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After a great, but tragic, season, the Bruins now look ahead to the offseason with some decisions to make. With some contracts expiring and the potential for trades to be made, there are some moves that need to be made. Some things are already known with Jaromir Jagr, Andrew Ference and Nathan Horton, who are set to be unrestricted free agents and will not be returning to the team. However with the core of the team coming back, there are a few players the team has to make decisions on. Though one of those decisions is an easy one.
Tuukka Rask is a must-sign, and after the playoffs that he had, he proved to everyone that he is worth top goaltender money. In the two seasons that Rask was the starter from the regular season into the playoffs, he put up great regular season numbers and though he had his struggles in the 2010 playoffs, he was clearly the best player on the Bruins during the this year’s cup run. Rask will be in line to make somewhere in the six-million-dollar range, and he deserves to be paid like an elite goalie. This will be an easy decision for the Bruins, and since Rask is a restricted free agent, they won’t have to worry about competing with other teams. Tuukka Rask looks like he is in line to be the Bruins goalie for most if not all of the next decade.
One interesting situation that developed in the playoffs is the situation with the defense. When Ference and Seidenberg went down with injury, the Bruins had three rookies playing. The team had seen a lot of Dougie Hamilton during the regular season and knew what he was. But everyone was surprised how well Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug played in the series against the New York Rangers, Krug played well through the rest of the playoffs too. With those three players set to have spots in the lineup, and having Chara, Mcquaid, Seidenberg, and Boychuk under contract, the bruins are going to have to make a decision on defense and maybe look to trade one of them.
There will be other moving parts with questions on players like Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly, as well as Carl Soderberg challenging for a spot in the lineup. The salary cap is going down this season, but the Bruins should not be anywhere close to in trouble with the cap. They are clearing some money with Ference and Jagr leaving, not to mention they still can put Marc Savard on long term injured reserve and clear up even more space. With how close the Bruins were to winning the cup this year, everyone will be watching closely to see what they do and if they can keep themselves in position to be one of the top teams in the NHL once again.