After another disappointing loss to end the season, the Boston Bruins need to regroup and figure out where it went wrong. It is tough to get blown out at home during Game 7 of the Cup Finals, but the Bruins bring back a ton of talent and are looking to build into the future.
What a run: Towards the end of the regular season, the Bruins were one of the best teams in the league and a favorite to hoist the cup. They made it all the way to the final game of the season thanks to many different factors.
- Tuukka’s time: With one of the best statistical postseasons for a goalie, Tuukka Rask kept the Bruins in many games and did all he could to help bring Boston to the Finals.
- Marchand’s magic: The Bruins are 25-1 in the postseason when Brad Marchand scores a goal. His impact on the ice helps lead to the Bruins success in the playoffs. He finished the postseason with nine goals and 23 points, being the best Bruins forward statistically.
- New guys shine: Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle anchored the bottom six with their stellar play. Coyle registered nine goals, while Johansson was dishing out assists, finishing with seven in the playoffs.
- Fourth line bruisers: The energy that Sean Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom, Noel Acciari, and Chris Wagner gave this team was something that it missed since its last Stanley Cup appearance. Their aggressive forecheck and hard hitting wore down opponents and gave them opportunities for a combined 11 postseason goals.
What are the Bruins’ needs? After a tough end to the season, general manager Don Sweeney will go back to the drawing board to see what went wrong throughout the season.
Here are the main concerns for the Bruins going into the offseason.
- Defensive depth: The Bruins always seem to struggle with injuries throughout the season. That was prevalent when core guys Matt Grzelcyk and Zdeno Chara were playing very hurt in the Cup Finals games against the talented St. Louis Blues.
- Consistent forwards: Another thing that plagued the Bruins was the inconsistency of their top forwards. The top line of Marchard, Bergeron, and Pastrnak were non-factors in some games throughout the playoffs, which weigh the team down.
- Even strength play: This was a big problem in the final series when the Bruins scored seven of their 22 goals with a man advantage. There were many times where the Bruins were getting dominated at even strength, something that Sweeney will look at improving this offseason.
What they should do: Looking at this team on paper, it is great offensively and defensively. But, as always, there is definitely room for improvement.
So, what exactly can the Bruins do to maximize their potential?
- Re-sign young defenseman: Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, and Brandon Carlo are all free agents that had a huge impact for the Bruins blue line. Krug and McAvoy stated that there is no place they would rather be than a city as supportive as Boston.
- Bring back the third line: Both Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson had a huge impact on the third line for the Bruins. If the Bruins can keep both guys in Boston, their forward depth just got a whole lot better.
- Attract big free agents: If the Bruins can get an established veteran forward like Wayne Simmonds, they can put him alongside Marchand and Bergeron or with Krejci on the second line. Another name to watch for is Micheal Ferland, who was rumored to go to the Bruins at the trade deadline.
- Promote prospects: Boston has a great pool of prospects that includes forwards Jack Studnicka and Jordan Szwarz. 2017 first rounder Urho Vaakanainen is only 20 years old and could be a regular in the Bruins blue line rotation during the 2019-2020 campaign.
The bottom line: The B’s bring back their core of Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak, Krejci, and Rask. Those guys are locked up till at least 2021. As they are getting older, their window is closing, so that “win now” mentality is more important than ever.
If they can resign the keys guys and pick up a big free agent, the Bruins will once again find themselves as a Stanley Cup contender.