Bruins offseason: Who stays, who goes? Large selections forward for Bergeron, Pastrnak and extra

There may not be much turnover in terms of quantity for the 2022-23 Bruins. Only three players who appeared in Round 1 will be unrestricted free agents this summer.

Quality is a different story.

“That would be a conversation we’d have to have upstairs. Because you’re going to need to fill it,” coach Bruce Cassidy said Tuesday when asked how the Bruins would proceed without Patrice Bergeron. “The first place you look is, ‘Do we have anybody internally that’s ready to move up to the No. 1 spot?’ Secondly, ‘Is there anybody in Providence that can fill in if someone else is moving up?’ ”

In most cases, the organization is the one to determine whether a player stays or goes. It is so for just about all the cases below. But not the biggest one.

This is purely Bergeron’s call. Predictions on that and the fate of every other player follow.

Au revoir, bonne chance

Patrice Bergeron: The 36-year-old is taking time to make up his mind. It aligns with his personality. Bergeron is a careful thinker. When he arrives at his conclusion, that will be that. He is not Tom Brady.

The belief here is that he is confirming to himself what he has believed all along: This is it. Bergeron was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy on Tuesday. He should exit with his record-setting fifth win.

“He needs his space,” Cassidy said. “We all respect that. That’s just the way it is. When he’s ready to have a conversation, then I’m sure he’ll reach out to whoever he needs to. But right now, I think he needs time. It’s a big decision. It’s a big decision. He needs to take all the time he needs.”

Not going anywhere

Brandon Carlo: The right-shot defenseman settled in to his defense-first role, especially in the second half. The 25-year-old is a first-shift penalty killer and a member of the upcoming leadership core.

Charlie Coyle: The No. 3 center scored six points and averaged 16:51 of ice time per game in the playoffs. He was fourth-most among team forwards in both categories. He did this with little support from Trent Frederic and Craig Smith. Coyle could be seeing even more responsibility next year. “When we’re put together, we’ve got to make sure we come and we bring it,” Coyle said of his line. “We didn’t do that.”

Taylor Hall: The No. 2 left wing took off after Jan. 1. With Eric Haula and David Pastrnak as his linemates, Hall scored 47 points in the last 55 games. Only Pastrnak (56) and Brad Marchand (53) scored more. Hall became more of a playmaker instead of a one-dimensional rush wing. “Taylor is buying in to how the team has success,” said Cassidy. “How to change your individual game from playing the same way for a long time. I think it takes a little bit of repetition. I think it takes linemates to encourage you to play that way and still play to your strengths. Which is speed and attack the blue line.”

Derek Forbort: It’s funny to say a third-pairing defensive defenseman is unmovable. But Forbort fills a specific niche as a shutdown presence, puck eater and penalty-killing specialist. The Bruins do not have anybody who can fill those responsibilities as efficiencies as Forbort.

Hampus Lindholm: The ex-Duck hurt his knee on April 5. He had a concussion after being clobbered by Andrei Svechnikov in Game 2. But through the bad injury luck, the smooth-moving defenseman signaled he is the real deal for a long time to come. “Whatever the future holds, I know we’ve got some really good players on this team, myself included there,” Lindholm said. “I’m just excited about what the future brings.”


Hampus Lindholm (James Guillory / USA Today)

Brad Marchand: He is the team’s most important player. He will eventually succeed Bergeron as captain. Marchand will be the last tie to the 2011 Stanley Cup.

Charlie McAvoy: The 24-year-old was not a finalist for the Norris Trophy. He may never be. But his eight-year, $76 million contract, which begins in 2022-23, signals how much the Bruins think of his three-zone presence.

Jeremy Swayman: The rookie gained critical playoff experience after taking over the net in Game 3. Aside from required improvement in his puck play, Swayman has all the pieces in place to grow into an ace.

Linus Ullmark: The 28-year-old earned his Game 1 start by being the sharpest goalie in the league from March 15 through the end of the regular season. He should not experience any of his first-half blips next season.

Sign to a massive extension or say goodbye

David Pastrnak: The right wing is entering the final season of his six-year, $40 million contract. He is deserving of a raise and maximum security. The question is whether Pastrnak wants to test unrestricted free agency. In all likelihood, he could get more dough on the free market.

If the Bruins sense any degree of uncertainty regarding Pastrnak’s desire to stay, they will have to deal him.

Who knows?

Jake DeBrusk: DeBrusk and Cassidy have clashed on previous occasions. Monday’s exit meeting was not one of them.

“He did as much for that line as they did for him,” Cassidy said of DeBrusk’s collaboration with Marchand and Bergeron. “It was a real good situation. Cam to play hard every night. I was proud of the way he played. He should be too. Where it goes from here would be speculation on my part. But it was a good finish.”

The question is how DeBrusk, upon reflection, feels about his trade request. His 25-goal regular season and four-point postseason leave the Bruins in no rush to punt him out the door. The concern, though, is if DeBrusk still wants out, his request is not met and his unhappiness bleeds into his 2022-23 play.

We like them, but make an offer

Jack Ahkan: The pugnacious Ahcan scored 23 points in 46 AHL games to lead Providence defensemen in scoring. Whether any of that will translate to the NHL remains to be seen. Ahcan will be a restricted free agent.

Connor Clifton: The right-shot defenseman finished strong in the playoffs as Forbort’s third-pairing partner. He is popular among his teammates. But he is entering the final season of his three-year, $3 million contract.

Trent Frederic: The left wing did not take as many steps this season as he did in 2020-21. He needs to be more assertive physically while staying disciplined and forgetting about mistakes. The 24-year-old will look to improve his offensive impact by shooting more and playing in motion.

Eric Haula: The veteran found his way as the No. 2 center after drifting for the first few months. In retrospect, Haula exceeded expectations more than most. He was not as consistent in the playoffs as he was in the second half. He has one year remaining on his contract.

Marc McLaughlin: The former Boston College captain and Billerica native made a good first impression, scoring in his NHL debut at TD Garden. He should be a dependable bottom-six NHL forward, although he may need AHL prep work.

Tomas Nosek: The first-year Bruin fulfilled his role as No. 4 center. But he was valuable because of his versatility and reliability on other lines and at other positions. Nosek did not score a goal after Jan. 2.

Oskar Steen: The right wing landed with instant energy in January. His arrival prompted the Bruins to place Karson Kuhlman on waivers. The confrontational 24-year-old has NHL speed and a willingness to get inside. Consistency will be his next challenge.

Jack Studnicka: The skilled center had a good training camp. Everything went wrong for the 2017 second-rounder after that. He did not take advantage of the opportunity left behind by David Krejci. Whether he could help address the vacuum of a Bergeron farewell is unknown. If the Bruins deal Studnicka, they would be doing so at his lowest value.

Jakub Zboril: The 2015 first-rounder’s two-year extension does not guarantee him a job in 2022-23. But he showed enough before his knee injury to intrigue the Bruins on what he could become: a good third-pairing, puck-moving presence.

Let’s make a deal

Nick Foligno: The former Columbus captain was not satisfied with fourth-line deployment. He may be happier with more opportunity elsewhere. But he is carrying a $3.8 million average annual value, which makes a trade nearly impossible to execute. A buyout may be more likely.

Matt Grzelcyk: Too many bodies on the left side of the blue line guarantees movement. The Bruins do not want to trade the Charlestown native. But he would bring back the most in a trade because of his three-zone sharpness. One roadblock is his pending shoulder surgery. Grzelcyk does not expect to be ready for the start of 2022-23.


Matt Grzelcyk and Teuvo Teravainen (James Guillory / USA Today)

Mike Rilly: The Bruins would be more open to moving Reilly than Grzelcyk, but the former would not net as significant a return as the latter. Reilly was not happy about being a healthy scratch after Lindholm’s acquisition. Another team may see Reilly as a top-four defenseman.

Craig Smith: The No. 3 right wing did not score in Round 1. Smith declined to disclose whether he was playing with any injuries that may require repair. He has always been a volume shooter and an active skater. But his muted legs affected his chance production. He has one year left on his deal.

Chris Wagner: The Walpole native was a good last-minute postseason add after a crackling audition in Game 82. His roster spot for next year, though, remains in doubt. Wagner has a year remaining on his contract.

Goodbye

Anton Blidh: The spunky left wing played himself out of the lineup because of his lack of discipline.

Josh Brown: The stay-at-home defenseman was acquired for temporary depth.

Jesper Froden: The 27-year-old had a good first North American season after starting his career in Sweden. Another team may see him as inexpensive insurance.

Steven Fogarty: Good AHL veteran.

Curtis Lazar: Versatility and enthusiasm helped Lazar open eyes around the league. He can play center and right wing, perhaps as high as the third line. So unless the Bruins see him as worthy of a promotion and a raise, the 27-year-old will have more opportunity elsewhere.

Tyler Lewington: Depth defenseman.

(Top photo of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron: Fred Kfoury III / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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