Bruins roster reset: Breakdown of contracts, pending free agents originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The 2022 NHL offseason is a pivotal one for the Boston Bruins.
There has been no indication, at least not yet, that the team is committed to a rebuild. Barring some significant changes, it appears the B's will look to contend during the 2022-23 season, which is a bold strategy given the strength of the Eastern Conference.
And did anyone watching the 2022 Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning think the Bruins are close to either of those teams?
The Bruins don't have a ton of salary cap space this summer. They have about $3.18 million in room and need to work out a contract with captain Patrice Bergeron. Aside from him, there aren't any star free agents to re-sign in the coming weeks. However, David Pastrnak's next extension looms large as a major offseason priority for general manager Don Sweeney (more on that below).
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To get you ready for a busy Bruins offseason that ramps up with the 2022 NHL Draft starting July 7, here's a full breakdown of the the team's current contract situation with 2022-23 salary figures for every player.
Under contract for 2022-23
- David Pastrnak, RW: $6.67 million salary in 2022-23 (expires in 2023)
- Brad Marchand, LW: $6.125 million (expires in 2025)
- Taylor Hall, LW: $6 million (expires in 2025)
- Charlie Coyle, C: $5.25 million (expires in 2026)
- Jake DeBrusk, LW/RW: $4 million (expires in 2024)
- Nick Foligno, LW: $3.8 million (expires in 2023)
- Craig Smith, RW: $3.1 million (expires in 2023)
- Erik Haula, C: $2.375 million (expires in 2023)
- Tomas Nosek, C: $1.75 million (expires in 2023)
- Chris Wagner, RW: $1.35 million (expires in 2023)
- Trent Frederic, C: $1.05 million (expires in 2023)
The Bruins have six forwards signed to NHL contracts who will be free agents next summer. It's a great opportunity for Boston to get rid of some bad deals and integrate some younger, faster and more skilled forwards into the lineup.
Pastrnak's future is among the biggest storylines of the offseason. He is entering the final year of his contract and could make around $10 million per season on his next deal. He has led the Bruins in goals scored in four of the last five years. Only five players in the league have scored more goals than Pastrnak over the last three seasons. The Bruins should do everything possible to re-sign him to an eight-year deal.
- Charlie McAvoy: $9.5 million (expires in 2030)
- Hampus Lindholm: $6.5 million (expires in 2030)
- Brandon Carlo: $4.1 million (expires in 2027)
- Matt Grzelcyk: $3.688 million (expires in 2024)
- Derek Forbort: $3 million (expires in 2024)
- Mike Reilly: $3 million (expires in 2024)
- Jakub Zboril: $1.138 million (expires in 2024)
- Connor Clifton: $1 million (expires in 2023)
The Bruins have five defenseman with contracts expiring next summer or in 2024. It gives the franchise a little more time to develop a couple young d-men who can play meaningful minutes at the NHL level. Top prospect Mason Lohrei cracking the lineup in 2024 would be very helpful from a salary cap perspective.
- Linus Ullmark: $5 million (expires in 2025)
- Jeremy Swayman: $925,000 (expires in 2023)
Swayman is entering the final year of his entry-level contract. A strong 2022-23 season could set him up for a decent payday. Ullmark is going into his second campaign with the Bruins. It's also the final year of his full no-movement clause. It changes to a modified no-trade clause in the final two seasons of the contract.
Restricted free agents
- Jack Studnicka, C
- Jack Ahcan, D
Studnicka's next contract will be interesting. He was supposed to be a potential top-six center in the NHL someday, but he's failed to crack the lineup on a full-time basis over the last three seasons. In his defense, he's only played 37 games for the Bruins over that span. A one-year contract and a more extended stretch in the NHL would give the B's one final opportunity to assess whether Studnicka can help them long term.
Unrestricted free agents
- Patrice Bergeron, C
- Anton Blidh, LW
- Curtis Lazar, C
- Josh Brown, D
Bergeron reportedly is returning on a one-year contract, but that news is not official yet. Obviously, Bergeron coming back is a massive boost for the Bruins. He's still an elite player who just won his fifth career Selke Trophy and scored 20-plus goals for the ninth consecutive season. Boston also is woefully unprepared to replace him given its lack of quality center depth at the NHL level and the prospect pool.
Lazar was a good pickup for the Bruins as part of the Taylor Hall trade in 2021. He played well in a bottom-six role. But like Sean Kuraly in 2021, Lazar probably can find more money and a longer-term contract elsewhere. Blidh is in a similar position. He'll find more playing time on a different team.
The Bruins have too many defensemen signed to NHL contracts, so it's hard to imagine Brown coming back.