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The Boston Bruins are coming off the most successful regular season in NHL history (playoffs? not so much…) and a big question that’ll hang over the team during the 2023-24 season is whether or not they’ll be able to string together another season like that.
Now-former Bruin Patrice Bergeron thinks his former team will be A-okay this season.
I mean, he would know, wouldn’t he?
“It’s a team that, every year, finds a way to always play the same,” Berergon said during a charity hockey game he organizes with fellow ex-NHLer Simon Gagne (underrated legend of the late ’90s/early ’00s), per NHL.com.
“They’re hard to play against because they give up nothing defensively,” he continued, “and offensively, everyone contributes.”
Bergeron announced his retirement a few weeks ago and was still playing at a very high level when he decided to hang it up taking home his sixth Selke Trophy.
However, while he was the most noteworthy player to leave the team, he was far from the only one.
Boston Saw Some Considerable Turnover This Offseason
This is what I think will make the Boston Bruins one of the most fun teams to watch this coming season.
While key pieces like Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and the goaltending duo of Jeremy Swayman and Vezina-winner Linus Ullmark are back, plenty of others have skipped town.
Deadline acquisitions Tyler Bertuzzi, Garnet Hathaway, and Dmitry Orlov all signed elsewhere (with the Maple Leafs, Flyers, and Hurricanes respectively). Tomas Nosek became a UFA and signed with the Devils, while the team still waits to hear if UFA David Krejci will return for another bite at the apple.
Meanwhile, veterans Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno were traded to the Blackhawks.
It seemed to me that with an aging core and a slew of rental players, the Bruins were in win-now mode last season. Not like they wanted to win in the next few years; they planned on winning the Stanley Cup during the 2022-23 season.
That didn’t pan out.
Can The Bruins Follow In The Footsteps Of Other Dominant Teams That Failed To Win The Cup?
Now, there have always been parallels between last season’s Bruins and the 1995-96 Red Wings and 2018-19 Lightning.
Those two teams had the most regular season wins before the 2022-23 Bruins, and like the Bruins, they both failed to win the Stanley Cup that same season. The Lightning even made a first-round exit just like the Bruins, only theirs was far more spectacular.
Both the Red Wings and Lightning won the Cup the following season. However, in my mind, the difference with the Bruins is that that they experienced a lot of turnover during the offseason, Plus, the team’s core (which isn’t getting any younger) loses a huge piece in Bergeron.
The team’s GM Don Sweeney did make some additions in free agency. He brought in James Van Riemsdyk for a good body in front of the net. Morgan Geekie is a decent signee who put up 29 points with the Kraken last season. Meanwhile, he also brought in Kevin Shattenkirk, who while not as offensively potent as he once was, will be a good veteran presence on the blueline.
Does that seem to make up for losing even just the rental players from last season like Bertuzzi, Orlov, and Hathaway?
I don’t know that it does.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the Bruins will make the postseason, perhaps even easily. I just think that the days of the world-beating, Cup favorite Bruins we saw last year are gone at least for now.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle