The Boston Bruins had a historic regular season in 2022-23, and now in the aftermath of their disappointingly early playoff exit GM Don Sweeney has some difficult problems to solve this summer. Perhaps the team’s most pressing problem is one team president Cam Neely spoke on today, stating that the Bruins are operating under the assumption that their top two centers from last season, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, will not be returning for next year.
Both Bergeron and Krejci took below-market-rate contacts to remain Bruins, and now as each of them are 37 years old it appears Boston is going to head into this offseason preparing for life without either of them occupying their top-two center spots. Another soon-to-be Bruins free agent is Dmitry Orlov, and Sweeney said that he was unlikely to be re-signed by Boston, via The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa. Orlov was acquired in a mid-season deal with the Washington Capitals and with Hampus Lindholm already occupying a spot on the left side of Boston’s defense at a high price there simply may not be the cap space to afford an Orlov extension.
Some other notes from across the Atlantic Division:
- The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta reports that the Florida Panthers are “actively shopping” 28-year-old winger Anthony Duclair. The Panthers are widely rumored to be seeking defensive upgrades this summer and are likely dangling Duclair in large part due to his contract, which carries a $3MM AAV and is set to expire in one year. Duclair re-invented himself as a member of the Panthers and reached new heights of production, so despite an injury-plagued regular season he should have a wide range of interested teams on the trade market.
- Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving confirmed to the media today, including The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, that Sheldon Keefe will remain behind the bench for next season, going so far as to say the team is “excited for him to do so.” Keefe has led Toronto since taking over for Mike Babcock in 2019-20 and won at an extremely high rate in the regular season. While he has just one playoff series victory to his name, Keefe has shown himself to be a capable bench boss. With his immediate future now clear, Keefe will look to build on the momentum started by their elimination of the Tampa Bay Lightning.