With the Boston Bruins core in flux, there is an awkward transition. Boston doesn’t have the draft capital nor the prospect pool to replace the losses of retiring players or salary cap casualties. They’re stuck shopping in Free Agency to plug the gaps. This year, it came from multiple 30+-year-old players, Jesper Boqvist and Morgan Geekie.
While everyone understands that the Bruins are “aging,” why would you want to lean into that? Adding more players on the back nine of their career for the sake of keeping the winning going isn’t going to help long-term. Morgan Geekie and Jesper Boqvist signing with the Bruins was precisely what Boston should be doing more of. Adding young talent in need of more ice time or a change of scenery. Being able to take on low-cost young players looking for an opportunity to blossom will cover up your lack of a prospect pool quickly.
When we look at the Shattenkirk signing, I would argue Zboril getting an elevated role could benefit the Bruins more. Ultimately, he is making more money than Shattenkirk now. Past Zboril, a name like Ethan Bear, is still on the market, although injured, is a good young player who could bring value to the organization. Boston just had Jack Ahcan walk away from the organization due to lack of opportunity, he was one of the better defensemen in the system, attending the AHL All-Star game last season.
James van Riemsdyk and Milan Lucic could have been passed on, although you could convince me of Lucic for the Centennial Season nostalgia. Players like Jesse Puljujarvi and Pius Suter are still available and, in my opinion, would add value to the Bruins roster. Another player that was recently available, Filip Zadina, would’ve been a great option to bring in on a similar contract. San Jose signed Zadina to a one-year, $1.1m AAV deal, very affordable for the Bruins.
If for no other reason than to flip players at this Trade Deadline to try and get some draft picks back in their pockets. Which could still ring true with JVR and Shattenkirk.
Boston is in a pinch, their cupboard is nearly dry, and Draft Capital is non-existent. While there is still going to be a little salary cap pain around the league, even as the cap rises, the Bruins should be taking chances on young players in need of a change of scenery. Taking gambles on your way down the standings could result in you finding a couple of diamonds in the rough that help you turn around the retool of the Bruins core.