With less than a month to go before free agency begins, the Boston Bruins have many decisions to make regarding next year’s roster. Having reviewed the players from last year’s roster that should be resigned, it is time to look at those free agents that should not be offered contracts. There are players who clearly will not be back with the team next season, like Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter. However, there will also be players who will not be on the team next season that were expected to be offered a contract.
Who should not be resigned?
The player who just two seasons ago was rumored to be at the center of a trade that would have brought Jarome Iginla to Boston at the trade deadline regressed throughout the 2013-14 campaign. Matt Bartkowski’s poor play continued from the end of the season into the playoffs, eventually causing coach Claude Julien to bench him for Meszaros in the series with the Montreal Canadiens. It may seem like an overreaction to write off the 26-year-old Bartkowski after a disappointing season, but his lack of physicality and size makes his mental mistakes and lack of offensive production (no goals, one assist) in the playoffs even more damning.
Although the Bruins can extend a qualifying offer to Bartkowski, keeping him with the team for just $715,000, he did not score a single goal this season, and that is simply not good enough to justify extending him a contract. Despite not scoring, Bartkowski did do well with skating the puck out of the defensive zone. However, the Bruins also have Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug who are just as good, if not better, at skating the puck up ice which makes Bartkowski less valuable to the team. In all likelihood Bartkowski will be back with the team because of his low price tag, but based off of his play last season, he should not be resigned.
Jordan Caron has never been able to live up to expectations after being drafted 25th overall by the Bruins in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The 23-year-old has had multiple stints with the big club over the past four seasons and has not made a big enough impression on the coaching staff to stick. In 132 career NHL games, Caron has just 13 goals and 16 assists with a plus/minus rating of minus-3. Despite scoring a goal in this year’s playoffs, it was another very disappointing season for the fourth-year winger.
Caron is another restricted free agent that the Bruins could sign for cheap, but he has proven even less than Bartkowski. Although Caron has shown flashes of his ability, bad decisions with the puck and lack of consistent offensive production can be used to describe his NHL career. Many thought the Bruins would cut ties with Caron last season, so it will come as no surprise when Boston opts not to tender a qualifying offer.