As evening draws in on another July 1st, a hectic day of free agency work for the Bruins, here's a summary of the action and some quick thoughts on each move to end the day.
Loui Eriksson (to VAN): This move was inevitable. While the B's would probably have kept Loui in a perfect world, sadly this world isn't it. Tardiness on beginning contract negotiations and a rumor-filled trade deadline meant that the writing was long on the wall for Loui's time here. He moves to Vancouver in a trip that will no doubt see the Bruins relieved to see their best departing player end up leaving for the other side of the country rather than a conference rival.
Lee Stempniak (to CAR): Triple the pay in his new contract meant, as we said in the report of this deal, that Stempniak was more than likely too rich for the B's blood. It's sad to see him go and he likely could have found a role in Boston this coming season - but financial concerns and a huge pay rise would have put a lot more pressure on him to perform.
Jonas Gustavsson (to EDM): The Bruins went in a different direction with their backup goalie this season, and with Gustavsson putting in some solid performances but with a performance level that ultimately fluctuated, this is a loss the B's won't be feeling too keenly.
Matt Irwin (to NSH): The former SJ Shark's departure won't raise a ripple on most B's fans' radar, after a year in Boston spent in the AHL aside from two games in October. He's...not a player the B's fans will likely miss after barely even troubling the NHL needle here, although he did have a solid year in Providence.
Zach Trotman (to LA): Trotman was given several chances on the Bruins blueline, but for whatever reason never managed to stick. He's probably the most surprising of B's FA losses not named Brett Connolly (who went to the Caps after not being extended an RFA deal) but again, is a loss that is likely easily replaced.
SUMMARY: There are no losses here the B's likely hadn't already prepared to cover - Eriksson is the big one and the question remains over whether or not the B's made the right decision, but only time will tell here. Certainly there are strong cases for all the other departures.
David Backes (from STL): This is by far the biggest B's arrival, and has the potential to be the biggest of FA. The 32-year-old American is likely pegged for a top-six role, and his arrival raises some big questions for the likes of David Krejci going forward, which we look at here.
Outside of Backes, the arrivals were all returnees/depth moves. Tommy Cross & Tyler Randell will likely strengthen the P-Bruins and provide a (very) deep depth option for B's, as will Tim Schaller from Buffalo. Riley Nash is perhaps the most interesting of the non-Backes arrivals - a fast, energetic forward with some scoring success last season for Carolina, he could be a contender for the 4th line C role this season. JM Liles is a solid if unspectacular returnee on defense, while Anton Khudobin is a known quantity as a backup netminder and will likely step straight back into that role after a solid if unspectacular period away with Carolina and Anaheim. In short, aside from Backes it's very much been a case of "stocking the lower shelves of the cupboard"
WHERE TO NOW?
There are still some big FA targets out there...Jason Demers, arguably the top FA D out there, is still looking for a team. Further down the line there are a whole bunch of players the Bruins should be looking at closely and there's always the looming spectre of a major defensive trade. One gets the sense that the dealing is far from done in Boston.
We'll be back at it tomorrow, just like the Bruins. There is certainly no reason to stop looking, and the B's shouldn't even think their job is close to done despite a busy first day.