The Boston Bruins season is over.
And it didn’t end too pretty, either. A Bruins team that at times steamrolled through the regular season got steamrolled themselves by a far superior Tampa Bay squad. The Bruins didn’t score a 5v5 goal in their final three games, their defense was adequate AT BEST, and anyone not on their top forward line couldn’t put the puck in the net.
And do not even get me started on the referees.
But you know what? I’ve spent the last week frustrated to hell and constantly spewing complaint-laced rants about neutral zone turnovers to anyone who would listen (sorry, Abby). And now, I’m turning it around. POSITIVITY Y’ALL. Yeah, this series was a bummer. Yeah, it sucks to lose in the playoffs. And it never feels good to get manhandled by a team who clearly wanted it more, and played with the urgency your team lacked from start to finish. But for as poorly as the Bruins season came to a close, there’s still a lot to be excited about after watching this 2018 campaign. So for all you Bruins’ negative Nancys out there (I probably fall into this group more often than not), here are a few things to keep your spirits up:
Gotta love the young core.
David Pastrnak. Charlie McAvoy. Jake DeBrusk. Ryan Donato. Danton Heinen. Brandon Carlo. All produced this season. All filled a role, whether it’s top-tier scorer or depth forward. And all are 22 years old or younger.
The aforementioned guys combined for well over 200 points this season, with only Ryan Donato playing less than 60 games (he played most of this year for Harvard). They were key cogs for a team that made it into the second round of the playoffs and have gained a wealth of experience to build on. Add in the fact that all these guys are under contract for the next two years at least, and the Bruins have the making of one of the NHL’s most lethal young cores. And we haven’t mentioned guys like Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Anders Bjork, who were either in Providence (JFK) or injured (Bjork) for the majority of this season. The Bruins are blessed with an injection of youth. Think of it this way: some of the guys mentioned above, if the Bruins make the playoffs next year, would have three playoff runs under their belts by age 22. That experience will pay off big time, so it’s a huge step for Boston that their young players clicked so well together this year.
They still have the best line in the NHL.
They score. They dominate the power play. They kill penalties. They are the backbone of this team, and they aren’t going anywhere. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak are all in the midst of long-term deals, and the soonest any of these guys could hit the market is 2022. With Bergeron being the elder of the three at 32 years old, he’s in the midst of his prime. Marchand, and certainly Pastrnak, are just beginning their’s. Here’s hoping that 63-73-88 can duplicate their offensive output from this season (99 goals, 129 assists combined) in 2019. If they do, the Bruins should find themselves in the midst of a playoff push by season’s end.
They have some serious needs, but they have the money to play with.
The Boston Bruins roster is solid as is, but certainly has some holes. To me, those are a top-4 D man (preferably on the left side to give an aging Zdeno Chara some relief), and another winger to play alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krecji. Fortunately for the Bruins, the majority of their free agents this offseason are bottom-six forwards and depth defenseman- resigning any won’t break the bank, and any and all are fairly easily replaced. Add in that the salary cap could jump from $75 million to around $80 million in the offseason, and the Bruins have themselves the flexibility to go out and get a legit defenseman. John Carlson would cost a pretty penny given his performance this season, as would Mike Green, but I would love for GM Don Sweeney to make a splash here.
As for another winger? Boston could resign Rick Nash, or go after guys like Evander Kane or James van Riemsdyk. I doubt they land two of any of these players, but this is the ballpark I expect Sweeney to be playing in given their roster needs and cap space for next season.
So try not to be too bummed out, Bruins fans. There’s a hell of a lot too look forward to next season.
P.S. I can’t help it thoSE REFS WERE HORRENDOUS MCAVOY WAS HAULED DOWN ARE YOU BLIND??