Last season, as us Bruins fans know, the B’s narrowly missed the playoffs due to the Detroit Red Wings having the edge with one more win in regulation or overtime. The teams both finished the 2015-16 with 93 points, but the Bruins were the ones sent to the golf course early.
How last season went:
The black and gold finished the season with a 42-31-9 record under head coach Claude Julien. After missing the playoffs, many thought Julien would be out of the job – but that is clearly not the case as he will be on the bench for the upcoming season.
The team finished fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth overall in the Eastern Conference with 93 total points. They accumulated 240 goals, which was good for fifth in the league and their 230 goals against tied them for 19th.
The Bruins were led by David Krejci, who was a force at the beginning of the season for the team and collected 17 goals and 46 assists. Brad Marchand ended the season with 37 goals and 24 assists and Cam Neely has already said he hopes to have a contract extension done with him before the start of the season.
What happened in the offseason:
Boston had a chance to sign Jimmy Vesey – a Harvard hockey stud who just so happens to be from the city. But he ended up signing with the New York Rangers.
Many thought the summer would be the chance for the B’s to make a big move – a blockbuster trade or big signing. But, much like previous seasons, nothing spectacular was done…
Unless you consider the signing of 32-year-old David Backes to a five-year deal where he will be paid $6 million per year to be a big signing.
Backes joins the strong centers of Patrice Bergeron and Krejci, and can also be used at the wing position.
However, if the B’s plan to use Backes at wing, many have questioned as to why they didn’t just re-sign Loui Eriksson, who signed a multi-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks.
The team also re-signed Torey Krug to a four-year, $21 million extension. In his 81 games played in the 2015-16 season, Krug had four goals and 44 assists.
Krug, who has proven to be a consistent defenseman for the Bruins, could be relied on this season to help the defense be consistent throughout the season.
Let’s not forget about Dennis Seidenberg – the 35-year-old Swede who had two years remaining on his contract that came with a $4 million salary cap hit. Seidenberg was owed $7 million through the 2018 season and has yet to sign with another NHL team.
The greatest loss the Bruins suffered, however, was the loss of Doug Houda, who was let go this past summer and is now with the Red Wings. One constant strength the Bruins always had was their penalty kill, and without Houda behind it, who knows if it will be the same for the 2016-17 season.
What’s on tap for this season?
Although the B’s have let go of some serious talent over the last few years (most notably Tyler Seguin) and most of their best players are over the age of 30, I think this is the year we will see the organization make a serious trade with the farm system they have.
Boston will need their goalie Tuukka Rask to be at his best this season and goaltending could be what separates the B’s from other teams in their division this season. The team will need Rask to recreate his 2012-13 season given the questions the team faces with their defense.
After all is said and done, the Bruins will finish third in the division, with Tampa Bay and Detroit locking up the top two spots.
I don’t expect this team to be a Stanley Cup team and if they make the playoffs this year, I don’t expect them to make it past the first round.
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