It’s been almost a month now, but in the coming days and weeks, the Boston Bruins’ offseason really is going to ramp up.
Certainly, Don Sweeney has been busy with some behind the scenes stuff since the Bruins have been eliminated. So, what’s on his to-do list?
Make a decision on Torey Krug
This easily is the most obvious one. And obviously, the ball is not squarely in the Bruins’ court, but they need to figure out how pricey and long term they’re willing to go with Krug.
Someone is going to pay the 29-year-old a lot of money for a long time. The Bruins need to determine if that’ll be them, or at what point the decision will have to be made that both sides need to move on.
Figure out a plan with Zdeno Chara
Oh, but you want to talk about a ball being squarely in the Bruins’ court? Well, there’s the Zdeno Chara situation.
The 43-year-old longtime Bruins captain has indicated he wants to play, and he wants to play for the Bruins. In an ideal world, he’d also like to get his contract situation figured out sooner than later.
Look, Chara still can play at a high level and has been willing to play for cheap lately. He’s done so much for the organization that he deserves to determine how he wants to go out. But, of course, that’s not always how things work.
Regardless, Chara and Sweeney need to figure out the best course of action for both sides soon. Maybe they already have. Who knows.
Also figure out a plan with Joakim Nordstrom and Kevan Miller
The Bruins’ other unrestricted free agents also present interesting situations.
Nordstrom proved a valuable fourth-liner, and even on his new deal, he won’t carry a cap-crunching figure (hard to imagine him getting more than something in the $1.5-1.75 million AAV range). Are the Bruins ready to let a younger player take his spot on the fourth line for less?
As for Miller, he hasn’t played in quite some time, but judging by some recent social media posts, his leg is looking healthier and he’s moving better. There likely won’t be a massive market for a guy about to turn 33 who didn’t play at all last season, so it’s possible the Bruins could bring him back on the veteran minimum as a depth defenseman.
Get Matt Grzelcyk signed long-term
Grzelcyk is a restricted free agent this offseason, and he’s more than proved his worth.
A valuable third-pairing defenseman, Grzelcyk likely can continue to be had at a manageable figure because he doesn’t typically put up big numbers in the glamor stats department.
It would be shrewd of Sweeney to take advantage of that and sign Grzelcyk to a longer-term deal now while the team still has his RFA rights.
Make sure the organization and Tuukka Rask are on the same page
Rask has one more year left on his contract, and his name has been mired in speculation about what his future holds after his departure from the bubble.
Rask still is a Vezina Trophy-caliber goalie, and the Bruins are a team looking to keep their championship window open. It makes sense that the marriage would continue, especially since the Bruins don’t have any NHL starter-ready goalie prospects at the moment (Dan Vladar is the closest).
If for no other reason than due diligence, the Bruins and Rask need to make sure they are on the same page about the plan for this upcoming season.
Determine if they want to try to move up in the draft
You’ll remember that the Bruins had to accompany David Backes and Axel Andersson with a first-round pick in order to get out from under the former’s albatross contract.
Thus, the Bruins’ first pick in the draft this year will be 58th overall. If Boston wants to move into the first round, it certainly will cost them, so determining their approach to the early rounds of the draft is key right now.
Again, this probably is a plan that already has been established.
Find more secondary scoring — either via trade or free agency
The annual search for solid middle-six scoring continues in 2020. Maybe the Bruins can find a veteran forward with a proven scoring track record that won’t break the bank in free agency because they’re not Taylor Hall.
Maybe they land some scoring via a trade, be it a big deal or a small swap where Boston can trade from a position of depth.
Either way, the Bruins need to try and find some fresh faces to rectify the yearslong issue.