The Bruins have some of the arguably best contracts in David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron, but they haven’t been exempt from their share of bad contracts. The organization is lucky that it doesn’t have many contracts that are completely laughable. Some in this list looked good upon signing but have fallen into this category upon hindsight. Others look worse in comparison to the contracts of others on the team.
Related: Bruins’ 5 Best Contracts for 2021
Without further ado, here are the three worst contracts on the Bruins.
This was not viewed as a bad contract when John Moore signed a five-year, $13.75 million deal in 2018. He was a solid, puck-moving defenseman who brought depth to the left side of the blue line and a slight scoring boost over some of the other defensemen on the roster at the time. It was a move to build on the Bruins’ strength at defense.
Moore missed the start of the 2019-20 season recovering from surgery and never quite found a consistent starting spot again. He was often competing with Connor Clifton for the sixth spot in the lineup. In the playoffs, Moore was a healthy scratch in all but one game as the team went with a mix of Jeremy Lauzon and Clifton to round out their blue line.
Related: The State of the Bruins’ Blue Line
Moore is a solid defenseman, but given his fall down the depth chart this past season, it becomes hard to justify his $2.75 million average annual value (AAV) when he ended up being a healthy scratch in most of the games he was active for. He has a chance to regain his spot in the starting lineup in 2020-21.
With Torey Krug gone, Kevan Miller on injured reserve, and Zdeno Chara possibly on his way out, too, Moore will have an opportunity to really step up as a leader on the blue line. At 30 years old, he is currently the oldest defenseman on the active roster and has the potential to be a real role model and leader in the locker room.
This is a bad contract for the Bruins in comparison to the contract of others on the team — David Krejci has the highest cap hit. He signed a six-year, $43.5 million contract with an AAV of $7.25 million back in 2014.
Krejci is a good player and has been a key piece of the Bruins’ core for a decade. Playoff Krejci is an absolute beast and he’s managed to be a solid, consistent presence during the regular season despite a rotating cast of wings throughout the last few seasons. The reason his contract is bad for the Bruins isn’t so much because of his own play, but because of the strength of the contracts and play of his teammates.
For the 2019-20 season, Krejci had 43 points in 61 games. In comparison, Bergeron had 56 points in 61 games and Marchand had 87 points in 70 games. Bergeron has an AAV of $6.875 million and Marchand an AAV of $6.125 million. Krejci is a strong two-way center, but should he be the highest-paid player on the team?
This is the last year of this contract for Krejci and he has no plans of retiring yet. He’s 34, so his next contract won’t have a lot of term on it. The team will most likely try to sign him to another contract and they should. A two- or three-year contract with an AAV somewhere in the $5 million range would be a great deal.
The five-year, $30 million contract the Bruins signed David Backes to back in 2016 is arguably the worst contract in recent memory for the team and the ghost of it still haunts them.
Yes, I know Backes is no longer on the team. He was traded at the 2020 Trade Deadline to the Anaheim Ducks along with prospect Axel Andersson and a 2020 first-round pick. But as part of that deal, the Bruins retained part of his salary. They will pay him $1.5 million this season.
To give a little perspective, the team will pay a guy who is no longer on the roster more than players like Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner. This is the worst contract for the Bruins in 2020-21. Thankfully, it will finally come off the books in 2021-22.
In general, the Bruins have a pretty good collection of contracts. Going into the next free agency, the team will have much more cap space as Krejci and Tuukka Rask — who have the two highest cap hits on the team — will reach the end of their contracts. There is always temptation when teams have a lot of cap space to work with and the team will have to be careful to avoid another Backes situation.
The team also has movable contracts. If this is not the roster general manager Don Sweeney wants to go into the season with, there is still time to make changes.