The Boston Bruins have declared through their website that they will not renew the contract of one 2014 free agent, Shawn Thornton. Per CapGeek.com, that leaves nine players on their NHL payroll with a contract due to expire on July 1.
Those under contract include nine forwards (not counting the long-injured Marc Savard), six defensemen and goaltender Tuukka Rask. This leaves no fewer than six overall vacancies left to replenish a quorum of 20 players and a couple of spare skaters.
How many of those openings will (or should) go to a returnee from the 2013-14 season? One factor in determining the answer is simply the value of each pending restricted or unrestricted free agent.
Some of the nine men in question are natural castaways. Another could easily rejoin CapGeek’s “non-roster” section and play the better part of 2014-15 in Providence. The rest are worth re-signing for the purpose of direct contributions or for trading later in the offseason or amidst the coming campaign.
Depending on which description fits, here is where all of Boston’s free agents rank in terms of long-term importance to the club. Rankings are based on a blend of the player’s worth, the player’s potential and the team’s needs in a given position or role.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics for this report were found via NHL.com.