Bruins couldn’t afford to attend and see if marketplace for Tyler Bertuzzi would dry up


“You aren’t making an attempt to stroll a superb participant out of your lineup.”

Boston Bruins' Tyler Bertuzzi celebrates after his goal during the third period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Florida Panthers, Sunday, April 30, 2023, in Boston.
Tyler Bertuzzi opted to affix the Maple Leafs this offseason. (AP Picture/Michael Dwyer)

As quickly because the NHL free agent feeding frenzy commenced final Saturday, Tyler Bertuzzi was projected to land one of many heftiest contracts.

So when he lastly settled on a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Maple Leafs, it got here as a shock to many.

Rely common supervisor Don Sweeney and the Bruins amongst those that shared that sentiment.

“In all probability somewhat bit,” Sweeney stated. “I’ll communicate extra usually than simply speaking a few participant on one other group at this time limit. There have been gamers that had been in search of longer-term offers and my discussions had been targeted on that, and a few groups had been in a superb place to have the ability to give shorter-term offers on the proper numbers and we needed to go and fill our gaps.”

Boston was motivated to retain Bertuzzi past the 28 video games he logged in a black-and-gold sweater.

Given his age (28), spectacular postseason debut (10 factors in seven video games), and chemistry solid with David Pastrnak, the Bruins envisioned Bertuzzi as a possible piece of a reworked core. However solely on the proper value. Boston crafted an extra $6 million in cap house by dumping Taylor Corridor’s contract on the Blackhawks for defensemen Ian Mitchell and Alec Regula.

As anticipated, the Bruins and Bertuzzi’s camp weren’t desirous about looking for a one-year deal as soon as negotiations started in earnest.

“Was (a one-year deal) a non-starter if we provided a a lot larger quantity?” Sweeney stated. “Possibly not, however these weren’t a spotlight of the discussions.”

No matter longer-term deal Boston provided Bertuzzi earlier than free company opened was not sufficient to dissuade him from getting into the open market. Be it an underwhelming annual payout or a contract a number of years wanting what Bertuzzi was looking for, the top-six ahead opted to check his luck in a possible bidding conflict.

By the point presents fell wanting Bertuzzi’s expectations and a pivot to a one-year deal was on the desk, Boston had allotted what little cap house it created to shore up a number of spots on the roster with Milan Lucic, Kevin Shattenkirk, Morgan Geekie, and James van Riemsdyk.

Even when Lucic was desirous about looking for a reunion with Boston proper off the bat, the others might need been off the market if Boston waited on Bertuzzi.

“There’s a threat and reward within the technique and there have been some groups that had been within the place to attend it out. I believe it appears to be like like we’re going to have plenty of flexibility transferring ahead,” Sweeney stated. “So, it’s simply the place we’re in our cycle, and we wanted to fill some holes.”

An unforgiving market

As soon as Bertuzzi made the decision to think about one-year contracts, Boston had little flexibility to accommodate a deal.

Maybe one other commerce involving a invaluable asset reminiscent of Linus Ullmark or Matt Grzelcyk may have opened an avenue.

However after relinquishing a helpful middle-six winger in Corridor for 2 fringe blue liners, Sweeney acknowledged {that a} cap-crunched market seemingly would have seen Boston hand over one other helpful cog for an underwhelming return.

The Corridor commerce gave Boston the leeway to signal 4 gamers for a mixed cap hit of $5.05 million. However Boston wasn’t going to rid itself of two helpful veterans to maintain Bertuzzi, particularly on a short-term deal.

“Even within the Taylor Corridor [deal] the place we freed up sufficient house to do what we needed to do; you aren’t making an attempt to stroll a superb participant out of your lineup,” Sweeney stated. “We had a extremely good group this yr and we had plenty of actually good gamers. We had robust selections to make, and we’re nonetheless ready on some selections.

“So, that’s not the objective — stripping issues down — and also you see groups do this across the deadline when there have been conditions which have been decided. We’ve a aggressive core and we’re making an attempt to enhance that and permit some guys to develop. We’ve three gamers [Mitchell, Jeremy SwaymanTrent Frederic] that filed for arbitration and two of these had been on our group and an necessary a part of that as properly, that we now have to consider.”

No selections but

Sweeney had no updates on the enjoying futures of Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci. He did, nevertheless, announce that Patrice and his spouse, Stephanie, lately welcomed a brand new addition to the household with the delivery of their son, Felix … Arbitration hearings for gamers shall be held July 20-Aug. 4. Nevertheless, Sweeney is hopeful that Boston will be capable of work out contracts for Swayman and Frederic earlier than the doubtless contentious hearings. “We’re all working exhausting on that entrance. Having just about fixed dialogue with all three gamers (together with Mitchell) and representatives,” Sweeney stated. “However, we all know there’s a path and there shall be a proper resolution on the opposite facet and a method or one other they are going to be a part of our group.”