Bruins Free Agents: Loui Eriksson Again Will Be Center Of Attention

The Boston Bruins’ season came to an abrupt end Saturday when they were eliminated from playoff contention for the second time in as many seasons.

With no postseason hockey on the horizon for Boston, it’s time to instead look ahead to what should be a very busy summer for the B’s.

First up: a look at which Bruins players are set to become unrestricted free agents July 1. For a rundown of Boston’s impending restricted free agents, click here.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Loui Eriksson, right wing ($4.25 million cap hit in 2015-16)
2015-16 stats: 30 goals, 33 assists in 82 games
Eriksson should have plenty of suitors in free agency after tallying the second-highest goals total of his career and eclipsing the 60-point mark for the first time since 2011-12. His name dominated coverage of the NHL trade deadline, but the Bruins made the somewhat surprising decision not to deal him. Now, if Eriksson walks, the B’s will get nothing in return.

John-Michael Liles, defenseman ($3.875 million)
2015-16 stats: Six goals, 15 assists in 81 games (with Boston and Carolina)
One of Boston’s two deadline acquisitions, Liles gave the B’s another puck-moving defensemen but didn’t make a significant impact in his month-plus with the team. The Bruins’ D-corps likely is the unit that undergoes the most drastic makeover this summer.

Chris Kelly, center ($3 million)
2015-16 stats: Two goals, zero assists in 11 games
Kelly’s season was cut short when he fractured his femur Nov. 3. At 35, it remains to be seen whether he’ll seek another contract or retire.

Max Talbot, center ($900,000)
2015-16 stats: Two goals, five assists in 38 games
Another aging center, Talbot spent the bulk of the season shuttling between Boston and Providence. While with the big club, Talbot primarily saw time as a fourth-liner and penalty-killer.

Lee Stempniak, right wing ($850,000)
2015-16 stats: 19 goals, 32 assists in 82 games (with Boston and New Jersey)
Stempniak was Boston’s other deadline pickup, and he meshed well with first-liners Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in his brief time with the team. The veteran journeyman could be an affordable option if the B’s opt to bring him back next season.

Matt Irwin, defenseman ($800,000)
2015-16 stats: Zero goals, zero assists in two games
Irwin was toasted in two games with the B’s after signing a one-year deal last summer and promptly demoted to Providence, where he remained for the duration of the season.

Kevan Miller, defenseman ($800,000)
2015-16 stats: Five goals, 13 assists in 71 games
The high GIF-ability of some of Miller’s more glaring mistakes overshadowed the fact that he probably was the Bruins’ second-most reliable defenseman this season, especially over the final few months. The No. 1 priority this summer for Don Sweeney and Co. needs to be improving the blue line, and it’ll be interesting to see whether Miller fits into the organization’s long-term plan.

Joonas Kemppainen, center ($792,500)
2015-16 stats: Two goals, three assists in 44 games
The 28-year-old Finn earned a surprise roster spot out of training camp after making the leap from the Swedish Elite League, but he lost nearly the entire month of December to an injury and offered little production when he was on the ice. He finished the season in Providence after being sent down at the trade deadline.

Jonas Gustavsson, goalie ($700,000)
2015-16 stats: 11-9-1, 2.72 goals against average, .908 save percentage in 24 games
Gustavsson was a serviceable backup to Tuukka Rask for much of the season, but it’s hard to imagine him coming back for a second campaign with Malcolm Subban, Zane McIntyre and Jeremy Smith (another UFA) all waiting in the wings.

Others: goalie Jeremy Smith, defenseman Chris Breen, forward Brandon DeFazio

Salary cap info via Spotrac

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Boston Bruins left wing Loui Eriksson

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