It’s no surprise that the Boston Bruins have underperformed the last two seasons, especially down the stretch, and now, its time to stop living in the past, and look ahead to the future.
The last two off seasons have seen changes come about the front office and player personnel. Last season, the Bruins moved two integral and talented pieces in Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic, in a salary clearing effort. Former General Manager Peter Chiareli was also let go, and he subsequently moved to Edmonton to try and solve their rebuilding problems.
The new regime of Don Sweeney has gotten off to a rocky start, having a below average pull from a star studded and deep draft, to the questionable acquisitions of Lee Stempniak and John Michael Liles. The only two things that those moves did was make the Bruins even older than they already were and lose the Bruins draft picks, four in total, plus Anthony Camara, those picks are just another bad move by Sweeney and his staff.
As previously mentioned, the B’s are an OLD team. The once young and in-their-prime core now features a bunch of 30 somethings on the down swing. Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson are both in their primes at 30 years old, but that’s the golden number for athletes. And either way, its extremely unlikely that Loui returns to Boston next season. Lee Stempniak is 33 and Chris Kelly, who missed most of the year with a fractured leg, is 35. Three out of the top four defenseman in time on ice are above 30. Zdeno Chara is 39 (!!!), John-Michael Liles is 35 and Dennis Seidenberg is 34.
And what happened to the youth of Tuukka Rask? He’s all of a sudden 29.
What’s more frightening is that the Bruins don’t seem to want to get younger. Guys like Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari and Landon Ferraro could have provided valuable contributions and fresh legs down the stretch, yet the Bruins went ahead and gave Max Talbot ice time. Veteran leadership is important on any team, but this team has enough veterans that Max Talbot doesn’t need to play.
The Bruins need to find a way to get younger, before this team really falls apart. In my eyes, this is a team that is going to get worse before it gets better, so stockpiling assets and picks should become a top priority. A lot of pieces should be looked at as tradeable, including, but not limited to, Chara, Krejci, Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid. The only untouchables on this roster should be Bergeron (who should also be named captain, regardless of whether Chara stays or goes), Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Colin Miller, and maybe Torey Krug.
The Bruins still have little to no cap space to go out and get a marquee free agent to be the next face of the franchise, so rebuilding through the draft and smart trades are the way the B’s are going to have to go through this rebuild. Some fan favorites and long time wearers of The Spoked B might be halfway out the door already, and more changes are certain to come to a franchise that desperately need to move on from the greatness of earlier years.
Photo via Zimbio