September 29, 2013 by andymisek
Not much of a surprise to see the Bruins this high, see as though they were two games away from winning the Stanley Cup. There was a bit of a tool took in the offseason: sending Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas for Loui Eriksson. They were also able to sign Jarome Iginla, who chose Pittsburg over Boston at the trade deadline. There is no reason for Boston to not make another run for the Stanley Cup. Boston Bruins finish 3rd on our NHL Season Countdown.
The Bruins traded away their first round pick to Dallas in the Jaromir Jagr trade. Their biggest move was trading young promise star Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas for Loui Eriksson. While Seguin has the ability to become the best player in the trade, Eriksson is currently the best player. He is an under- rated sniper who is capable of scoring 70-80 points. He will be lining up with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
Boston lost some big pieces during free agency. Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference, and Jaromire Jagr all parted ways with the Bruins. Horton was playing first line minutes during the playoff run and developed good chemistry with Milan Lucic. Andrew Ference was a true leader in the locker room. While his contributions will be missed on the ice, they will be missed even more in the dressing room.
Boston is one of the deepest teams down the middle. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell make of the centers for Boston. Each one is a key in their specific role. Bergeron is a great two way, Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) potential player. Fourth liner Gregory Campbell is one of the best bottom line center and penalty killers in the league. He broke his leg blocking a shot and continued to play for a minute and a half (even blocking another shot). So much respect for Campbell.
Boston’s top six wingers are all stars who are capable to playing a physical game. Brad Marchad, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla are all fantastic power forwards while Louis Eriksson and a sniper. If the new forwards click with the team and learn the system quickly, Boston will be deadly right out of the gate.
Reilly Smith, Ryan Spooner, or Jared Knight will be receiving the opportunity to play with Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg, who is also a rookie. The new look third line might be the biggest question mark coming into the year. All the rookies have very little NHL experience and could struggle playing against other teams top lines. If the prospects to reach slide into the line-up seamlessly, however, there will be no problem.
Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk are the veterans who will be leading the younger Boston defense. Captain Chara is one of the game’s best and Him and Boychuk have developed a bit of chemistry. Chara also has some experience playing with Dennis Seidenberg who has the capability of being a top pairing defensemen.
Seidenberg will be playing with sophomore Dougie Hamilton for the start of next season. Hamilton is the future of Boston’s defense core; playing with Seidenberg will help him mature into a solid all around defenseman.
Boston’s defense is getting much younger. In addition to Dougie Hamilton; Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, and Joe Morrow will be fighting for the last couple of rosters spots. Torey Krug was the big surprise of the 2013 playoffs for Boston when he came in due to injuries. Matt Bartkowski also had some playing time during the playoffs and fared very well. Joe Morrow was obtained in the Loui Eriksson deal and is capable of stealing a spot from one of the other young guys.
Tuukka Rask is an elite goalie. He stood on his head, stealing several games for the Bruins. He was rewarded with a hefty new contract during the off season. He will be playing 65-70 games after losing back-up Anton Khudobin left via free agency. Now Chad Johnson will be backing up Rask. Johnson is a 27 year old career minor league goalie. He has totaled 10 games since 2009-2010. Johnson just isn’t the same quality goalie as Khudobin. Rask will have to pick up the slack.
Boston made some surprisingly big moves (like trading away Tyler Seguin) for a team who made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but it is hard to say they aren’t as good or a better team. Iginla, despite his age, is capable of scoring 25 goals, Loui Eriksson is a great sniper, and the young guys looking to crack the roster are loaded with potential. If Rask could remain healthy, Boston might find themselves back in the Stanley Cup Finals.