The 2021 NHL season is right around the corner and Bruins preseason is well under way. I thought it would be fun to lay out three ‘hot’ takes to look back on when the season is complete. Inspired by the boys over at Couch Guy’s own Short Handed Takes Bruins podcast. I could come out of this smelling likes roses or completely roasted. Honestly if I even land on one of these I’m gloating hard. Let’s have some fun, shall we?
Hot Take One: Jake DeBrusk bounces back
One of the X-factors for the Bruins this season, DeBrusk is entering a contract year where he will once again become a restricted free agent. His struggles throughout the pandemic shortened season have been well documented. Cassidy released a statement at the start of training camp that he and Jake have cleared the air and now it’s time to turn the page. It would bode well for both Jake and the Bruins for him to bounce back this season. Offseason acquisitions Erik Haula and Nick Foligno are two players who will factor into this.
Hot Take Two: Linus Ullmark finishes a top Vezina Finalist this season
Behind a competent and defensively sound Bruce Cassidy coached team, Ullmark finishes atop goaltending league stats. This leads him to a position atop the Vezina trophy finalists list at the end of the year. I don’t want to take away from rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman, but I expect Ullmark to pull out in front as the Bruins’ guy. There’s nothing wrong with a tandem, though. Rask and Halak were very successful with this kind of workload over various seasons. Cassidy even rode the hot hand with Halak at times during his tenure with the Bruins. As I said though, I do expect to see more of Ullmark than Swayman this season.
Hot Take Three: Bergeron extends during the season
I almost went for McAvoy for this final take. But I have a feeling that’s a contract that both the player and management want to get done after the season. However, I’m hopeful that he signs for term and less than the going rate for top caliber young defensemen. I would expect him follow in the footsteps of Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak with their team friendly contracts and keep this team competitive. I do however think it’s safe to say he will be the highest paid guy on the team once his contract is done.
The take is that the Captain gets his extension before the offseason. He’s not going anywhere. Unless something drastically changes over the course of this season, he is still a top two-way center in the league. Also there really isn’t anyone in the pipeline ready to replace some or all his role just yet. The team needs him, and he still has his line mates for beyond this season. I am confident it gets done and it gets done sooner rather than later.
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-Josh Croteau (@_JCRO on Twitter)
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