Going into free agency, the Boston Bruins were looking to add a top-four, left-shot defenseman and they got that Wednesday when Derek Forbort agreed to a three-year contract after spending the 2020-21 season with the Winnipeg Jets.
Forbort will earn $9 million over the three years of the deal with an annual average value (AAV) of $3 million and add more depth to the Boston defense that was hit hard by injuries in the 2020-21 season.
Bruins Will be Forbort’s Fourth Team
Forbort was the 15th overall pick in the 2010 Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, where he would spend five years before being traded to the Calgary Flames, He signed in October of 2020 as a free agent with the Jets for one year and $1 million. In 56 regular-season games in 2020-21, he had 10 assists and 12 points, but sacrificed the body in each game and blocked 115 shots. In eight playoff games for Winnipeg, he had one goal.
He averaged 20:45 of ice time for Winnipeg and proved that despite 331 games in the NHL that he is a top-four blueliner. He played a key part on the penalty-killing unit playing 150 minutes shorthanded and should do the same with the Bruins.
Fit With Boston
Signing Forbort gives the Bruins a left side of Matt Grzelcyk, Forbort, and Mike Reilly, who the Black and Gold agreed to a three-year contract Tuesday to return after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline in April. Forbort will slide into the first or second pairing with either Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo. The 6-foot-4, 219-pound Minnesota native, who played three years at the University of North Dakota, should average well over 20 minutes for coach Bruce Cassidy.
Boston does have prospects Jakub Zboril, who played his first full season in the NHL in 2020-21, Urho Vaakanainen, as well as Connor Clifton that will also battle for a roster spot on defense in 2021-22.
The Bruins still have some work to do as they still need to add to their bottom-six forwards, while addressing the goaltending issue with Tuukka Rask a free agent, and who is scheduled to undergo surgery for a torn hip labrum. Rookies Jeremy Swayman and Dan Vladar are currently under contract, while Jaroslav Halak, who had backed up Rask the last three seasons, reportedly agreed to a contract Wednesday with the Vancouver Canucks.
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.