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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston Bruins 2015-16 Season Outlook

The Boston Bruins certainly went through a flurry of offseason changes this summer. Trading restricted free agents Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton to the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames, respectively. Also, there was a trade of Milan Lucic to the LA Kings and a trade for Jimmy Hayes from the Florida Panthers; Reilly Smith and the Contract of Marc Savard were sent the other way. The Bruins also grabbed free agent, forward Matt Belesky, who is coming off the best season of his career. Yes, the Bruins went through some major changes. However, you could argue that the perennial Stanley Cup contender we came to know and love had already been dismantled both physically (losing Nathan Horton and Jarome Iginla, while also being forced to trade top four defenseman Johnny Boychuk) and mentally, going off of the performance and team morale displayed on the ice last season. So you could say that this was, for the lack of a better term, addition by subtraction, or, pressing the reset button.
However I refuse to believe that this team will just pack it in. The Bruins still boast a premier goaltender in Tuukka Rask, one of the league’s best two way forwards in Patrice Bergeron who is coming off his third Selke trophy win in four years, and an elite playmaker in David Krejci who Boston hopes will avoid the injury bug this year. Boston has undeniable depth at the center position, and adding young stud Ryan Spooner into the mix only makes things a little more interesting. Speaking of young studs, David Pastrnak is coming off of a rookie season where he showed flashes of incredible poise and skill. It will be interesting to see how he has developed for his sophomore season. The addition of Jimmy Hayes is also interesting to me; he is a man with a large frame who is a Dorchester native and had success at Boston College. He has had a steady rise in production during his NHL career and could also fit in nicely with Krejci as a replacement for Milan Lucic.
Once you get outside the forwards, problems start to surface. During the Bruins’ years of success, they prided themselves on excellent team defense; however that defense looked uncharacteristically porous last season after losing Boychuk and could be even worse this year after losing Dougie Hamilton. To make matters worse, Boston captain and longtime defensive stalwart, Zdeno Chara, sustained an upper body injury against the New York Rangers; now, whether anything comes of it or not, it is still an alarming trend after being injury-riddled last season. The already slow aging defenseman had been having troubles and these injuries could be a sign of the end for Big Z.
All of that being said, the Bruins have an elite goaltender and a good enough group of forwards to contend for the playoffs. I would say they are a top four defenseman away (assuming Chara stays healthy) from getting a top three division seed. The Bruins have a decent outlook this year, but it certainly has a different atmosphere heading into this season, without the feeling that this could legitimately be a Cup winning campaign.