One would expect the Bruins will be making a final decision on a general manager sooner rather than later with roughly a month until the NHL Draft.
But that won’t be the only change for a Black and Gold franchise just beginning to put together the pieces after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007. There is free agency, of course, in the weeks following the NHL Draft weekend, and plenty of trade opportunities around the late June draft weekend in Florida. A core player or two could be shipped away from Boston to shake up last year’s underachieving roster, and free up salary cap space for roster improvements. There’s most certainly work to be done with impending free agents like Dougie Hamilton, Brent Connolly and Ryan Spooner, and Hamilton serving as the big priority in restricted free agency.
With that in mind there’s an incredible amount of uncertainty among the Bruins players about who might be staying, or who might be going.
“It’s a little weird,” said Dennis Seidenberg, while participating in Rob Ninkovich's Ping Pong Challenge for charity at Blazing Paddles on Monday night. “Not only are we not playing in the playoffs, but there’s the uncertainty of what’s going to happen with the GM and stuff. There are a couple of things that are a little different from the last few years.
“[Peter Chiarelli] did great things for the organization, but I guess some changes had to be made. I’m sure they’re not done [making changes] yet. I’m sad to see him go. Now it’s up to them to find a new guy, and it’s up to him to find new chemistry, new players or whatever he wants to do.”
There were trade rumors surrounding the 33-year-old Seidenberg last season, and that makes it doubly challenging for any player to feel their spot is safe when there’s a new boss emerging on the scene. That might be mitigated a bit if, as expected, Don Sweeney takes over the GM gig, and many of the current group get at least one more season together.
That’s exactly what Seidenberg is hoping for following an up-and-down season coming back from major surgery on his right knee, and plenty of tough moments paired with struggling young D-men like Matt Bartkowski throughout the season. Seidenberg played 22:06 per game and appeared in all 82 games, but also finished as a minus player for the first time in his five seasons with the Bruins.
The German defenseman has no trade provision entering the second year of a four year contract signed with the Bruins, but hopes it doesn’t come to using it, or deciding not to, after he committed to play in Boston. It might not always be perfect, particularly in a challenging season like last year was for all of the Bruins.
But Seidenberg has enjoyed the best years of his NHL career in Boston, and there’s a motivation for him to return to full form.
“You look at St. Louis and they haven’t made the second or third round in the last few years and haven’t made any changes, but you don’t know what’s going to happen. Some organizations are less patient than others,” said Seidenberg to CSNNE.com. “You never know. You really don’t know. You’ll just see what happens.
“I want to stay. There’s no question about it. I like it here. I like the people. I like the fans…the city.
“Even when they can be tough on the players, you just want to be in an environment like that so you can thrive in it. People expect big things from you, and if you don’t bring it then they’re on you. But that’s normal, and that’s what you want. It’s something you can’t control, but I know that I’m going to be better next year. So we’ll see.”
There doesn’t seem to be much doubt the Bruins are doubling down on toughness and their time-honored Big Bad Bruins style after last year’s milquetoast season. Seidenberg fits into that mold as a strong defensive warrior when at his best, and the hope is he can get back to what he was even as he rapidly approaches middle age for an NHL player.