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Bruins: Failing Grade

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With the 2020 NHL offseason nearly complete, it’s time to examine the Bruins offseason transactions. With some cap space still left, the organization still needs to resolve the Zdeno Chara contract. In this post, we will review four areas of why the Bruins receive a failing grade this off-season.

Why The Bruins Receive A Failing Grade This Off-Season

Poor Drafting Decisions

With only four picks this year, the Bruins drafted for the future and not for the next upcoming seasons. With any luck, the Bruins may see them in two-years if they develop on time.

For example, Trevor Kuntar is a proven scorer in the USHL, but he is committed to Boston College. Instead of drafting a seasoned college player, the Bruins took the younger route.

Center David Krejci is aging, and the second-line center is the subject of trade rumors. By drafting a center right out of college, they can fill a need during the season.

Lose A valuable Player In Torey Krug

The second area of concern is the departure of Torey Krug. Krug signed with the St. Louis Blues in free agency. Losing Krug means losing a valuable player on defense.

In Krug, the Bruins are losing a key member on the power play. The team had the second_best power play in the NHL last season. The team will have to count on its depth to make up for the loss. Players like Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, and Urho Vaakananien will have to step up.

The Zdeno Chara Situation

Another issue is the Chara situation. Chara has been a Bruin for 14 seasons. At 43, he can still be a valuable piece for the team’s younger players. Chara and Charlie McAvoy are the club’s number one defensive pairing.

If they retain Chara, it will help stabilize a young defensive unit that needs leadership and direction. So far in free agency, the only signings have been Kevan Miller and Grzelcyk. Certainly not enough to keep up with Montreal, Tampa Bay, and Washington in the East. 

Minimal Cap Space Available

Depending on where Zdeno Chara lands, the Bruins need help on defense. With minimal cap space available, General Manager Don Sweeney needs to be aggressive.

The only offseason signings were Craig Smith, Grzelcyk, Zach Senyshyn, and Karson Kuhlman. These are not going to make the team better. Deciding on what to do with Jake DeBrusk remains to be seen. If DeBrusk gets traded, then the Bruins will be forced to make a move.

In my opinion, adding a defenseman is a priority. Two attractive names are Sami Vatanen from Carolina and Ron Hainsey from Ottawa. Despite being injured, Vatanen still put up decent numbers in 19/20. Hainsey, at 39 years old, could be signed for minimal.

Two other decent free agents available are Mike Hoffman and Mikael Granlund. Granlund is young and would provide depth by playing center and wing.

In Hoffman, the Bruins would get one of the games’ most consistent scorers. His driving style skating is what the team lacked in the playoffs. A proven 20 goal scorer for six seasons, Hoffman would also bring a physical game to the Bruins.

Conclusion

The Bruins have been criticized for their lack of aggressiveness in signing players. Only Matt Grzelcyk, Craig Smith, and Kevan Miller have been the standout names.

If a player like Mike Hoffman or Sami Vatanen can not be signed, then the Bruins may be in a rebuild mode. With Tuukka Rask considering retirement, the Bruins can not afford to take a step backward. Head coach Bruce Cassidy has led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup game seven. If the team does not come to terms with Zdeno Chara or a productive free agent, his job may be in jeopardy.

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