It’s funny how free agency changes from year to year.
On July 1, 2018, the Bruins were buyers. Coming off of a second-round thrashing by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins were looking for upgrades across the board.
They were a suitor for John Tavares. They were looking for blueline help. They needed a back-up goalie. Anything was possible.
On July 1, 2019, the Bruins were...not really doing much of anything. With three important restricted free agents to sign and not a ton of cap space to play with, no one expected much from Don Sweeney today.
This time, Sweeney played it smart and did just that: not much of anything.
That’s no knock on any of the guys Sweeney signed today. They’ll all contribute in some way, be it at the AHL level or NHL level. But none is expected to really move the needle, and that’s not really what the Bruins needed.
Heading into today, the B’s had a few organizational needs to address. They needed a goalie to spend time between the pipes in the AHL. They needed some bottom-six depth with the anticipated departure of Noel Acciari. They needed some additional depth at the AHL level to replace some guys who left the organization, like Jordan Szwarz and Jesse Gabrielle.
And if you look at it, Sweeney addressed all of those needs today. None of his moves is going to get the blood pumping, but each move addresses a need in some fashion, be it big or small.
Of course, it’s fair to criticize why the Bruins are in this position, considering the fact that the reason Sweeney didn’t have any money to spend is because of the questionable contracts he’s doled on on July 1sts gone by. Still, you play the hand you’re dealt, and overall, the moves made today were fine. They aren’t huge gets. They aren’t albatross contracts.
The sneaky biggest move of the day could be Sweeney extending Connor Clifton for another 3 years. Clifton emerged as a legit player on the back-end this season, and with him back in the fold at a reasonable cap hit, Sweeney now has some flexibility to make moves on the blueline.
Ryan Fitzgerald is back in the fold as well, and this could be the year that he pushes for a bottom-six NHL spot.
Brett Ritchie will likely end up being well-liked by Bruins fans, similar to Chris Wagner. Plus, Shawn, resident Smart Numbers Person here at SCOC, says that Ritchie is “good.” Good enough for me!
With some organizational depth added and not a ton of cap space used up, the Bruins did what they could. And for once, they didn’t really handcuff themselves in the process.
A quick recap of today’s Bruins roster moves
- Forward Par Lindholm was signed to a two-year NHL deal worth $850,000 per year
- Forward Brett Ritchie was signed to a one-year NHL deal worth $1 million per year
- Forward Brendan Gaunce was signed to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700,000 at the NHL level
- Goalie Maxime Lagace was signed to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700,000 at the NHL level
- Defenseman Josiah Didier was signed to a one-year AHL deal
- Defenseman Connor Clifton was signed to a three-year deal worth $1 million per season
- Forward Ryan Fitzgerald was signed to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700,000 at the NHL level
Your thoughts on the day today? Disappointed? Satisfied? Pumped up? Have your say!