Welcome to the second edition of ‘Bruins High Five’ where we look ahead to each coming week during the Boston Bruins seasons with five key topics to focus on.
This week, the Bruins got two key pieces of business done. Both Charlie McAvoy and Bruce Cassidy will take to the ice for practice on Monday with new deals signed. That leaves one key piece of business left for GM Don Sweeney. The Bruins will also play their first preseason games of the new season this coming week, inching us closer to regular season hockey. Here is this week’s top five:
- Bruins Sign Charlie McAvoy: A key piece of business was taken care of on Sunday morning. The Bruins agreed to terms with RFA D Charlie McAvoy on a three-year deal that will pay him $4.9 million per season. In the last season of the deal, McAvoy will earn $7.3 million, which means his qualifying offer will be in the $7.3 million range. McAvoy’s new contracts sets himself up nicely for a big payday down the road, when he will receive a large qualifying offer and will be two years away from free agency. In the meantime, the deal locks up a key piece on a very friendly salary. For GM Don Sweeney, that has to be considered a win.
- Is Carlo Next?: With McAvoy signed, only D Brandon Carlo remains as a restricted free agent. There is no doubt he is next on Sweeney’s list. McAvoy’s bridge deal certainly sets the table for Carlo in terms of salary. He’s proven to be a step below McAvoy, meaning a bridge deal is likely to come in at less than $4.9 million per season.
- Preseason Begins: The Bruins will be in Newark later tonight to battle the Devils in their 2019 preseason opener. This game won’t tell us much about the upcoming season, but it will be good to see the Black and Gold back in action. This is a golden opportunity for younger players to battle for spots. Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka are both battling for a skilled position job. Trent Frederic is attempting to be a depth center. The prospects will be worth the watch in these games. Some of them could fight there way onto the NHL roster.
- Is Chara Progressing?: Zdeno Chara started camp by hinting at the fact he might not be ready to go for the regular season opener in Dallas. A week after that, the captain expressed his belief that he should be ready for the tilt with the Stars October 3. It’s not likely that Chara will see action in a preseason game but it will be worth watching to see what kind of work he gets in practice. Will Bruce Cassidy slowly work him back into things? Will the coach throw his captain to the wolves right away? Chara’s workload in practice may indicate how close he is to game action.
- Will The Bruins Make a Move?: Not many people are talking about this, but the Bruins could be primed to make a move for a top-six forward. The club is in need of a second line winger. Although they have internal options, there is no clear candidate in camp. Will Don Sweeney take some of the savings from the McAvoy deal and spin it into a top-six forward. He now has the money and the need to fill. Jesse Puljujarvi has looked good in Finland since the start of the Sm-Liiga season. The Calgary Flames might need to dump Michael Frolik for cap purposes. There are options for Sweeney is he elects to make a trade for a forward. He has the need.