The Boston Bruins were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday afternoon. Although the Bruins were bounced from the playoffs early after an outstanding regular season, this year was still a massive success. The Boston Bruins were expected to be another bubble team that would make it to the playoffs but not threaten to do anything past the first round. Sure they didn’t look spectacular in the playoffs but their young players have gained valuable experience for future postseason runs.
This season we had a look at the Bruins future. A top line that produced at an unreal rate with Marchand and Pasta showing they’ll be strong offensive contributors for years to come and Bergeron just being Bergeron as always. The new second line pair of Krejci and DeBrusk have found chemistry together and that will build next season. It’s tough to say who will be their line mate next season though. Although the third line was quiet in the playoffs they were a force during the regular season and the Bruins will certainly look to re-sign Riley Nash and put him back with Backes and Heinen for next season. The fourth line of Schaller, Kuraly and Acciari was able to rival the much loved Merlot line of old. This isn’t even including guys like Donato, Bjork or Forsbacka- Karlsson who will certainly factor into the lineup next year. The youth movement in Boston is real and that’s only the offense.
The Bruins have all of their defenseman returning for next season. The only exception is late acquisition Holden but that isn’t a big loss. Grzelcyk is an RFA but he’ll be signed without a problem. That top pair of Chara and McAvoy will return and McAvoy will now have a full season under his belt and learn from the few mistakes he made in his first season, Chara will be back for his 21st season. Chara might be a step slower but pairing him with McAvoy will make up for a speed difference. Next Krug and Carlo will likely be that second pair. Krug again had a stellar offensive year and really stepped up his defensive game as well. Both Carlo and Krug are recovering from fractured ankles and should be full tilt by training camp. Miller and Grzelcyk figure to round out that last pairing, both players took huge steps forward this year. Miller looked more comfortable playing his natural side and Grzelcyk was very impressive in his rookie season. McQuaid will be the odd man out but with Miller’s injury history he’ll see some play time and who knows how everything will shake out over the offseason.
The Bruins still have their anchor in Tuukka Rask between the pipes. Rask had some ups and downs this season but was strong for most of the year. In the playoffs his numbers weren’t great but it’s tough to make every single save on odd man rushes.Anton Khudobin played well behind Rask and is now a free agent if the Bruins can get him back for a reasonable price they should do it. Khudobin finally provided some stability in the backup goaltending role and Boston certainly needs that so they can keep Rask healthy.
When all is said and done the Bruins season was still a success. They pushed into the playoffs and put up a good fight against a strong Tampa team. The Bruins are way ahead of schedule and they still have a bunch of young players in their system. Put on some shades because the future is bright.
– Written by Tyler Smith (@Tylersmith4386)