Earlier this week, we took a look at the best contracts that the 2022-23 Boston Bruins have. Now it’s time to go in the other direction and look at some of the worst contracts that general manager (GM) Don Sweeney has on the books.
This season is the final season for several Bruins who are playing in the final year of their contracts. With a veteran roster, if the championship window does not close this season, it’s certainly around the corner. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the worst contracts that could come back to haunt the Black and Gold this season.
Contract: Two years, $7.6 million
Years Left: 1
AAV: $3.8 million
Was there any other place to start than with Nick Foligno? In the summer of 2021, Sweeney went on a massive spending spree and one of three veteran forwards brought in to give the bottom six a makeover was the 34-year-old Foligno. The first season was not pretty, to say the least. In 64 regular season games, the 28th overall pick in the 2006 Entry Draft had two goals, 11 assists, and a plus/minus of minus-11.
It’s been noted several times that the Bruins were a cap team this summer, which limited Sweeney’s moves to improve the roster. One way to create some roster flexibility was to buy out Foligno, but the buy-out period passed with him still in the plans for the upcoming season. First-year coach Jim Montgomery is hoping that Foligno can have a bounce-back season and be a leader of the bottom six with energy shifts. Regardless of what happens, the former Columbus Blue Jackets captain has the sixth highest average annual value (AAV) of the current forwards.
Contract: Six years, $31.5 million
Years Left: 4
AAV: $5.25 million
When Sweeney traded for Charlie Coyle at the trade deadline in 2019 with the Minnesota Wild, it turned out to be a great deal as he played a big role in the Bruins’ run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues. In 24 postseason games, he had nine goals and seven assists. The following November, he was rewarded with a six-year extension with $31.5 million.
That is a lot of money to shell out for a third-line center. Last season he was named the No. 2 center behind Patrice Bergeron after David Krejci left to continue his career in the Czech Republic and Coyle struggled in the top six. On Jan. 1, he was dropped down to the third-line center and played better, but paying him $5.25 million a season is some serious money for a third-line center. With four years still remaining on the deal, the Boston native has the fourth highest AAV of the forward grouping this season.
Contract: Two years, $3.5 million
Years Left: 1
AAV: $1.75 million
It’s not the worst contract that is on the books, but Tomas Nosek was the third and final bottom-six veteran brought in during the 2021 summer and in reality, he’s blocking a spot that could be used for Jack Studnicka. The 30-year-old was buried on the fourth-line last season, occasionally moving up to the middle-six and became a reliable penalty-killer.
Related: Bruins’ 5 Best Contracts for 2022-23
Studnicka was brought back this season on a two-year, $1.525 million contract with an AAV of $762,500, which is cheaper than Nosek. The Bruins have been waiting for Studnicka to take the next step in his development and translate his game to the NHL, but he’s being blocked by veterans such as Nosek. In reality, the Bruins could afford both Studnicka and former fourth-liner Curtis Lazar, who signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks for three seasons with a $1 million AAV, for what they’re paying Nosek.
Contract: Four Years, $20 million
Years Left: 3
AAV: $5 million
Another member of the Bruins’ 2021 free agent class, Linus Ullmark struggled at the beginning of last season, before turning it around and forming one of the better goaltending duos with Jeremy Swayman. It remains to be seen if he can have a repeat performance this season, but regardless, his $5 million AAV is a lot to stomach for a cap team.
During his career, injuries have slowed him down and they have not allowed him to have solid back-to-back seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. He has three years remaining on his contract and if Swayman ends up becoming the goalie of the future, the Bruins will have a lot of money tied up for a 1B goalie or a backup.
Handing out contracts to current players on the roster such as Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm has been a strength of Sweeney’s, but his free agent success has not always been great. These contracts certainly tied the Bruins’ hands this summer by being a cap team.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.