The Boston Bruins have officially filled out their final two roster holes. Both goaltender Jeremy Swayman and forward Trent Frederic were their last two restricted free agents, and both contract situations have been settled.
Frederic’s contract was signed hours before his scheduled salary arbitration hearing on August 1st, as he was given a two-year, $4.6 million extension that carries a $2.3 million cap hit along with a $250k signing bonus for the first year. The cap hit came closer to his desired AAV, as he was asking for a one-year, $2.9 million deal, while the Bruins were looking for a two-year, $2.8 million deal that carries a $1.4 million cap hit.
Swayman was awarded a one-year, $3.475 million contract via salary arbitration, with the netminder filing for a $4.8 million cap hit while the Bruins filed for $2 million, thus the awarding of the contract was a tad above the mid-point, though it’s still a significant pay raise from the $925k cap hit from 2022-23.
Frederic Can Build Off Strong 2022-23 Season
The Bruins rewarded their 2016 first round pick with a new deal after a breakout season where he registered 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points in 79 games. What makes this more impressive is that he averaged less than 12 minutes of ice time per game.
Frederic’s on-ice metrics based on his possession suggest that last season is likely not a fluke, though it’s also fair to wonder if he will continue producing at the rate that he was last year when he is given a greater role in the team with Patrice Bergeron’s retirement and the losses of Tyler Bertuzzi, Taylor Hall, and possibly David Krejčí. Frederic doesn’t have a lot of offensive skill, but he can play at any forward position, plays with an edge, and has a good enough scoring touch that teams like in an NHL player.
He may be settled for a larger role, such as playing on a line with either one of the Bruins’ two star wingers in David Pastrňák or Brad Marchand. While Jake DeBrusk, Pavel Zacha, Charlie Coyle, and James van Riemsdyk are projected to be on the top six, Frederic could push for his chance towards a bigger opportunity.
With bigger opportunities come higher expectations, too. He will no longer be the physical fourth line forward that he was early in his NHL career. With the season he had last year, he will have to provide more for the Bruins, especially considering his cap hit.
Swayman Looking to Emerge as Bruins’ Starting Goalie
Jeremy Swayman earned his pay raise after an age-24 season that saw him post a 24-6-4 record with a 2.27 goals against average and a .920 save percentage in 37 games. While the numbers were aided by the Bruins’ historic regular season and an exceptional defense, his resume is backed up by his 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, where he had save percentages of .945 and .914 in 10 and 41 games, respectively.
When one looks at his numbers dating back to his college days with the NCAA’s Maine Black Bears, it can be stated that he is for sure worth the cap hit he is at right now.
This may be a curious case, considering he will be entering his third full-time season in the NHL. There was speculation on the trade market if the Bruins were going to deal either one of him or Linus Ullmark, though this was never truly happening. Goaltending is the Bruins’ biggest strength, and the tandem of Ullmark and Swayman will be very crucial to them if they were to return to the playoffs in their centennial season.
However, it should also be noted that Ullmark has had a history with injuries throughout his career, dating back to his days with the Buffalo Sabres. Swayman provides the Bruins with a safety option should Ullmark get hurt, though he could definitely push for the starting job. Whether that happens this year is yet to be seen.
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