Bruins make big splash in free agency, sign 10 players, trade Vladar

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins made a slew of player signings Wednesday as free agency in the National Hockey League began. The organization announced the signings of 10 players as well as a trade involving one of their young goaltenders, Dan Vladar.

Vladar, 23, was shipped off to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The trade was announced less than an hour after outlets reported that Boston had signed former Buffalo goalie Linus Ullmark. Ullmark, who turns 28 on Saturday, was inked to a four-year deal with an average annual value [AAV] of $5 million.

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He will split time in the cage with Jeremy Swayman, the 22-year-old University of Maine product who dazzled in his first stretch of NHL play a season ago.

Currently an unrestricted free agent, Tuukka Rask, who has backstopped the Bruins full-time since the 2013 season, is expected to be out through the beginning of 2022 while recovering from offseason surgery. If he returns with Boston after his recovery, the Bruins will have the option to send Swayman to the AHL without requiring him to clear waivers first, something Vladar would have had to do before being assigned to the minor league team in Providence.

Rask and fellow Boston stalwart David Krejci remain unrestricted free agents as Day 1 of NHL free agency comes to a close.

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Boston also bolstered its depth forwards on Wednesday, agreeing to deals with Erik Haula, Tomas Nosek and Nick Foligno. The trio were all signed to two-year contracts, with Foligno’s cap hit at $3.8 million, Haula’s at $2.375 million and Nosek’s at $1.75 million. The moves come days after Boston decided not to extend qualifying offers to forwards Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase.

On the defensive side, the black and gold brought one of their own back into the fold, agreeing to a three-year deal with Mike Reilly. Reilly, who the Bruins acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline a season ago, is currently 28 and will be paid a base salary of $3 million annually.

The left-shot blueliner played 15 games in the regular season after the Bruins traded for him last season. He will help stabilize the left side of the Boston defense that was in flux last year amid injuries and young players and that was dealt another blow earlier this offseason when the Seattle Kraken selected D Jeremy Lauzon in the 2021 Expansion Draft.

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Joining him on the left side of the Boston blue line will be Derek Forbort, the hulking 6-foot-4, 219-pound defenseman who the Bruins also signed to a three-year deal worth $3 million each year. Forbort, 29, has spent his whole career in the Western Conference, lacing up for the LA Kings, the Calgary Flames and, most recently, the Winnipeg Jets.

Center Sean Kuraly, who had been with the Bruins since 2017, signed a new deal Wednesday, this time with the Columbus Blue Jackets on a four-year deal worth $2.5 million annually. Jaroslav Halak, who split time with Rask in the Boston net for the last three seasons, also found a new home Wednesday, agreeing to a one-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks that will pay him a base salary of $1.5 million.

Boston also announced the signing of three players to one-year, two-way contracts: G Troy Grosenick, F Steven Fogarty and D Tyler Lewington. Each of the deals is worth $750K. The Bruins also signed F Samuel Asselin to a two-year, entry-level contract worth $750K.