When it comes to free agency and/or the trade deadline, the Boston Bruins usually portray the shy kids on the playground; they hide out in the background and let everyone else take center stage.
Grant it, that is not necessarily a bad strategy. However, we have just grown so used to the relative silence around the organization in conjunction with big dates on the National Hockey League calendar. We cannot be getting our hopes up.
The biggest move that the B’s made on the opening day of free agency? They re-signed Kevan Miller.
Wait, what? Come again?
You heard that right. The “splash” made by the Black and Gold was inking an injury-prone defenseman, who has not played a game in almost two years, to a one-year deal. Well, at least no one can ever question the loyalty of the Bruins…more on that later…
Miller, 32, has the potential to earn up to $2 million on this incentive-heavy contract. He is aiming for a return to the lineup when the NHL returns for a new season in January. The deal is certainly friendly for both sides. If Miller can stay healthy (the biggest “if” in the history of the word’s existence), he can provide a level of grit and physicality that was often missing from the team in the last two seasons. Overall, a value signing and a good depth piece.
Sticking with the B’s blue line, Torey Krug will be playing elsewhere next season. He signed a seven-year contract worth $45.5 million with the St. Louis Blues.
Looking at the situation objectively, both sides hold valid arguments. The Bruins did not want to pay top dollar for a specialist—with all due respect—while being hard up against the cap. There are other areas of need that the team should address, and they encouraged Krug to test the market. For the Michigan native and power-play guru, he earned the right to secure a mega contract by working his way up from undrafted free agent to a hot commodity in unrestricted free agency.
Krug admits that he was not close to re-signing with the Bruins after the team allegedly withdrew the original offer last season. Whether the tension was still present in the days leading up this will remain to be seen. At the end of the day, the team decided to move in a certain direction and the player got a lifetime financial security for his family. Good for both sides.
The first day of free agency may have been quiet for the Bruins in terms of no new faces coming in, but it certainly made for good discussion in the Boston sports realm. More will follow in the coming days.