Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators in game No. 6 thanks to Clarke McArthur’s overtime goal marked the end of the line for the Bruins’ 2016-2017 campaign.
The Bruins’ 2016-2017 season was one of peaks and valleys.
The Bruins were inconsistent in all aspects of the game throughout the first half of the season. As of February 7th, the Bruins sat at 26-23-6 and were in danger of missing the postseason for the third straight year. This prompted the front office to part ways with head coach Claude Julian who had been the team’s head coach for ten seasons and lead them to a Stanley Cup title in 2011.
Assistant coach Bruce Cassidy took over as interim head coach and the team saw immediate success. The Bruins went 18-9 under Cassidy and accomplished their first playoff berth since the 2013-2014 season.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, injuries caught up with them as they entered the postseason thus resulting in a first round exit after a 4-2 series loss to the Senators.
Boston spent a lot of money in the offseason, and while it may not be clear how worthwhile that was, the arrow seems to be pointed upward. Last summer the Bruins gave stars Torey Krug a four-year, $21-million extension and Brad Marchand an eight-year $49-million contract extension.
The Bruins were active in free agency, but their only real splash came in signing former Blue’s center David Backes. Backes was solid for the Bruins second line, tallying 38 points, including 17 goals.
The other free agency signing to note was the acquisition of former Duck’s goal tender Anton Khudobin who established himself as the teams backup goaltender. Khudobin was inconsistent at times throughout the year with a .904 save percentage, but shined in some games late in the season.
Boston had plenty of opportunities to improve for a playoff run at the trade deadline, but they decided to remain quiet on March 1. The Bruins were red hot at the time, having one seven of eight games under Bruce Cassidy, thus they decided to stay consistent during their late season push for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Bruins did however acquire Drew Stafford from the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional sixth-round draft choice. Stafford gave the Bruins extra support on the left wing during the second half of the season.
Boston’s decision to be inactive at the trade deadline will prove to be the right one in the long run. The Bruins held onto several of their top prospects, including defenseman Charlie McAvoy who saw his fair share of action in the postseason.
The Bruins have a lot to be excited about for their 2017-2018 campaign. After their late season success and the emergence of Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins will now be more willing to make moves to turn themselves into a true contender.