There are still some major questions about what the Bruins will look like in 2023-24, but we got a lot of answers over the last week.

Don Sweeney and the Boston front office had a major task ahead of them, and they have spent the last week trying to build a roster that once again can contend for a Stanley Cup.

Turnover was more than expected. The Bruins had a handful of free agents, especially after their all-in trade deadline, and they didn’t have a ton of salary cap room to re-sign those players. As such, all of their top free agents have departed, and the B’s also traded Taylor Hall to get some more financial breathing room.

The movement was slightly dizzying, so here’s a quick recap as it stands after the first few days of trading, the draft and NHL free agency.

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LW Milan Lucic
C/RW Morgan Geekie
LW James van Riemsdyk
C Patrick Brown
D Kevin Shattenkirk

LW Tyler Bertuzzi
LW Taylor Hall
RW Nick Foligno
D Dmitry Orlov
D Connor Clifton

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As you start to project the opening night roster, one thing is abundantly clear: A lot can change between now and October. Sweeney said as much Saturday in his post-frenzy press availability, noting the Bruins have a group of young players — especially up front — who could make a real push for playing time at the NHL level. All it takes is one great camp and exhibition slate for a player like John Beecher or Marc McLaughlin to force the Bruins’ hand.

Then there’s the elephant in the room. For the sake of this projection, we will operate under the assumption that the Bruins won’t have Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci back in the fold next season. We feel comfortable doing so considering the Bruins, notably president Cam Neely, have said they were attacking free agency under the same assumption.

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Here’s a crack at projecting the roster, beginning up front.


Brad Marchand — Charlie Coyle — Jake DeBrusk
James van Riemsdyk — Pavel Zacha — David Pastrnak
A.J. Greer — Trent Frederic — Oskar Steen
Milan Lucic — Morgan Geekie — Jayson Megna/Patrick Brown

This is operating under the assumption the Bruins hammer out something with Frederic, who is a restricted free agent. Frederic obviously has played a lot of wing in his career, but Sweeney himself mentioned Saturday that Frederic is going to play center. He slides right in on the third line with a couple of familiar faces. The completely revamped fourth line is the biggest guessing game. Geekie and Brown can both play wings despite being listed on the roster as centers. One imagines the fourth line will be a bit of a revolving door, and again, a youngster could make things interesting, too. Playing Geekie in the middle gives the Bruins some undeniable size symmetry. In this projection, each of the Bruins’ four centers measures at least 6-foot-3. This forward group, especially with the additions of Lucic, van Riemsdyk and Geekie (all listed at 6-foot-3 and at least 200 pounds), gives Boston a considerable boost in size.

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Oh, and if Bergeron and/or Krejci were to come back, this group ends up very comparable to last season.


Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm — Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort — Kevin Shattenkirk

On paper, not much changes here. The top two pairings are the same duos Jim Montgomery used to start Game 7 against Florida. Obviously, Shattenkirk is a downgrade from the departed Orlov. It’s probably worth mentioning, though, that Orlov was a bit of a luxury last season as a midseason addition. They would be better with him back, of course, but it’s still a decent group. Shattenkirk is a battled-tested veteran who, if he can stay healthy, is probably a worthwhile third-pairing guy. The problem with his role — and this really is applied to the entire roster — is that if there are other injuries, it thrusts him into a role for which he’s not suited. Additionally, any conversation about the Bruins’ defensive outlook, now and moving forward, must involve Mason Lohrei. Arguably the team’s top prospect, Lohrei turned pro and impressed in limited action last season. He’s got a big frame, and if he keeps adding to it and his skill set, he should be in consideration if and when the depth is tested.

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Linus Ullmark
Jeremy Swayman

Maybe there’s a universe in which one-half of the Jennings Award-winning goaltending duo wouldn’t be returning because of a trade. The time for that, though, seems to have passed. It appears the Bruins have accounted for Swayman’s RFA deal, and that could be a goodwill short-term deal with the assumption and belief he gets a bigger deal next year when Boston’s cap situation is much clearer.

Featured image via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images