Takeaways From Bruins’ Reported Erik Haula, Tomas Nosek Signings

Haula and Nosek both figure to be bottom six pieces

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The Boston Bruins made a pair of forward signings in relatively quick succession Wednesday, reportedly adding Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek.

Haula is on a two-year deal that carries a $2.375 million cap hit, while Nosek’s two-year pact will pay him 1.75 million annually against the cap.

You can read our reaction to the reported Derek Forbort signing here. Let’s dive into some thoughts on Haula and Nosek.

— The Haula deal is great. A steady, seasoned veteran that reminds this particular writer a lot of the Craig Smith signing. While Haula is not quite as much of a shooter as Smith, he is a reliable goal scorer that has the ability to really pop off. Even at his worst, you can bank on Haula to be someone who puts up 25 points and scores double-digit goals.

— As for a fit, it seems obvious. Haula probably will go on the third line with, as it stands now, Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk. After a down season for DeBrusk, putting him with Haula and Coyle could be helpful.

Coyle, once back at full health, should regain his ability to fend defenders off the puck. Haula can make plays offensively himself, and he can both center a line and play on the wing. Even if being used as a winger, Haula’s playmaking ability coupled with Coyle’s puck-possession skills might free up space for DeBrusk to play more freely offensively.

— Haula is listed as a left winger, but he plays a lot of center. The Bruins have been adamant that they envision using Coyle as a center, but this does beg the question: Could the addition of Haula push Coyle to the wing? One case to make in favor of the move: If the collection of Haula, DeBrusk and Coyle for the third line is what happens, then having Haula pivot the unit could allow for everybody to play on their strong side. Haula is a left shot, so if he and DeBrusk are on the wings, someone is on their off side.

— Fun fact: Haula and Coyle did play together from 2013 through 2017 with the Minnesota Wild. They were a little better than the numbers might’ve suggested.

— Nosek is an interesting addition, especially since the Bruins didn’t technically need to add to the fourth line, even with the Sean Kuraly departure.

Barring further moves, it’s looking like Nosek, Curtis Lazar, Trent Frederic, Chris Wagner, Karson Kuhlman, Anton Blidh and Jesper Froden will be among those vying for the final three spots.

— If Nosek does start on a nightly basis, that might impact who else is on the line because he is a supremely offensive player. That’s not to say he is outright bad in the defensive zone, but Nosek is the rare big-bodied fourth-liner whose calling card is offense before defense.

Our vote? We’d like seeing Nosek-Lazar-Frederic. That could be a real tough unit to play against.

— Although Nosek also can center a line, we sooner see him being used as a winger. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy really seemed to like having Lazar in the middle last season, and that probably is his job to lose in camp.

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