Less than 48 hours after Game 7 in Raleigh turned up turnips, the Bruins began their farewells at their Brighton training facility Monday, cleaning out their lockers before heading to points north, south, east, west … and unknown.
Only one thing is a certainty come every Break-Up Day: Not everyone will be back. Even with Patrice Bergeron the lone significant unrestricted free agent, it will take some significant roster tweaking by general manager Don Sweeney for the Bruins to get back to being a serious Stanley Cup contender.
As most members of the varsity head out of town, a look at what may be ahead for the current roster:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jake DeBrusk
Marchand, 34 (three years/$6.125 million): Going nowhere except back for a 14th season on Causeway Street, possibly the lone holdover from the 2011 Cup winners.
Bergeron, 36 (UFA): Yet to make public his decision about whether he wants to continue his playing career, though speculation increased in recent weeks that he’ll retire. As he left the ice in Raleigh, the last to touch a puck as the horn sounded, there was no sense that he could miss out on a second Cup if he doesn’t stay around for another year or two.
DeBrusk, 25 (two years/$4 million): Requested a trade prior to the season and has not said he would prefer to stay. Had a strong second half and fair playoff, moved around again when team offense struggled. Most likely gone.
Taylor Hall-Erik Haula-David Pastrnak
Hall, 30 (three years/$6 million): His contract, signed last summer, allows Sweeney some trade flexibility, but he’ll be back for at least one more season. Great legs and can wheel with the puck in open ice, but needs more presence and finish around the net for such a hefty paycheck.
Haula, 31 (one year/$2.375 million): Very solid second half after a painfully slow start with his fourth team in three seasons. Became valued added when he locked down the No. 2 center spot. Back for sure, especially if Bergeron walks, but he is not a No. 1.
Pastrnak, 25 (one year/$6.67 million): Posted his second 40-goal season, despite being sidelined 10 games. Sweeney will try to ink him to a deal of 5-8 years, at least at the same value as Charlie McAvoy ($9.5 million). Game now at a level where he should challenge for 50 goals every season.
Trent Frederic-Charlie Coyle-Craig Smith
Frederic, 24 (one year/$1.05 million): Not much production (18 points) and occasionally undisciplined, but has some of the moxie needed throughout the forward group. Easy keep, but needs to pick up speed and overall game IQ.
Coyle, 30 (four years/$5.25 million): Fills out the No. 3 spot comfortably, but will be forced to move higher in the order if Bergeron is outta here. Has the size and some of the skills to be a No. 2, but current slotting seems best for everybody.
Smith, 32 (one year/$3.1 million): Spent time higher in the order but did not deliver. Now with only 29 goals in his 128 games since arriving from Nashville. And went the Full Thornton (0-0—0 for seven games) in the playoffs. Likely back, but could be folded into a deal, especially if Sweeney believes prized prospect Fabian Lysell is ready for next step.
Nick Foligno-Tomas Nosek-Curtis Lazar
Foligno, 34 (one year/$3.8 million): Has the smarts and character every team craves, but too little on the scoresheet to justify his paycheck. Scraped up only 13 points in the regular season and then a lone assist in the playoffs, which was where he was needed the most. Most likely will be bought out — a savings of just under $1 million.
Nosek, 29 (one year/$1.75 million): Solid budget pickup and some good bottom-six skills. Just can’t finish, which is sort of the definition of fourth lines. Easy keep.
Lazar, 27 (UFA): Some pluck and spunk, and the bet here is that he is back if he’ll take, say, $1.25 million a year, a boost from his current $800,000. But someone in open market could push him to $2 million a year.
Chris Wagner, 30 ($1.35 million): Banished to Providence for the regular season, provided a little pop and presence in playoffs. That attitude might have spared him a buyout.
Anton Blidh, 27 (UFA): Had inkling here that Bruce Cassidy might drop him into the Carolina series, subbing for Foligno. But remained out. Probably signs for another year with a $300,000 AHL guarantee.
Hampus Lindholm-Charlie McAvoy
Lindholm, 28 (eight years/$6.5 million): If not for his concussion in Game 2, the Bruins might have shimmied their way by the Hurricanes. Big, smart, has the potential to be the best trade acquisition Sweeney has made since taking office in 2015.
McAvoy, 24 (eight years/$9.5 million): One of the league’s handful of great young backliners. Offensive game yet to reach full bloom, but skills are there. Up to coaching staff now to pump up the volume, be it by his shooting more from up high or activating more into the offense from top of circles down.
Matt Grzelcyk-Brandon Carlo
Grzelcyk, 28 (two years/$3.69 million): Injury, believed to be a shoulder, limited his effectiveness late in season and playoffs. Often used in top four, but size and injury history peg him now more as third pairing/PP relief guy. Potential to be wrapped into a trade if he can be swapped for more heft.
Carlo, 25 (five years/$4.1 million): Remaining contract term an indication of how much he is valued by front office. Prone to some mental errors that were frustrating. Has legs and stick skill to do more on offense, and now would be a good time to see it. Again, up to coaches to build that out.
Derek Forbort-Connor Clifton
Forbort, 30 (two years/$3 million): Perfect fit on third pairing and played to his billing as long-sticked PK specialist. Proved to be Sweeney’s best UFA purchase from last summer’s shopping spree.
Clifton, 27 (one year/$1 million): A prize in every box of Cliffy Jack. Likes to hit, likes to be bold with the puck, though sometimes gets out over his skis. All in all, lots to like and a chance that he could push for No. 2 duty. Should be tied up for three more years at around $2.5 million.
Mike Reilly-Josh Brown
Reilly, 28 (two years/$3 million): Critical attention to detail was not there consistently, which at times pushed him right out of the order. When he’s on, he is a legit top-four candidate. When not, he’s another guy in the press box.
Brown, 28 (UFA): Deadline pickup, saw little action, none in playoffs. Unlikely to be offered new deal.
Jakub Zboril: One of the 2015 first-rounders, looked like he finally had it together until a mash against the wall in Nashville wrecked his knee in his 10th game this season. A left stick worth keeping, he was re-signed Monday to a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $1.137 million.
Linus Ullmark-Jeremy Swayman
Ullmark, 28 (three years/$5 million): Inconsistent through December, but grew more confident and effective in second half and was the right pick to start the playoffs. Also a very good fit as Swayman’s partner and fellow glee hugger. Back for sure.
Swayman, 23 (one year/$925,000): Great run upon his return to varsity once Tuukka Rask retired. Looks capable of hanging around here for 8-10 years. Prudent now for Sweeney to tie him up for three more years at total $9 million-$10 million).
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at email@example.com.