75°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

How will the Bruins fare this season?

Boston+Bruins%26%238217%3B+forward%2C+David+Pastrnak%2C+during+a+game.
Bianca Oppedisano
Boston Bruins forward, David Pastrnak, during a game. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff

The Boston Bruins’ 2021-22 season ended in disappointment, falling at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games during Round One of the NHL playoffs. (1) After the clock hit triple zeroes in Raleigh, the team went through even more tumult. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, popular with the fanbase, was dismissed, (2) and replaced with former Dallas assistant Jim Montgomery. (3) Cassidy almost instantaneously found a new job as the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. (4)

The team also got bad injury news. Brad Marchand needed hip surgery and will miss at least the start of this year for recovery, possibly returning in December. (5) Charlie McAvoy underwent off-season shoulder surgery and will also miss the start of the year. (6) Matt Grzelcyk, a great defenseman in his own right, will also miss the first month or so of the season as he recovers from surgery after dislocating his shoulder last season—and playing through the Carolina series with the injury. (7)

Another problem for the Bruins is that their division, the Atlantic, is tough, and only going to get tougher. The Toronto Maple Leafs may not have won a playoff series in almost two decades, but one has to figure they’re due to win at some point with all of their young talent. The Florida Panthers are loaded and poised to make a Cup run, after finishing last year as the winners of the President’s trophy, which is awarded to the team that finishes with the most points at the end of the regular season. The Tampa Bay Lightning have also won the Eastern Conference finals three years in a row, and have won two of the last three Stanley Cups.

The Bruins made some minor moves in free agency in an effort to improve the team. They re-signed captain Patrice Bergeron, (8) and brought back longtime fan favorite David Krejci after a one-season sabbatical in his home country, the Czech Republic. (9) However, Bergeron and Krejci are not getting any younger—at 37 and 36 years old, respectively—and the Bruins have one of the worst-rated prospect pipelines in the league. (10) The answers to that could come internally.

An interesting x-factor for the Bruins is winger Jake DeBrusk. DeBrusk, who’s been with the pro team for five seasons and counting, is a talented player, albeit one who has yet to reach his full potential in the NHL. DeBrusk reportedly had friction with Cassidy, (11) and even requested a trade last Nov. (12) However, he ended up staying with the Bruins the whole season and played relatively well, scoring 25 goals and 42 points in 77 games. (13)

The Bruins also have to make a decision regarding the future of homegrown superstar David Pastrnak. Pastrnak is entering the final year of his contract, (14) and it feels as if both sides have good reason to want to keep the 26-year-old Czech in Boston his entire career. Pastrnak, prior to training camp, said he was “hopeful” that a new deal could be worked out. (15) Canadian hockey insider, Darren Dreger, reported that the two sides were “talking” about a new deal but “nothing [is] close yet.”

In the upcoming season, the Bruins will likely rely on their goaltending tandem of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. Swayman impressed in his rookie season, going 23–14–3 with a 2.41 Goals Against Average and .914 save percentage, as well as three shutouts in the regular season. He finished fifth in the NHL’s Rookie of the Year Award Voting. (16) Ullmark, on the other hand, will be a reliable backup if he keeps up his play from last season, where he finished with a 26–10–2 record, a 2.45 GAA  and .917 save percentage. Ullmark proved himself last year after showing he can play consistently well, with an uproot in starts, where he started 39 games after having a previous career of 20. He posted career highs in both games started and game wins (17).

In conclusion, the Bruins still have a very solid team. After weathering the early storm of injuries, they should be a playoff lock. However, whether they can make another deep playoff run against such a tough conference with an aging team remains to be seen. The puck drops Oct. 12 in D.C. against the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m., in what hopes to be a championship season. (18)

  1. https://www.nhl.com/news/why-boston-eliminated-from-stanley-cup-playoffs/c-334098982
  2. https://www.nhl.com/news/boston-bruins-fire-coach-bruce-cassidy/c-334507774
  3. https://www.nhl.com/news/jim-montgomery-hired-as-boston-bruins-coach/c-334794402
  4. https://www.nhl.com/goldenknights/news/vegas-golden-knights-name-bruce-cassidy-as-teams-head-coach/c-334605588
  5. https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/bruins/brad-marchand-undergoes-surgery-both-hips-bruins-announce
  6. https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/bruins/bruins-no-1-defenseman-charlie-mcavoy-out-six-months-after-surgery
  7. https://985thesportshub.com/2022/05/17/bruins-defenseman-matt-grzelcyk-set-to-undergo-major-surgery/
  8. https://www.nhl.com/bruins/news/bruins-sign-patrice-bergeron-to-one-year-contract/c-335208748
  9. https://www.nhl.com/bruins/news/bruins-sign-david-krejci-to-one-year-contract/c-335210310
  10. https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/bruins/athletics-ranking-nhls-top-50-prospects-has-zero-bruins-players
  11. https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-bruins/2022/03/23/jake-debrusk-bruins-bruce-cassidy-issue-trade-deadline/
  12. https://theathletic.com/news/jake-debrusk-requests-trade-from-bruins/ok7okRcYozwo/
  13. https://www.espn.com/nhl/player/_/id/3900240/jake-debrusk
  14. https://www.spotrac.com/nhl/boston-bruins/david-pastrnak-15582/
  15. https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/bruins/bruins-star-david-pastrnak-optimistic-new-contract-will-be-worked-out
  16. https://twitter.com/DarrenDreger/status/1570803617128480770
  17. Linus Ullmark Stats and News | NHL.com
  18. https://985thesportshub.com/listicle/bruins-announce-2022-23-season-schedule/
About the Contributors
Jack Sherman, Sports Writer
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator