Bruins News & Rumors: Kadri, Sweeney, Bergeron & More

In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, there have been discussions about the organization potentially pursuing soon-to-be free agent Nazem Kadri this offseason. In other news, any speculation over general manager Don Sweeney’s contract status is now over, as the team announced Monday that they have agreed on a multi-year extension. Meanwhile, Patrice Bergeron’s playing career doesn’t appear to be finished just yet, as the belief is he will meet with management in the coming days to figure out a new contract. Last but not least, Zdeno Chara’s future in the NHL remains up in the air and will remain that way until September.

Bruins Could Target Kadri This Summer

Heading into the 2021-22 season, many questioned who the Bruins had on their roster that could potentially step up and replace David Krejci as the team’s second-line centerman. The hope was that Jack Studnicka would be ready to step into that role, but that proved not to be the case as he spent the majority of the season in Providence in the AHL. In the end, Erik Haula ended up being the man to grab that role, and he performed rather well in it. That said, there may be a better second-line center option for the Bruins this offseason.

Nazem Kadri Colorado Avalanche
Nazem Kadri, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

That option would be Kadri, who is coming off of a Stanley Cup championship with the Colorado Avalanche and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Barring a complete shocker, his time with the Avs will be coming to an end, as they simply don’t have the cap room to bring him back.

The 31-year-old Kadri will be looking to cash in this summer after a career year in which he recorded 28 goals and 87 points in just 71 games and seven goals and 15 points in 16 playoff outings. On top of his offensive outburst, he is also very solid defensively and is great at getting under an opponent’s skin. As mentioned by both Ty Anderson of 98.5 The Sports Hub as well as Darren Hartwell of NBC Boston, his playing style is quite similar to that of Brad Marchand, making him a prototypical Bruins-type player.

The one thing to be concerned about here is that they don’t focus simply on this past season when it comes to paying him. As good as Kadri has been throughout his career, he has broken the 60-point barrier on just one other occasion. The fact he will be 32 by the start of the 2022-23 season suggests that his numbers will regress back to what they had been prior, which was generally in the mid-to-high 50s. That said, even that type of production doesn’t become available all too often, and the Bruins would be wise to see if there is a potential fit.

Sweeney Receives Contract Extension

It doesn’t come as a big surprise, given that he still appeared to be the man in charge to this point in the offseason, but the Bruins announced Monday that Sweeney received a multi-year extension. The 55-year-old has been the organization’s general manager since 2015 and has led them to a regular season record of 313-162-61.

Related: Bruins Have Options to Clear Cap Space During 2022 Offseason

But despite the regular-season success, many Bruins fans hoped that he would be relieved of his duties this summer. The belief from that group is that he simply inherited a good core but has failed to do anything to improve it. In fact, many argue he has made things worse due to some bad draft day selections paired with a number of miscalculated free agent signings. Nonetheless, he is back and will once again try to put together a roster that can compete for a Stanley Cup in a year’s time.

Bergeron Likely to Return for 2022-23 Season

As first reported by Joe McDonald of the Telegram & Gazette, Bergeron appears to be returning to the Bruins for the 2022-23 season. Though nothing has been confirmed at this point, McDonald stated that the deal would likely be just one-year in length. Shortly after his report, Elliotte Friedman discussed where things are at between the two parties on a recent episode of The Jeff Marek Show.

“Basically, Bergeron’s on vacation right now, and he’ll be meeting with the Bruins next week to formalize this. … I think this is all going to get finalized next week,” Friedman said. “I just think that him coming back is proof that … the Bruins are not ready to rebuild. They’re going to try to get through the first few months until everyone gets healthy and then bet on themselves in the back end.”

Despite now being 37 years old, Bergeron has not shown any signs of slowing down. In fact, in this most recent 2021-22 season, he scored 25 goals and 65 points in just 73 games while also winning his fifth career Selke Trophy. Until we see otherwise, there is no reason to believe he can’t play at a similar level in 2022-23.

Chara Undecided on Playing Future

Though no longer with the team, when Chara’s name gets brought up, the majority of hockey fans still picture him in a Bruins uniform. The 6-foot-9 rearguard spent 14 seasons in Boston, with the most recent coming in 2019-20. Since departing, he has spent a season with both the Washington Capitals and, most recently, the New York Islanders.

Zdeno Chara New York Islanders
Zdeno Chara, New York Islanders (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

At the age of 45, one may expect it to be a no-brainer that Chara hangs up the skates, but that may not be the case. According to his agent Matt Keator, he is going to take some time before making a final decision.

“He’s going to take the summer with his family and assess where he’s at physically, where his family’s at, and make a decision in September,” Keator said. “No rush.” (from ‘How former Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is enjoying himself in retirement,” Boston Globe, June 26, 2022)

This past season, Chara suited up in 72 games for the Islanders, registering two goals and 14 points while averaging just under 19 minutes per game in ice time. While the 2008-09 Norris Trophy winner is no longer the dominant force he once was, the fact he is still able to play in the NHL at his age shows how truly dedicated he is to his craft.

Looking Ahead for the Bruins

With the Sweeney extension now official, Bruins fans will focus their attention on other areas as we move further into the offseason. The first, of course, will be the signing of Bergeron, though at this point, that seems to be a matter of when not if. After that, the other big thing to look for is who will land the currently vacant head coaching gig. David Quinn’s name continues to be discussed, while Greg Cronin also had an interview this past week. It is likely that a final decision will be made ahead of the NHL draft on July 7.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe