The Boston Bruins have signed 27-year-old defender John Moore to a five-year contract worth $13.75 million. The deal comes with a $2.75 million annual cap hit and will keep Moore under contract through the 2022-23 season.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 1, 2018
Heading into the 2018 offseason, the Bruins were very vocal on their desire to get bigger on the left side of their defense. While Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Matt Grzelcyk were all excellent for the team in 2017-18, the clear lack of defensive ability behind Chara was a glaring hole that ultimately cost the Bruins a chance at playing in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Krug and Grzelcyk are both very good defenders in their own right but without a solid shutdown blueliner behind Chara, the team was forced to spread their 41-year-old captain thin and it simply didn’t work.
In Moore, the Bruins are getting a similar player to Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller with some better offensive upside. Moore won’t ever blow anybody away on the scoresheet but he’s recorded 19, 22 and 18 points in the last three seasons respectively, including a career-high 12 goals with the New Jersey Devils in 2016-17. Where Moore differs from McQuaid and Miller is the fact that he’s a left-shot defender who can come into the Bruins system and give them a little more depth on that side in what should likely be a bottom-pairing role.
Moore is also a very capable puck-mover who has the tools that teams look for in a modern-day NHL defenseman. While he isn’t a star, he’s certainly a solid player who signed for a relatively inexpensive contract despite the term being significant at five years.
This deal is interesting, however, as it likely means the Bruins are in the market to move a defender or two as a result of this signing. With the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Moore a lock to make the team and get playing time with this long-term contract in hand, is it possible the Bruins look to move one of McQuaid, Miller or even Krug if the right trade opportunity arises?
It’s tough to say but there’s almost zero chance the Bruins can head into the season with so many NHL-calibre players on the blue-line (adding in Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo and the team is up to eight NHL-caliber defenders on the roster. Something has to give and Bruins’ general manager Don Sweeney could just be getting started in what could be a very busy offseason.
Something else to consider is the fact that the Bruins have a number of defensive prospects on the way in the coming years in Urho Vaakanainen, Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. It’s unclear how this signing or any subsequent trade will affect their chance at making the roster this season but it was going to be an uphill battle for them one way or another. If they can prove their worth in training camp and the preseason, they could be in line for some NHL playing time.