Take off the black and gold tinted glasses Bruins fans. This isn’t 2011. This isn’t 2013. This isn’t even last year. The Bruins are in trouble. They have too many players at one position, and not enough at others. They have the best line in hockey, but only an injured David Krejci and a second year player in Jake DeBrusk behind them. Tuukka Rask could be on or off any given night. To make matters worse, the Atlantic Division just got a whole lot harder. Last year, things went the Bruins’ way. This year, don’t count on the same thing happening.
This is supposed to be the Bruins year, but a lot of hurdles stand in their way to just get back to same point they did last year, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games. To paraphrase another Boston coach, “Tyler Seguin ain’t walkin’ through that door folks. Milan Lucic isn’t walking through that door, and Nathan Horton ain’t walkin’ through that door either.” The Bruins went into the offseason with a sour taste in their mouths, and they addressed their lack of scoring depth by adding… John Moore? Chris Wagner? Joakim Nordstrom? Come on now.
The Bruins needed scoring from other lines besides the three headed monster of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. They needed to go out and get a big winger to accompany Krejci and DeBrusk on the second line. Instead, they picked up a ninth defenseman on a five-year-deal who might not even dress for opening night, and fourth line fillers that won’t have a discernible impact. The losses of Rick and Riley Nash as well as Tim Schaller will loom large before the trade deadline this year, and the Bruins will be forced to overpay for a big name that can boost scoring.
Last year the Black and Gold amassed 112 points en route to a second seed in the Atlantic Division. However, they had the benefit of not only facing an Atlantic division that as a whole was garbage, but they caught both the Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs at good points throughout most of the season. The Lightning return every key guy on a loaded roster led by Steven Stamkos, and the Leafs added the free agent prize of the summer in John Tavares. Now admittedly, Toronto still hasn’t addressed their horrendous defense corps, but if they possess the puck for the majority of the game, who needs a defense? The Bruins faced the Leafs without star forward Auston Matthews, and the Tampa series last year exposed the Bruins in all facets of the game after the opener.
Boston will finish top three in the Atlantic, but with the Buffalo Sabres on the rise and the Florida Panthers expected to challenge for a playoff spot, divisional games won’t be as easy as last year. Not to mention, the West is loaded with teams like the San Jose Sharks making massive moves in the offseason and the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators are built for long runs into May and June. Bruins fans, wake up and see, without a legitimate pickup midseason, they won’t be challenging for Lord Stanley’s Cup this year. In fact, they will be lucky to make it to the second round.