to find a new starting goalie. They found their man in former division rival Linus Ullmark. The former Buffalo Sabres goalie signed a four-year contract in which he will be making five million dollars a season. Last season with Buffalo Ullmark played his way to a winning record and .917 save percentage and 2.63 goals against average. Both are very respectable stats but could be improved with a better team in front of him. The Bruins are exactly that. Miles better than the Sabres, Ullmark should thrive with his new team. It would not be shocking if he posts career highs in wins, save percentage, and goals against average. Ullmark split the crease with emerging star Jeremy Swayman. Showing him the ropes of being an everyday starting goalie the tandem should work well together forming a formidable one-two rotation. 

Bringing Back the Trade Deadline Acquisitions

Mike Reilly will be returning to the Boston Bruins as he has just signed a new three-year contract. His new contract will be worth nine million dollars at an average annual value of three million dollars per season. The defenseman was acquired by the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline in 2021. 

In his short stint with the Bruins, he racked up a bunch of assists and played solid defense in the Bruins run to the playoffs. Playing in 15 regular-season games with the Bruins Reilly was unable to score any goals but he did get eight assists. In the playoffs, he continued his strong play but adding four assists in 11 games.

Taylor Hall was the other major piece the Bruins added at the trade deadline. Inking a four-year extension in the offseason Hall will be a major part of the franchise for the foreseeable future. At a cap hit of just six million dollars, the contract allows the Bruins to splurge on playmakers to get Taylor Hall the puck. 

In 16 regular-season games in Beantown Hall scored eight goals and six assists. The 14 points in his regular-season career with the Bruins was a strong building block for the playoffs. In 11 playoff games, Hall scored three goals and two assists. The five points helped the Bruins advance to the second round. 

After a strong beginning to their, Bruins careers Taylor Hall and Mike Reilly will look to build off that success and lead the Bruins to the ultimate goal of winning a Stanley Cup.

Major Losses

Despite the excitement around bringing the new players to the team, Bruins fans were truly saddened when some major pieces of the franchise left in the offseason. Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase, and Sean Kuraly all departed this offseason. 

Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase, and Sean Kuraly all left this offseason to join another NHL franchise. After being acquired by the Anaheim Ducks during the 2019-20 season Ritchie and Kase spent the last season and a half with the Bruins. Kase totaled one assist in just nine regular-season games. In the playoffs, he played 11 games and got four assists. Ritchie scored one goal and one assist in his first seven Bruins regular-season games. In the playoffs, he played eight games and scored just a single game. This season he broke out and scored 15 goals and 11 assists in 56 regular-season games. The 2021 playoffs were not the best for Ritchie as he totaled just one goal and three assists. The two joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in the offseason leaving their Bruins careers in the past. 

Sean Kuraly left the Bruins to join his hometown team in the Columbus Blue Jackets. Kurally spent parts of five seasons with the Bruins playing in 270 games scoring 24 goals and 44 assists for 68 points. Signing a four-year contract worth 10 million dollars with Columbus Kuraly will bring his gritty playstyle back home.

Tuukka Rask and David Krejci are lifelong Bruins that stepped out away from the Bruins franchise this past offseason. Tuukka Rask and David Krejci have not shut the door on a possible return to the Bruins in the future but for now, they aren’t on the roster. David Krejci returned to the Czech Republic to play for HC Olomouc. Tuukka Rask is stepping away from the Bruins as he recovers from a surgery that he had during the offseason to fix a lingering injury that has plagued him for the past couple of years. Hopefully, they will return soon but for now, Bruins fans will miss as they are not on the roster right now.

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Clancy Golden is one of the biggest hockey fans in the world. He loves writing and watching the beautiful sport of hockey.