If you really want to be technical about the whole situation, the Boston Bruins organization will allow unrestricted free agents Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle to test the open market come tomorrow. The first of July will mark the beginning of free agency in the NHL. Now just because these two key role players from the Stanley Cup winning Bruins team will be unrestricted free agents, does not mean that they will end up landing in another organization.
With that being said, I would have to say that Ryder has the better chance of wearing the black and gold next season. Earlier this week, the Bruins were listening to offers to trade the rights of Tomas Kaberle for a low draft pick. What that means is if a team wants to talk to a player before they hit the open market of free agency, then they will trade for the rights to talk to that player prior to anyone else. Boston also drafted defenseman Dougie Hamilton in this year's entry draft, who just so happened to be the steal of the draft and having a reputation of being an all-around player. Kaberle did finish this postseason with 11 assists and a +8 rating. However, the Bruins seem to be targeting a defenseman in free agency and Kaberle will be out.
Utility defenseman Shane Hnidy was informed by General Manager Peter Chiarelli that he will not be re-signed by Boston. Chiarelli told Hnidy that he will be valuable to another team. The veteran only played three games this season and did not tally a point. He was not signed until January and he was battling a significant shoulder injury since then. Even if another team will sign him, he will only be a utility defender once again. Yet another man will be gone from this championship roster and that is all the more reason why the Bruins will target a defenseman in the offseason.
Whether they bring back Ryder or not, the Bruins may need to fill a spot or two on the lines. They are so deep in the AHL (Jordan Caron, Zach Hamill, and Jamie Arniel) that they do not need to go out shopping for a forward. Plus, we are still uncertain of the status of Marc Savard. Either way, the coming weeks will be very interesting around Boston and around the entire NHL.