Bruins & Don Sweeney’s Offseason Priority List

Bruins & Don Sweeney’s Offseason Priority List

The centennial season for the Boston Bruins has come and gone. It was filled with much joy and celebration, as they had era nights celebrating the history of the organization. One of the most memorable ones was when the 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team was in the building, making a nice trip down memory lane. However, the ride is over and the Bruins season is finished. Despite a strong push in Game 5 to force Game 6, the late heroics by Gustav Forsling sent the Bruins home in heartbreaking fashion. However, this season was far from a disappointment and should not be looked at as such.

The Bruins lost cornerstone pieces in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci due to retirement, but also traded a key player in Taylor Hall. Losing key pieces like that is tough to come back from, but the Bruins ultimately prevailed. In what looked to be a bridge year turned into much more than that.

General manager (GM) Don Sweeney made numerous lower-budget signings, such as Danton Heinen, James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Geekie, and Kevin Shattenkirk. For the most part, all those guys played key roles in the Bruins’ successful season, where they finished second in the Atlantic Division with 109 points. But a crucial offseason awaits.

The Bruins have key players that are going to be free agents, but Sweeney will have $22 million to spend. But where does the team go from here and what should be the priority for the summer? Let’s dive in.

Locking Up Jeremy Swayman

The transition from Tuukka Rask to the next in line has been smooth and easy. Even though it has been primarily used as a tandem, the Bruins have found out who their goalie of the future is. Jeremy Swayman has put to bed any questions as to who should be the number one goalie. That’s not a sleight to his best friend Linus Ullmark, but this postseason run has solidified that he is number one. Head coach Jim Montgomery opted to not utilize the tandem and it’s safe to say that paid off. Swayman made 12 starts for the Bruins and finished with a .933 save percentage (SV%). Furthermore, he finished the postseason allowing two or fewer goals in nine of the 12 starts. That’s what you want to see out of your number one goalie and he delivered. He should be the top priority for the Bruins and the first contract they lock up this offseason.

Given the state of the team and what the Bruins could aim to accomplish with this core group, riding with the younger goaltender gives them years of being competitive and getting the best years of Swayman. Also, he has been a goalie who has gotten better with each season and has grown his game. Here’s how he’s looked each season since becoming a member of the Bruins:





The numbers speak for themselves and he is worthy of every dollar that comes his way. In addition, Boston feels like home to him. As he exited the ice for the final time, the fans showered him with love and after the game he said,

“I can’t be more grateful to have a city, to have a home base that’s as supportive as Boston.”

Swayman is the present and the future and should be the first order of business for Sweeney.

Explore a Linus Ullmark Trade

The next order of business should lie within its other goaltender. As much of a blessing it has been for the Bruins to have two number-one caliber goalies, moving on from Ullmark seems like the likely scenario. For the second postseason in a row, the Bruins rode one goaltender the entire way and this time it was not Ullmark. It is no sleight to him, who did in fact look good in the lone game he played this playoff year. But it was just that Swayman was just that good and it was hard to justify taking him out.

Ullmark has been a steady goaltender for the Bruins since signing via free agency. From 2021-2024, Ullmark played in 131 games, posting a .924 SV%, 2.28 GAA, and 49.37 GSAx. Furthermore, this is a goalie that won the Vezina Trophy during the 2022-23 season, posting the best SV%, GAA, and even scoring a goal. He will be a hot commodity, as teams are looking for a number-one goalie.

According to Kevin Weekes, Sweeney did attempt to make a trade involving Ullmark at the trade deadline, but it didn’t go through, as he blocked it due to geographical reasons. Ullmark will have a 15-team no-trade clause once the 2024-25 season kicks in and has one year left on his contract making $5 million. With teams such as the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings looking for goalie help, Ullmark is an attractive piece. Sweeney has money to spend this summer, but moving his prized goalie to help upgrade the team is a likely scenario.

Adding Depth Scoring

Head coach Jim Montgomery said it best after their second round exit against the Panthers. In his post game press conference, he said, “I didn’t sense frustration, but a lack of our ability to score in the playoffs in general. You can’t win every game 2-1.” After seeing players such as Hall and winger Tyler Bertuzzi depart from the team, the question loomed over goal scoring and who would step up in their absence. Safe to say, that was a problem and was glaring in this series.

Credit to the Panthers, as they are a strong defensive team and are great at shot suppression. However, the Bruins in general were not the strongest offensive team even during the regular season. As a team at five-on-five, they were 27th in shot attempts, 22nd in shots on goal, and finished 13th in goals in all situations. They were middle of the pack offensively and were primarily carried by superstar winger David Pastrnak.

Pastrnak put together another stellar campaign, as he showed that 2022-23 was no fluke. He finished the season with 47 goals and 110 points. The alarming thing is the depth scoring. For the second straight season, nobody other than Pastrnak surpassed the 30-goal mark. The next closest player was captain Brad Marchand with 29. This is also the second season where Pastrnak finished 40-plus points ahead of the next closest player. Simply put, the Bruins need more firepower offensively and cannot rely solely on Pastrnak for offense.

The Bruins got stellar campaigns out of Marchand, Pavel Zacha, and Charlie Coyle, but it was notably different in the playoffs and this team needed more than what the 82-game sample size had to offer. Sweeney is going to be a busy man and will have that on his priority list of things to do.

A Crucial Offseason Awaits in Boston

The centennial season was one to remember and will never be forgotten. This team defied expectations, and even saw young rookies like Matthew Poitras and Mason Lohrei emerge onto the scene. They finished with 109 points and went deeper into the playoffs than they have the last two years.

There will be things to address and areas to improve on. Swayman being locked up should be the priority. As amazing as the goalie hugs were, the time to move on has become clearer and if the team can get added scoring, they’ll be in much better shape going forward.

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