Revisiting Bruins’ 5 Bold 2022 Offseason Predictions

Entering the 2022 offseason for the Boston Bruins, there were many questions surrounding who would be gone, who might come back, and what the roster would look like for the 2022-23 season. After what could be considered a quiet summer, the Black and Gold are ready to embark on a season filled with questions with Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk missing the beginning of the season recovering from surgeries.

In early June, I wrote a bold predictions piece for the Bruins’ 2022 offseason. Let’s look at how my predictions worked out with the offseason in the rearview mirror. 

Jake DeBrusk Gets Traded

When it was revealed that Jake DeBrusk requested a trade last season, it was only a matter of time before general manager (GM) Don Sweeney traded the left wing. On the day of the trade deadline in March, DeBrusk and the Bruins agreed to a two-year, $8 million contract extension, which at the time would make it easier to trade the 14th overall pick of the 2015 Entry Draft and take his $4.41 million qualifying offer he was due with whichever team he was on as he was a restricted free agent (RFA) off the table. 

Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins
Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Sweeney held on to DeBrusk and the Bruins benefitted from him having a strong second half of the 2021-22 season and he finished with 25 goals. In July, it was reported that DeBrusk rescinded his trade request, and now entering the season, he is seen as a vital part of the top-six forward grouping. He just finished a strong camp and preseason, looking like a totally different player. Sometimes the best moves are not the ones made.

Bruins Hire Jay Leach as Next Head Coach

In early June, the Bruins made a stunning announcement that they had fired Bruce Cassidy with a year remaining on his contract. It took the Bruins over a month to find his replacement, and after Cassidy got the head coaching job with the Vegas Golden Knights, before naming Jim Montgomery their next head coach

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Former Providence Bruins coach Jay Leach was interviewed for the position and would have been a good hire as he coached most of the younger Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL), but the front office went with Montgomery. A successful college and USHL coach where he won championships at each level, Boston is Montgomery’s second NHL stop as a head coach after a year and a half with the Dallas Stars. He most recently was an assistant coach on Craig Berube’s staff with the St. Louis Blues where young players Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou thrived under his watch. The Bruins are hoping he can do the same with some of their younger players.

Bruins Buy-Out Nick Foligno

One of five free agent signings by Sweeney in the summer of 2021, Nick Foligno was handed the biggest contract of the three forwards brought in, but he had the worst season of the trio. Erik Haula played very well on the second line and even though Tomas Nosek struggled, he provided the Bruins with some serviceable shifts. Foligno was a different story, mainly because of his contract.

Nick Foligno Boston Bruins
Nick Foligno, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Bruins were a cap team this summer and one way to open some cap space would have been to buy-out Foligno, which they did not due. In fact, Montgomery has plans for the veteran forward who is carrying a whopping $3.8 million average annual value (AAV) on the second year of his two-year, $7.6 million contract. Sunday, the Bruins placed him on waivers, but he cleared on Monday after not being claimed by another team.

Bruins Trade Mike Reilly

It’s no secret that the Bruins have an abundance of left-shot blueliners and moving them in a deal this summer would have made sense. Mike Reilly of the group would have been the logical move and upped the chance they get something in return. Instead, Sweeney was forced to hold onto the defensemen with Grzelcyk missing the beginning of the season.

Mike Reilly, Boston Bruins
Mike Reilly, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Reilly also had off-season surgery, but as of now, he is slotted to be an every-night defenseman until Grzelcyk returns. When he’s playing well, he is a good puck-moving defenseman who is not afraid to join the rush. He needs to do better at the beginning of the season, limiting defensive breakdowns and not turning the puck over. He was placed on waivers like Foligno on Sunday, but was not claimed by another team by Monday’s deadline.

Bruins Sign David Pastrnak to an Extension

This one is a miss and David Pastrnak will begin the season in the final year of his current contract. How long this plays out remains to be seen, but the longer it goes on, the more questions are going to start to arise. The longer it takes to get a deal, the more worried Bruins fans should be. Whenever Boston hits the road, it’s going to be asked about sooner or later, and it’s going to become a distraction. Sweeney said he’s not worried that the Bruins will begin the season without an extension in place. We’ll see.

It’s safe to say it was a rough summer for bold predictions with the Bruins. Eventually, when they get healthy, a left-shot defenseman will be traded and Reilly would be the leading candidate, especially after they placed him on waivers. That, however, won’t be for some time with two of their top-four defensemen sidelined.

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