Meet Your New Bruins: 2022 Offseason Edition

Heading into the first day of free agency, the Boston Bruins weren’t expected to make many moves. They do not have enough cap space to be big spenders, especially since they intend to bring back Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Yet, they still made some changes to start their offseason and now have six new players on their roster. Of the bunch, one stands out, while the rest will likely be used as depth. Here’s a look at the newest Bruins.

Pavel Zacha

Before free agency opened on Wednesday, the Bruins made a very surprising trade. Last year’s top free-agent signing, Erik Haula, was dealt to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Pavel Zacha. Although Haula exceeded expectations during his lone season in Boston, fans should keep an open mind. Zacha has the potential to be a very solid addition to the roster.

Pavel Zacha New Jersey Devils
Pavel Zacha, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

With Bergeron and Krejci expected to return, Zacha likely won’t be playing center in the top six. However, given his versatility, he could get the chance to take over Brad Marchand’s left-wing spot on the top line while the latter recovers from hip surgery. This would Zacha to show what he’s capable of offensively. Keep in mind that during the 2020-21 season, he recorded 35 points in 50 games. With a season like that on his resume, one could argue that he may have the potential to become a full-time, top-six forward.

Zacha will also provide the Bruins with another defensively strong forward. The 2015 sixth-overall pick has experience killing penalties and will likely be given time on Boston’s penalty-kill unit, playing at least on the second unit.

He is currently a restricted free agent (RFA), so the Bruins will need to sign him to a new contract. With their limited cap space, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them ink him to a one-year deal for the 2022-23 season. Yet, if they manage to move out some salary, that would give them the wiggle room to give him a longer contract.

A.J. Greer

Although Zacha was the Bruins’ big addition of the day, management also quietly signed A.J. Greer to a two-year, $1.525 million contract. Since it’s a one-way deal, and he will be competing for a roster spot this fall, it seemed only fair to give him his own section.

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Greer appeared in nine games for the Devils this past season, where he had a goal and an assist. However, with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League (AHL), he thrived. In 53 contests, he scored 22 goals and an impressive 52 points. Although that kind of offensive production has never translated to the NHL level, his stats are encouraging. The 6-foot-3 winger also plays an extremely heavy game, which his 102 penalty minutes with the Comets last season indicates. With all of this, he could be in the running for the team’s fourth-line left-wing position or as the 13th forward.

Although Greer is a Quebec native, he also has a connection to New England. He played two years of high school hockey with Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire and also played at Boston University with Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk. All of this likely played a role in his decision to join the Bruins.

Bruins’ Depth Additions

The Bruins also added plenty of depth to their roster on the first day of free agency. Connor Carrick, Keith Kinkaid, Vinni Lettieri, and Daniel Renouf were all signed to two-way contracts. They will all likely be in the AHL with the Providence Bruins this fall.

Keith Kinkaid Montreal Canadiens
Keith Kinkaid, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Carrick will likely be the Bruins’ primary call-up option on defense when injuries arise. In 241 career NHL games between the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, and Devils, he has 13 goals and 49 points.

With Troy Grosenick joining the Philadelphia Flyers, the Bruins needed to add a new third-string netminder. Kinkaid has a lot of experience in this kind of role, so this could be a decent signing. In 167 career games between the Devils, Montreal Canadiens, and New York Rangers, he sports a 69-58-21 record, a .905 save percentage (SV%), and 2.92 goals-against average (GAA).

Lettieri saw a good amount of NHL action during the 2021-22 season with the Anaheim Ducks. In 31 games, the 27-year-old center scored five goals and 10 points. In 82 career NHL games between the Rangers and Ducks, he has seven goals, 18 points, and a minus-30 rating.

Renouf is the only one out of this quartet to earn a two-year contract. The 28-year-old defenseman spent most of this season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, where he had 14 points in 63 games. In 23 career games split between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings, he has three assists, 23 penalty minutes, and a minus-3 rating.

Although the Bruins did not have the biggest start to the offseason, general manager Don Sweeney did at least add to the team’s depth. Zacha is, of course, their biggest splash of the summer thus far, but Krejci returning will also be a notable signing. Greer could be a solid signing, while the other four should be good assets in Providence. We will have to wait and see how these six adjust to being Bruins from here.


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