The Ottawa Senators had an eventful offseason last year, bolstering their organisation with the additions of Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat. These signings injected talent and experience into general manager Pierre Dorion’s team, demonstrating his willingness to build a true contender. Even so, the Canadian Tire Centre club fell short of a playoff berth, leaving fans keen to see further improvements this summer.
In stark contrast, the Boston Bruins had a remarkable regular season, showcasing their dominance in a stacked Atlantic Division. With a wealth of experience and an established winning culture, general manager Don Sweeney’s crew seemed poised for another deep playoff run but had their dreams shattered in a shock Round 1 upset at the hands of the Florida Panthers.
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The Bruins now face an uncertain future, with $4.5 million in bonus overages attached to their salary cap considerations for next season. As a result, the Senators are in the perfect position to swoop for some of Boston’s unrestricted free agents (UFAs). Dorion is determined to build on the progress his team made last season, with the opening of free agency a pivotal moment on his calendar.
In this article, we will dive into the Bruins’ latest UFA class, examining the players who the Senators could target this summer.
Tyler Bertuzzi: A Potential Prime Addition for the Senators’ Top Six
Tyler Bertuzzi, a dynamic forward, has emerged as a highly sought-after player in the NHL. Acquired by the Bruins from the Detroit Red Wings midseason, the Canadian made an immediate impact on his new team. In just 50 appearances split between Detroit and Boston in the regular season, he notched an impressive 30 points (eight goals, 22 assists)
Bertuzzi’s star shined even brighter in the postseason, where he elevated his game to another level. In just seven playoff games, he contributed 10 points (five goals, five assists), displaying his ability to produce when it matters most. At 28 years old, he is in the prime of his career and is poised to make a significant impact wherever he lands next.
With his aggressive playstyle both on and off the puck, Bertuzzi brings an edge to his game that makes him a valuable asset in all three zones. Standing at 6-foot-1, he utilizes his size effectively, creating space for himself and his teammates. His ability to contribute in multiple areas of the ice makes him an attractive addition to any team looking to bolster their top-six forward group.
The Bruins face serious challenges in their bid to re-sign Bertuzzi, which could open the door for outsiders like the Senators. On Friday [May 2], Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that “Boston is exploring what it needs to do to keep Tyler Bertuzzi, who is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.”
The Bruins are in a very difficult salary situation, with the cap expected to increase by only $1 million next season. Boston has $4.5 million worth of overage money from contracts handed to Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci in 2022-23, making it impossible for GM Sweeney to bring back every free agent on his current roster.
The Senators, eager to build on their progress from last term, would benefit greatly from adding a player like Bertuzzi. His offensive production, combined with his tenacity and versatility, would complement the young core in Ottawa. As the offseason unfolds, he could become an option for Dorion.
Tomas Nosek Could Add Physicality and Depth to Ottawa’s Bottom-Six
At 30 years old, Tomas Nosek is a veteran forward who provides a valuable physical presence and adds depth to the bottom-six lineup of any team. Since his debut with the Red Wings in 2015-16, the Czech forward has built a reputation as a dependable depth player, showcasing his consistency by posting 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 66 appearances for the Bruins last term.
While Nosek may not be a high-scoring forward, his value lies in his ability to bring physicality and energy to the ice. Standing at an imposing 6-foot-2, he uses his size effectively to create space, win battles along the boards, and provide a net-front presence. His experience in the NHL and understanding of his role as a bottom-six player make him a reliable asset in the lineup.
Considering his previous contract was worth $1.75 million per season, Nosek will be available for a reasonable price this time around, making him an attractive option for teams looking to add depth without breaking the bank.
For the Senators, who aim to strengthen their bottom-six unit, Nosek’s physicality and experience would fit well with their roster. His presence would add a gritty edge to the team’s lineup, creating opportunities for his linemates and bringing a level of intensity needed for success in the bottom-six role.
Connor Clifton: A Right-Handed Option for Ottawa’s Depth
Connor Clifton, a 28-year-old depth defenseman, possesses qualities that make him an attractive addition for most teams, including the Senators. Standing at 5-foot-11, the American does not boast imposing size, but his right-handed shot is a valuable commodity to the NHL, where right-handed defenders are highly sought after.
Selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft, Clifton has carved out a role as a dependable depth defenseman. His previous contract, earning $1 million per season, reflected his value as a sturdy contributor to the team’s defensive efforts.
Last season, Clifton had a breakout year, posting career-best numbers with 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) points in 78 games. His offensive contributions from the blue line add an extra dimension to his game, further enhancing his value as a depth option.
The Senators, seeking to bolster their defensive depth, would benefit from adding Clifton to their roster. His right-handed shot and ability to occasionally contribute offensively would address the team’s need for more options on the right side of the defence.
Moreover, Clifton’s consistent defensive play and work ethic would align with the Senators’ culture of hard work and determination. As they continue their rebuilding process, the 28-year-old’s presence would provide stability and depth to Ottawa’s defensive corps.
Looking Ahead for the Senators
In conclusion, the Senators and Bruins face distinct challenges as they navigate the unrestricted free agency market. Sweeney has a multitude of decisions to make, with Bergeron, Krejci, Nick Foligno, Garnet Hathaway, and Dmitry Orlov also set to hit the market.
While Bergeron and Krejci will only play in Boston, many teams will be interested in the Bruins’ other unrestricted free agents. As the offseason unfolds, both franchises must carefully consider their financial limitations and roster needs to make the most impactful signings.
The decisions made in free agency will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of these teams as they strive for success in the upcoming NHL season.