After signing restricted free agent Karson Kuhlman to a two-year, $1.4 million contract on Tuesday, the Boston Bruins announced another RFA signing Wednesday with forward Zach Senyshyn re-upping on a one-year, two-way contract that carries a $700,000 salary cap hit.
The Boston Bruins now have $7.2 million remaining against the flattened $81.5 million salary cap. General Manager Don Sweeney still needs to sign restricted free agent Jake DeBrusk and captain Zdeno Chara, who for the first time since 2006 is an unrestricted free agent. This past Saturday, Sweeney told the media that he was waiting on Chara to make the next move.
“We have communicated consistently with Zdeno and [his agent] Matt Keator,” Sweeney said. “We’re just waiting for him to initiate what he’d like to do moving forward. I feel very comfortable allowing [the decision-making process] to take the necessary time and let Zdeno make his own decisions along that route.”
Senyshyn played in just four games for the Boston Bruins this past season and notched two assists during that span. Senyshyn, 23, also had seven goals and nine assists in 42 games with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound winger has 33 goals and 33 assists in 174 AHL games.
The Boston Bruins drafted Senyshyn 15th overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft right after taking defenseman Jakub Zboril 13th overall and forward Jake DeBrusk at 14. The Bruins re-signed Zboril to a two-year, $1.4 million, one-way contract last week.
This could very well be a step up or pack up year for Senyshyn, a player the Bruins jumped off the board taking so high at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft when players like Mathew Barzal, Brock Boeser, Kyle Connor and Thomas Chabot still undrafted when the Bruins went on the clock for the 15th overall pick. During the Bruins’ five-game series loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy called on the Bruins’ younger players like Senyshyn to step up and help the aging veteran core.
“What we do need is better from the middle of our group,” Cassidy said. “That second layer of our group that has been in the league and who could be the future of the Boston Bruins. We’re not going to try to predict what’s going to happen down the road, but these are guys that can really make a name for themselves in this playoff. We’ve had a decade-long production from our top-end and our core. They show up to play every night.
What we’re looking for a little bit tonight in a back-to-back, it’s become a bit of a young legs playoff, if you look around. We need some of that tonight. That was a bit of the message today. It’s time for those guys to step up and pull the veteran core along. And what I mean is energy-wise. Obviously, Brad Marchand to me was the best player on the ice. He doesn’t need any help. He’s fine. He’s going to show up and play. Some of the other guys that we rely on were brought in, it’s time for them to pull a little harder on the rope in the game today and we’ll see if that materializes.”
That didn’t materialize and with the Bruins up against the cap already this offseason, players like Senyshyn will be depended on even more.