The Boston Bruins could be in for a major shakeup. Sentiments echoed by a number of media insiders close to the team, including Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic and Kevin Paul Dupont of Boston.com suggest the team might be gearing up to make some interesting moves.
For example, on his latest episode of the 31 Thoughts podcast, Friedman noted that unlike a team like the Philadelphia Flyers, who might want to make another run with the roster they have, the Bruins could be among the busier teams with some significant turnover. He highly doubts many of the Bruins players who made up this past season’s roster will be back next season.
Why Would the Bruins Need to Make So Many Changes?
Here’s what we already know:
One, Torey Krug has said it’s time for him to make good on a career that has led him to the opportunity to test free agency. He’s not terribly interested in taking a home town discount and he’s completely ruled out a one-year deal with the Bruins to help navigate the less-than clear trail that will be the flat NHL salary cap.
Two, Zdeno Chara wants to return, but there are questions about how effective he’ll be, what kind of contract he’ll ask for or should receive and what the Bruins can afford to pay. In fact, it’s not clear if the Bruins are even interested in the big guy coming back.
Three, Tuukka Rask says he plans to return to play out the final year of his NHL contract, but, fair or not, there have been questions raised about his passion for the game.
Four, there have been rumors that perhaps Brandon Carlo’s name is out there in the rumor mill as the Bruins know there’s a huge market for defenseman and they might be curious to see what they can get. As Friedman noted on the podcast, “The Bruins are a team that don’t think they score enough.”. Moving a defenseman for a forward might be part of their game plan.
Five, all anyone really knows is that Team president Cam Neely hinted at significant change when he noted the need to be “brutally honest” about where the franchise is headed in the next couple of years. Further to that, GM Don Sweeney said Wednesday “We actually have the space to do the things necessary to do internally. Whether or not we do those or execute those, that still remains to be seen.”
All of that hints the Bruins are thinking what they have needs improvement.
How Good Are the Bruins?
The Bruins led the NHL in the regular-season standings with 44 wins and 100 points. They also just had their coach Bruce Cassidy named coach of the year, a decision Jeff Marek called a pretty easy one to make because he “kept a great team great.” But, clearly, if the Bruins are thinking about shaking things up, and quite dramaticaly, how great are they? Maybe the better question is, ‘How great do they think they are?’
An early exit from the postseason at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning seems to have them guessing. The Bruins were badly outscored, so it seems strange to think the team would look at moving Jake DeBrusk, or letting Torey Krug walk. But, they are. Perhaps they think they can do better.
That Carlo and a player like Anders Bjork — and to a lesser degree, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen and Trent Frederic — are fielding interest, the Bruins have decided to listen. For example, Sweeney said of Bjork, “At some point, he’s either going to have to score, or be even better as a stronger checking forward and penalty-killing player. That’s to be determined.”
Not exactly a glowing review. It’s also an interesting statement considering the team just extended him for three years this past July.
Who Are They Making Space For?
This is also a time where the Bruins have to really assess their prospects, many of which came from the 2015 draft. It’s been five seasons and they had three picks in the first round, seemingly missing on two of them.
So too, veterans like David Krejci will be up for renewal after next season and the Bruins can’t realistically be interested in bringing him back at anywhere near the $7.25 price tag he’s commanding now.
Needless to say, the Bruins realize they need to take a good hard look at their roster and see if there might be better options shaking loose in what is shaping up to be a particularly wild offseason with a ton of movement.
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