Last season – 9th in the Eastern Conference
The Bruins missed the playoffs last season, after denying to trade Eriksson at the deadline in hopes of getting there. They managed to lose both out of their hands.
GM – Don Sweeney
There has been a lot of talk about Sweeney in regards to his decisions as a GM after only one year in charge. Both in terms of the issue in regards to trying to keep Eriksson, and more specifically around the three surprising selections regarding their three in a row 1st round draft picks, and the controversial trades regarding Hamilton and Lucic.
Sweeney has so far proven to go his own ways. The fans might be right in their scrutiny, but don’t count out the GM just yet, because getting out of “cap hell” and restructuring takes a while in this NHL-day & age.
Head Coach – Claude Julien
Claude Julien returns for his 10th year as a Bruins head coach. Many among the fans were looking for Sweeney to swing the axe on Julien’s tenure after the team last year managed to miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
However, he got renewed faith and is looking to guide the Bruins back into a playoff spot with a deeper roster this season. It’s going to be an important year, because my guess is that three times, you’re out will hit him hard if they don’t manage to make the post season.
David Backes (C), John-Michael Liles (D), Anton Khudobin (G), Riley Nash (C), Dominic Moore (C), 7th round pick 2017
Loui Eriksson (LW), Chris Kelly (C), Lee Stempniak (RW), Brett Connolly (RW), Jonas Gustavsson (G), Seth Griffith (C), Dennis Seidenberg (buyout, D),
7th round pick 2016 (Benjamin Finkelstein, D)
Not the most eyeballing moves during the offseason, but possibly good moves. The Bruins aren’t going to be a high scoring team, so improving depth wise and strengthening their overall roster is possibly something that makes them going into the playoffs rather than staying out of it.
They have lost some talent, but replaced it well and with the youth improving, the roster looks better.
Goaltending – 9/10
With the signing of Anton Khudobin, the Bruins have a solid goaltender duo. While he never has managed to grab a starting spot where he has been, Khudobin for most of his career has delivered good stabile performances. Coming back to the Bruins should be a good fit for him.
However, there is no surprise that Tuukka Rask will be the starter, and after a bit of a down year performance-wise, the Finnish goalie is looking for a rebound year. Bruins might have the best goalie duo in the league when they are on fire.
Defense – 6/10
The Bruins had problems all year last season on the blueline, and when looking at it, have they done anything to improve? The answer is a bit up in the air, but with the restructure among forwards, the signing of Liles and the possible addition of a young defenseman in Carlo, I think the answer might be yes. Sometimes tweaks are enough.
I believe their d-core will manage a rebound from last season and surprise a lot of fans of their own team and from opposing teams. But, I think it will be more from the system than actual skill.
Chara – K. Miller
Krug – McQuaid
Liles – Carlo
Morrow – C. Miller
Forwards – 7/10
Offensively they scored enough last season, but also weren’t good enough defensively and depth wise. Therefore, they missed the playoffs. This season I think we will see a Bruins-team with a better balance and more depth, which will make them tougher to play against. The addition of young talent who should claim roster spots makes their group very diverse, and they look to be able to handle a lot of different lineups.
Their big issue is the lack of prominent point scorers. Obviously, Bergeron, Krejci and Marchand is going to be solid, but how much the others can contribute offensively is a question mark. Questions can also be raised about Krejci’s durability. The Bruins will still be a tough team to face, therefore their group is going to have a high minimum standard.
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Spooner – Krejci – Backes
Beleskey – Czarnik – Hayes
Moore – Nash – Acciari
(Heinen – Rinaldo – Randell)
Team Composition – 7/10
Improving, but not quite there. As said, a lot of questions marks with the defense. Their goaltending situation is solid. They have plenty of middle six forwards, but lack a solid fourth line and should have had a few more solid scoring wingers. Both on the first line and second line.
Leadership presence – 9/10
Clearly, with Bergeron, Krejci, Chara and Backes in your lineup it’s going to be enough leaders in this locker room. Still, it’s not a 10. It could have been better, and they could have had more players who have made a bigger impact beyond the regular season.
Skill Value – 7/10
The overall skill isn’t great, but it’s solid. It’s a blessing getting talent knocking on the door, and inevitably will improve this team. For now, they aren’t the most skillful technical wise, but with plenty of size and grit to make it hard for any opponent to beat the Bruins.