With the COVID-19 pandemic halting every sport, the offseason is just around the corner. Despite the shutdown life in the NHL will eventually resume. Many questions arise due to the pandemic. How will this virus affect the draft and overseas players? What will the market be for borderline free agents? These are the challenging questions in the scary days ahead. The summer of 2020 will be challenging for the Boston Bruins. In this post, I will cover the three pressing needs facing the organization ahead of this crucial offseason.
Adding An Experienced Defenseman
The Bruins have 61,000,000 dollars tied up for 17 players next season. The two most notable pending free agents are Jake DeBrusk (RFA) and Torey Krug (UFA). Krug is one of the most productive players in all of hockey. Jake DeBrusk is coming into his own. If Krug leaves, the Bruins’ power play will suffer drastically. DeBrusk was having a breakout season, netting 16 goals and contributing 13 assists for 29 points. Look for the Bruins to come to terms with DeBrusk.
A second issue for the Bruins is the defense. Matt Grzelcyk is an RFA, and Torey Krug is a pending UFA. Every hockey fan knows that Krug is one of the best in the league. However, the Bruins will make an all-out attempt to resign Krug. With Zdeno Chara‘s skills diminishing, getting a Krug deal done is a priority.
A Full-Time Goaltender
With signs pointing to a Tuukka Rask retirement, a full-time netminder is of the essence. A personal favorite of mine is Robin Lehner. With a cap hit of $1.4 million dollars, he could be the best deal on the market. At 28 years old, Lehner was 19-10 in 36 games for the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Blackhawks this season. Career-wise, he is 120-45 with an impressive 2.77 GAA and .918 save percentage.
Playoffs-wise, he has limited experience, both with Ottawa in 2013 and the Islanders in 2019. With Jaroslav Halak signing a one-year extension, Lehner could be a perfect fit for the Bruins.
With an aging Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, it may be time for a change on the first two lines. Boston may only have enough cap space to resign Krug and Grzelyck. After that, GM Don Sweeney is facing some serious choices.
If Tuukka Rask does retire, Boston fans are in for a shocker. Finding an adequate replacement will not be easy. Time is running out on the last Stanley Cup group. Adding another defenseman or two is also on the list. Some interesting names include Dylan DeMelo of Winnipeg.
With the 2020 NHL season in limbo, executives are scrambling to reach a safe return date. Owners are meeting with local leaders on where and when practices can resume. If the 2020 season is salvaged, the Bruins have an excellent chance to return to the Stanley Cup.
Whatever the outcome is, the Bruins have crucial decisions to make going forward. One thing is for certain, NHL fans are patiently awaiting the return of their favorite teams.
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