The NHL offseason, most notably the free agent and trade markets, has cooled off considerably over the last few weeks.
There haven't been many signings or trades made since the initial flurry of activity after free agency began Oct. 9.
The Boston Bruins made a couple moves, highlighted by the addition of veteran right winger Craig Smith on a three-year deal worth $9.3 million. But general manager Don Sweeney still has plenty more work to do before the start of the 2020-21 season, which is expected to happen some time in January.
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and left winger Jake DeBrusk remain unsigned. Chara is an unrestricted free agent, while DeBrusk is a restricted free agent.
The B's haven't done a whole lot this offseason to upgrade their secondary scoring. The addition of Smith was a solid move, but he alone won't address that roster weakness. The lack of upgrades up front makes it even more important for Boston to work out something with DeBrusk, and Sweeney is confident the two sides will be able to find a deal.
“I have full confidence that we’ll find a common ground,” Sweeney recently told Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe, “and we’ll look forward to having him back under contract and having a really good year and continuing to move his career forward. He’s an important player for us.”
DeBrusk has been frustratingly inconsistent throughout his three seasons in Boston, but a 24-year-old winger who's averaged 20 goals per year is pretty valuable. Those guys aren't easy to find.
The Bruins will need DeBrusk's offensive production even more to start the 2020-21 season. First-line wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak both had offseason surgeries in September. Marchand is expected to be available in mid-January and Pastrnak in mid-February. So, depending on when the season starts, the B's could be without one or both of their leading scorers from 2019-20 for a few weeks.
DeBrusk tallied 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists) in 65 games last season.