If you are reading this, then you are probably one of many that had hoped the Boston Bruins would still be playing right now. Instead, what we have to look forward to is a very busy offseason for General Manager Don Sweeney and his staff as they try to work their way through what will be some difficult decisions.
Here, we will look at some key dates that are fast approaching, the decisions they’ll have to make and what possible decisions they will make.
Let’s begin with the month of June.
June 1 is the first date on the calendar and this is when the Bruins must sign Matias Mantykivi by or he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The June 1 deadline is for players drafted from Europe (that have a transfer agreement with the NHL) in 2019 or CHL players drafted in 2021 and remain unsigned. The unsigned CHL players re-enter the draft.
Next up is the NHL Scouting Combine held in Buffalo, N.Y. from June 4, 2023 and ending June 10, 2023. It’s a meet and great with players eligible for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft while also watching them go through some testing. Yes, we know the Bruins will not be picking until the third round but they do have 5 picks and there is always the possibility of moving up.
Next up is the buyout period which begins the latter of 48 hours after the playoffs conclude or June 15. As it pertains to the Bruins, Mitchell Miller will most certainly be bought out. This buyout will cost the Bruins $215,834 for 2023-24 and 2024-25 and a further $129,167 in 2025-26 and 2026-27. This won’t be doing the Bruins any cap favors and there is no point in rehashing the debacle here, but if they don’t buy him out, I question everything that happened after they signed him.
Unless they can find a taker for Mike Reilly, it’s almost a guarantee the Bruins will buy him out because of the cap restraints they face. The Bruins will take a cap hit of $333,334 for the 2023-24 season and $1,333,334 for the 2024-25 season. That may (will) be less painful than attaching an asset to move him. The Bruins can not afford to bury him and his what would be $1.850,000 cap hit in Providence again for next season.
One lesser buyout option is Derek Forbort. They could potentially find a taker on the trade market, but if not, some serious consideration to buying his $3,000,000 cap hit must be taken into account. This buyout would cost the Bruins $666,667 for 2023-24 and $1,166,667 for 2024-25 in cap hits. You have to think that there are cheaper options but the cost is not just the replacement player’s cap hit, but the buyout cap hit as well. A lot of consideration has to go into this option.
Next up on the calendar is the first deadline period for club elected salary arbitration which is June 19, 2023. Players eligible for arbitration are goaltenders Jeremy Swayman and Brandon Bussi. The only defencemen eligible is Kai Wissmann. The list of forwards include: Trent Frederic, Samuel Asselin, Shane Bowers and Marc McLaughlin.
On June 26 is the NHL Awards night. Sweeney, along with Jim Montgomery, Patrice Bergeron and Linus Ullmark are finalists.
June 27 is the General Managers meetings. This is when they – and us – are likely to find out what the salary cap upper limit will be for the 2023-2024 season. This will also be a time when GM’s will have some one-on-one time and face to face time where the groundwork will be laid for potential deals. Don’t expect any deals to be consummated today, but it’s the first step in the process.
June 28 and 29 will be the entry draft with round one taking place on the 28 and rounds 2 through 7 on the 29. There’s bound to be some movement over these two days but no one knows if it will involve the Bruins at this point, not even Sweeney himself.
June 30, 2023 is the deadline for issuing qualifying offers to retain a player’s rights. The player does not have to accept the qualifying offer ant they expire on July 15. However, the team will still hold onto the player’s rights.
Also, on June 30 the buyout period ends.
July 1, 2023 is the biggest day on the calendar with free agency beginning. What the Bruins can do will depend on several things, like the upper cap limit and what they do with their own restricted and unrestricted free agents.
The Bruins development camp begins July 3 and runs through to July 7. It’s always a fun time for Bruins fans to head to Warrior Arena and catch a glimpse of the future Bruins.
July 5, 2023 is the deadline for players to file for salary arbitration. Earlier, we mentioned the players that are eligible. This is important because if a team has a player go to arbitration and it is settled or awarded, there is a second buyout window of 48 hours beginning 3 days after the settlement or award. The catch is that contracts bought out must be greater that $4 million cap hit and the player had to be on the team’s roster as of the preceding trade deadline.
July 6, 2023 is the second deadline for club elected arbitration. It’s a 24-hour window that begins with the deadline for player elected arbitration and runs until 5 pm on July 6.
On July 20, 2023, arbitration hearings begin and run through to August 4, 2023. Decisions must be handed down buy the arbitrator by August 6, 2023.
August 1, 2023 Arbitration hearings come to an end.
August 6, 2023 is the day the Arbitrator must render his/her decision on all arbitration cases that went the distance.
August 9, 2023 is the second buyout window. Sort of. If a player opts for salary arbitration, it opens up a secondary buyout window if it is settled in advance or is awarded by the arbitrator. The catch is that the buyout has to be for a player with a cap hit greater than $4 million and the player must have been on the roster on the preceding trade deadline.
August 15, 2025 can also be a fun date. This is the day when previously drafted NCAA players must be signed or the become free agents.
All deadlines are at 5:00 pm EDT.
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