The pomp and circumstance surrounding the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural roster felt subdued as leaks found their way on social media. Come Wednesday evening; the Expansion Draft event became a proverbial hype machine with the likes of Shawn Kemp, Marshawn Lynch, Sue Bird and even an octopus announcing selections for the NHL’s 32nd franchise.
Much like the introduction of Seattle’s roster, the Boston Bruins encountered little drama in releasing their protection list on Saturday. This left Jeremy Lauzon, Connor Clifton, Jakub Zboril and Nick Ritchie as prime candidates to head to the Pacific Northwest.
Don Sweeney entered a pivotal off-season needing to add a left-shot defenseman. Lauzon’s exit opens up a spot for a potential free agent signing or trade commodity. But losing a potential top-4 regular like Lauzon puts Boston’s thin blue-line depth in a precarious position.
The hits kept coming after the Kraken took a pair of prime potential defensive targets off the board in Jamie Oleksiak and Vince Dunn. Oleksiak, left exposed by Dallas as a pending UFA, inked a five-year deal with Seattle on Wednesday. Dunn, formerly of St. Louis, hit RFA status this summer.
Sweeney’s plan may hinge on signing the likes of ex-Minnesota Wild blue-liner Ryan Suter on the open market. Though his prime years are behind him, Suter’s leadership and stout defensive skillset still suit him well in a top-four role. He’ll also remain on Minnesota’s payroll after the Wild bought out the remainder of his whopping 12-year, $98 million deal signed back in the 2012 off-season.
The Bruins already look a little different without Lauzon. Come July 28; they hope to add a top-tier left-shot blue-liner, a bottom-six winger and perhaps a backup goalie to bolster their Cup aspirations. But they may see another familiar face from last season donning the Spoked B for another few years.
Hall and Bruins reportedly progress toward new deal
Taylor Hall provided that much-needed top-six upgrade upon arriving from a disappointing stint in Buffalo. His play fizzled in the latter half of the second-round matchup with the New York Islanders. But Hall’s work ethic and production throughout his opening act only helped his cause to stay in Boston for the long term.
Both Hall and the Bruins had a mutual interest in signing a contract. The parties have now reportedly inched closer to turning that into reality.
As first tweeted by Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, the two sides have progressed toward inking a deal in the ballpark of four years worth $6 million per season.
The NHL’s roster freeze ends at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Sweeney has a pre-draft media session scheduled for 10 a.m. Perhaps we’ll know more about a potential new deal over the next 24 hours.
Assuming nothing changes with Hall, the Bruins will have two-thirds of their second line back. David Krejci remains the lone holdout of the trio as a UFA.
During his year-end press conference, Sweeney said the veteran centerman would take a few weeks to ponder over his future. Given the lack of potential in-house options, the Bruins would like nothing more than to reunite Krejci, Hall and Craig Smith for one more go-around in 2021-22.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
Bruins Daily is a NHL credentialed media organization that is dedicated to being the leading provider of Boston Bruins news, analysis, and commentary, by focusing exclusively on the Boston organization. Bruins Daily provides written content, studio produced video, and on location video, all with a unique voice that fans can relate to. Complete coverage is provided through all of the latest NHL/AHL news, updates, scores, injuries, transactions and fan events.