Bruins

2020 NHL free agents: Best available forwards for Bruins to target

Bruins

The Boston Bruins are not having a good offseason.

The only moves they've made, as of this writing, are signing veteran right winger Craig Smith and re-signing defenseman Kevan Miller. Smith was a solid addition on a three-year contract worth $9.3 million, but he doesn't address the team's need for a top-six forward. Miller hasn't played since April of 2019 due to knee injuries.

The Bruins also lost a top-four defenseman when Torey Krug signed a seven-year, $45.5 million contract with the St. Louis Blues. Krug was a valuable player, particularly as the quarterback on the NHL's second-ranked power play. The Bruins have no player inside the organization capable of filling Krug's role, and there aren't any top-four defensemen left on the free agent market. A trade is the only way to replace Krug, but Boston doesn't have many quality assets to dangle on the market.

Why Mike Hoffman is worth the gamble for the Bruins for one year

Scoring depth remains an issue for the Bruins, just like it was in their last three Stanley Cup Playoff exits. They are fortunate to still have some pretty good forward options left in free agency with around $11 million in salary cap space. 

Of course, signing any one of these forwards would make it tougher for the Bruins to bring back some of their own free agents, including left winger Jake DeBrusk and defensemen Zdeno Chara and Matt Grzelcyk.

 

Here are the top forwards remaining on the free agent market for the Bruins to consider pursuing.

CENTERS

Mikael Granlund: The 28-year-old veteran is an impressive playmaker and can contribute on the second power play unit. He's also versatile with his ability to produce offensively at both center and left wing.

Alex Galchenyuk: The No. 3 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft has the potential to score between 15 and 20 goals with the right team. He would add some offensive skill and power play ability to a contending team's bottom six.

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LEFT WING

Mike Hoffman: He'll turn 31 years old in November and reportedly can be had on a one-year contract. Hoffman is a poor defensive player, but he's a consistent goal scorer who's found the back of the net 20-plus times in six consecutive seasons. He's also a very good power play scorer.

Anthony Duclair: After scoring a career-high 23 goals in 66 games for the Senators last season, Duclair would be a strong depth signing for any team, especially one like the Bruins that badly needs another left winger.

Andreas Athanasiou: A speedy winger with good size (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) who can score 10-20 goals and should be pursued by contenders on a budget.

Erik Haula: The 29-year-old forward brings 48 games of playoff experience and has scored 10-plus goals in four of the last five seasons.

Ilya Kovalchuk: He's no longer a legit top-six forward, but 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 46 games last season proved the Russian winger still can be effective offensively.

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RIGHT WING

Evgenii Dadonov: The 31-year-old forward has scored 25 or more goals in three consecutive seasons. He's also a threat on the power play, where 25 of his goals over the last three years have been tallied.

Corey Perry: The 35-year-old power forward has earned himself another opportunity after a strong playoff run for the Dallas Stars that ended just short of a Stanley Cup title.