The Boston Bruins knew headed into this offseason that a bottom-6 overhaul was extremely necessary for success during the playoffs. The B’s fourth line has been badly outplayed in back-to-back postseasons and their third line wasn’t doing enough to kick in offense, or become a big factor, when it mattered most for the Black and Gold.
The response: The Boston Bruins have signed free agents Erik Haula (2-year, $4.75 million) and Tomas Nosek (2-year, $3.5 million) to solid two-year contracts that should give the B’s more legitimate depth on bottom-6 lines that let them down too much in recent times. Haula is a 30-year-old left winger coming off nine goals and 21 points in 51 games for the Nashville Predators last season and was teammates with Charlie Coyle back in Minnesota during their younger days. The expectation is that they could team up for an effective third line combo based on past history, and Haula’s ability to at least hit double-digits in goals with his offensive skills during a regular 82-game season.
The 28-year-old Nosek is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound hardnosed fourth line center that posted eight goals and 18 points in 38 games for the Vegas Golden Knights last season. He’s a solid two-way fourth line center with some offensive touch, good on draws and the kind of player that’s going to be a hard-working contributor to a good team.
With Haula and Nosek coming to Boston, it makes sense that the Boston Bruins didn’t qualify Ondrej Kase or Nick Ritchie with offers to retain their RFA rights, and they allowed Sean Kuraly to leave via free agency to the Columbus Blue Jackets. It also makes one wonder whether Jake DeBrusk is going to get moved while seemingly without a spot in the top-9 after the arrival of the 6-foot, 193-pound Haula from Nashville.
The Boston Bruins now have $8.9 million in salary cap space, per our friends at PuckPedia, and have essentially signed up 23 roster spots with Tuukka Rask and David Krejci still without contracts a few hours into free agency.