The Presidents Trophy winner came into the playoffs with lots of hope that they would become the Stanley Cup champions once again. After losing in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning the Bruins have a lot of questions to be answered this offseason. Don Sweeney will have to work some of his magic if he wants the Bruins to compete for the Stanley cup next season.
Why the Bruins made the Playoffs?
Boston was the best team in the regular season as they won 44 games and earned 100 points during the 70 games shortened regular season. Every good team has a good offence or defence, the Bruins had both. The Bruins finished tied for seventh in the league with 227 goals. To complement Boston’s excellent offensive their defensive is even better. Boston allowed the least goals during the shortened regular season. The Bruins only allowed 167 goals during the shortened season. Boston also had elite special team units as they converted 25.2% power plays into goals. That was good enough for second in the league. Their penalty kill was nothing to sniff at either as the Bruins kill off 84.3% of their penalties. Their penalty kill ranked third in the league.
Why couldn’t they win the Stanley cup?
Although the bruins seemed to be a cup favourite for many, the eventually came up short yet again. The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Bruins in the second round of the playoffs. The Lightning eventually went on to win the Stanley cup while Boston was sent packing earlier on. The Lightning dominated the series against the Bruins and finished Boston off in five games.
Possible Trade Candidates
With rumours swirling around certain players being moved some of the Bruins fans realize their former favourite players may not be on the roster for next season. GM Don Sweeney will have to work through some major cap issues to ensure the fanbases’ favourite players are on the roster come next season.
The defenseman from Michigan is a pending unrestricted free agent. With Boston struggling for cap space the team may have to cut ties with Krug. Torey Krug has spent his entire career with Boston after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent. Krug has been nothing but spectacular for the Bruins. He consistently scores 50+ points during a season and provides solid defence. As the Bruins continue to shop the rights of Krug around the league the likely hood of him resigning decreases. Krug will be paid handsomely for his services on his next contract. The new deal should around 9 million dollars.
The flashy Bruins forward is a pending restricted free agent this offseason. Similar to Krug rumours about Debrusk potentially being traded have been swirling. Rumours have been Jake Debrusk being traded to his father’s former team. Louie Debrusk is Jake Debrusk’s father and he played for the Oilers between 1991-1997. Jake would probably love playing for his father’s old team but the Bruins control Jake’s destiny. The Bruins should look to resign Debrusk to a long-term extension worth 5-6 million dollars.
After leaving the bubble backup goalie Jaroslav Halak was thrust into action. Halak played well during his time in the playoffs. With Halak showing he can still be a solid starting goalie and Dan Vladar playing ridiculously well in the AHL Tuukka Rask may be on the trading block. The goalie most likely will not be traded considering he has been playing at a level capable of winning the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie in recent seasons.
Free Agent and Trade Targets
As free agency nears closer Gm Don Sweeney seems to be getting in more and more discussions about possibly bringing top-tier players to the organization. If Sweeney can pull of these transactions the Bruins will be in Stanley cup contention for a long time.
The Florida Panthers forward is one of the best snipers in the entire NHL. After scoring 25 goals adding 22 assists during 69 games Dadonov will be a sought-after free agent. During the playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins struggled to score. If Dadonov signs with Boston he will do wonders for the Bruins second line. A second line with Jake Debrusk, David Krejci, and Evengii Dadonov would-be killer and could potentially make the Bruins Stanley cup champions.
As tensions begin to rise between the Arizona Coyotes and Oliver Ekman- Larson two teams seem to be emerging as the front runners to acquire his rights. The Bruins and Canucks are the two teams that very interested in trading for Ekman-Larson. He had perhaps his worst season during the 2019-20 season. Ekman-Larson disappointed with only 9 goals and 21 assists. If a change of scenario is all he needs to have a bounce-back season then Boston would be a perfect place. If Torey Krug leaves then Ekman-Larson can slide right into Krug’s old spot in the lineup. To trade for Oliver Ekman-Larson the Bruins will have to give up a lot of value but it will be worth it as he is one of the best all-around defensemen in the league.
The Presidents Trophy winner finished their season in a disappointing fashion. In the 2020-21 season, the Bruins should be hungrier than ever to win a Stanley cup. The team is still bubbling with talent and the possibility to add even more talent the Bruins will be a very scary team to face next season.
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