With the official start of free agency at noon Saturday, you would not have expected Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney to put all his cards on the table on when he met reporters Friday.

But while Sweeney said he’s still exploring his options both on the trade market and in free agency, he certainly sounded like a man who would be content to fill the holes in his roster with some of the high end prospects he’s been stockpiling in his two years as GM.

“I’m in a patient mode,” said Sweeney at Warrior Ice Arena. “We’ve positioned ourselves with the strength of our prospects and have a commitment to our prospects and we feel excited about that.”

Sweeney said he hasn’t had lot of conversations with unrestricted free agents during the open discussion period, but his area of focus has been left defense. The Bruins were rumored to be interested in Trevor Daley, but it appears the two-time Stanley Cup winner is headed from Pittsburgh to Detroit. Vancouver is rumored to be the front-runner for Michael Del Zotto.

While Sweeney said he’s comfortable with the team’s prospects and hopes someone breaks through like Brandon Carlo last year, he conceded that the prices and terms that some of the free agents are looking for is also coloring his thinking.

“There’s no question it’s a factor,” said Sweeney. “It speaks to the dynamic moving forward and where we currently sit. We’d like to maintain flexibility, with the mindset that the younger players that we’ve committed (to) from the draft and development process will bear (fruit). Now there’s – I wouldn’t call it an anxiety – but there’s a bit of an unknown there versus a player that has done it before. But the league has gone in that direction. I’ve said all along we needed to be a deeper, more talented team and we remain committed to it.”

Though Sweeney didn’t say exactly what he was looking for on the market, the Bruins probably would like to sign a left-handed shooting defenseman on a one-year deal who could hold the space for one of the young prospects coming up. And if one of the kids – Robbie O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk have a year of pro hockey under their belts, while Jakob Zboril (a first-round pick from 2016) and Jeremy Lauzon (second-round pick in 2015) are of higher pedigree – happens to be better, then so be it.

Secondary free agents usually don’t get signed until later in the summer. Who could that be? Former Bruins Mark Stuart or Matt Hunwick? Johnny Oduya? We’ll see.

As it stands now, the right-handed Kevan Miller would have to play his off side and perhaps be paired with rookie Charlie McAvoy.

“That’s a coach’s decision, though I’ve had a lot of conversations with Bruce (Cassidy). He’s certainly played him over there and (had) him playing with Charlie in the playoffs. He’s capable of it,” said Sweeney.

“Would we like to continue to explore or have one of our lefties step up? Yes. We have been exploring. I don’t know that it’s going to come to fruition in the next day and half. We also know that both O’Gara and Grzelcyk have played (NHL) games and Tommy Cross has played games. We have guys internally that we’d like to give the opportunity to see if they can take that spot.”

The Bruins are approximately $14.5 million under the salary cap, but that can change quickly. Carlo and McAvoy will be up for new contracts after next season, and some of their forward hopefuls – Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Zach Senyshyn – would be up the following season. And if they’re as good as the Bruins hope, they’ll be expensive.

“We’re very cognizant of our younger players that will arrive, maybe colliding, at once,” said Sweeney. “We’ve put ourselves in a cap situation that has some flexibility and I want to maintain that.”