BRIGHTON, MA – The Boston Bruins ended the first day of the NHL free agent frenzy without contracts in hand for either Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci despite evolving talks with both longtime Boston players.
B’s general manager Don Sweeney said things were in “a good place” with 36-year-old Bergeron on an incentive-laden one-year deal while the Boston Bruins were still working on a landing spot for a similar one-year contract with 36-year-old Krejci. The fact both players, who would be their top two centers, haven’t signed yet leaves uncertainty where the team would undoubtedly have liked something official at this point, and now that’s combined with an unsigned new player in RFA Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak without a new extension beyond this current season as well.
That’s a lot of unknowns on a day when most NHL teams have locked things up, or close to it anyway, for the upcoming hockey season. It’s also a lot of unsigned players with a tick over $3 million in salary cap space even after shipping out Erik Haula for the unsigned Zacha in a move that feels like it’s a precursor for bringing in back both Bergeron and Krejci.
“Nothing has changed. There is no update right now in terms of finalizing anything,” said Sweeney. “I think we’re in a really good place with Patrice. It’s just the timing and working out the details of his contract and allowing him to declare that he’s good to go. It could be any timeframe there.
“It’s just working through some of the stuff and letting this day pass. He’s the only one that’s going to make that final announcement because he has the final say. With David Krejci we’ve had numerous discussions throughout the day, we’re going to try and continue to find some common ground. We remain positive, but we just don’t have a clear-cut answer for you.”
The good news is that the Boston Bruins did something on Wednesday by executing the Pavel Zacha trade and signing former BU forward AJ Greer to be in the mix for a possible fourth line role this season. The bad news is they really didn’t get much else done with a lot of questions about two of the most important players for next season’s roster with a free agency frenzy game plan that seemed pretty clearly tailored to making one more run with Bergeron and Krejci.
At least the 25-year-old Zacha serves as something of an insurance policy as a 25-year-old center that’s a former top-10 pick in the 2015 NHL draft, stands 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds and is coming off 15 goals and 36 points in 70 games for a New Jersey Devils team that had their struggles last season. But nobody is going to truly feel good about what the Boston Bruins are doing until they’ve at the very least got Bergeron and Krejci locked up and hold an ironclad grasp on what this hockey team is going to look like next season.
Don Sweeney indicated that both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci contracts are going to be in the 1-year, lower salary with incentives structure fairly common with 35+ NHL players
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) July 13, 2022