With the 2018/19 NHL season set to get underway this week, Bruins fans are optimistic about the upcoming season. With Tampa Bay and Toronto, the teams to beat in the East hopes are high for a successful Bruins season. In this post, we will cover three reasons why goaltending will be the key ingredients for the Bruins to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Why Goaltending Will Take The Bruins To The Promise Land In 2018/19
Upgrade In Goaltending; Although Toronto signed John Tavares the Bruins did some moves of their own this offseason. One important move was signing free agent goalie Jaroslav Halak.
In 54 games with the Islanders, last season Halak compiled a 20_-26 record 908 save percentage. As for the playoffs Halak has played in 30 career playoff games while posting a 13-15 record and a 908 save percentage. Halak is is a huge upgrade over last year’s backup Anton Khudobin. Halak’s playoff experience should be a huge help for Tuukka Rask.
Defensive Improvements; Last season the Bruins had one of the best defenses in the NHL. With the trading of veteran Adam McQuaid, the Bruins added former Devils defenseman, John Moore. Moore who has played in a total of 446 career games has 32 career goals and 67 assists. Moore who is noted for his speed and puck handling skills will be a definite upgrade on the power play. Also, his leadership will be a big plus in the locker room.
One other trade in the defensive department was acquiring Stephen Kampfer from the Rangers. Kampfer was part of the Adam McQuaid deal with the Rangers midway through training camp.
Youth Movement; Along with the offseason moves the Bruins continue to grow their roster with younger and quicker players. Last seasons number one draft pick Axel Andersson is competing for a full _time roster spot. With youngsters, Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk, Sean Kuraly, Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen already on the roster look for the Bruins to make life difficult for opposing teams this season. Looking ahead; Last season head coach Bruce Cassidy guided the Bruins to a 50-20- record for 112 points in the Eastern Conference. With Former Islander John Tavares signing with Toronto goalie Tuukka Rask has a huge task ahead of him along with the rest of the organization.
The Bruins survived Toronto last season in round one of the playoffs, only losing to Tampa Bay in round two. If the Bruins have any hopes of reaching the finals boils down to a balanced scoring attack, solid defense and a well _rested Tuukka Rask.
With NHL training camps just around the corner. There are still some quality free agents available that could be an attractive bargain that the Bruins Should target. In this article, we’ll three areas that the Bruins need to shore up on before tha start of the 2018/19 hockey season. Playoff Aspirations; For the first time in three years the Bruins qualified for the 2017/18 playoffs. With a nice mixture of youth and veterans, General Manager has the Bruins going in the right direction. Despite a first_ round exit at the hands of the Ottawa Senators postseason has returned to Causeway Street. Improved Defense; Boston has a nice group of veteran defenseman and youth too work with. Ageless wonder Zdeno Chara continues to pile up the minutes. Injury prone Adam McQuaid is still productive when healthy. Youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo bring energy with every shift. Re-sign Pastrnak; The Bruins are coming off a very quiet offseason. First and foremost the team needs to re-sign forward David Pastrnak. Pastrnak a third _yeaplayer has put up _put up big numbers in his three short years. If the Bruins hope to go deep in the playoffs then re-signing Pastrnak would send a positive message. Available Free Agents; With the big name free agents already committed to other teams, there are still some quality free agents available. One name that would be a good fit in Boston , is Roman Polak. The 31 -year old defenseman Polak would provide depth for the defense. Two more names that could help the Bruins would be Sabres blueliner, Cody Franson. Franson a thirty_seven year _old veteran would be a character player for a team on the rise. Lastly, first_year coach Bruce Cassidy needs to practice patience. This is a young team seeking an identity. With a veteran core group and young players this is a team to take seriously. If Cassidy can keep goalies Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin fresh then the Bruins could make things interesting. Other than Pastrnak spending money on big name free agents has never been the Bruins style. , ,
With NHL training camps officially undeway it’s time for hockey fans to start making their predictions.With a new expansion team hockey should be better than ever tis year. Welcome hockeys newest team the Las Vegas Knights. Lets examine three teams that will give the Penguins a run for their money. A team to keep a close eye on is Edmonton. General manager Peter Chairelli has developed the Oilers into a contender in just three years. He has two of the games elite Stars. Forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisiaitl are two of the games best. Both signed long term deals over the summer. McDavids deal is for eight years,one of the largest in team history. Defensively the Oilers are solid with veterans Kris Russell and Matt Benning protecting goalie Cam Talbot.The team also added winger Ryan Strome from the Islanders. Strome is regarded as a depth move and brings a physical presence to the roster. Dallas is a team that was very busy this past off season. The First order of business was the firing of head coach Lindy Ruff. Ruff was replaced by long time veteran Ken Hitchcock. Hitchcock previously coached the Stars ten years ago before moving on to St.Louis. The also added veteran goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop signed a six year deal thatshould bring depth to the goalie department Last years goalie Kari Lehtonen struggled through most of the season. Defensively Dallas acquired Mark Methot from Las Vegas.Plus the team signed Martin Hanzal and Tyler Pitlick. The new additions plus Hitchcock as coach should mix in well with star players Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Within time the Stars should be serious contenders. This leads us to the Bruins. With a new head coach and a nice mix of veterans and rookies the Bruins could be the surprise of the league. Veteran goalie Tuukka Rask is only thirty, and still has plenty of upside.Look for youngsters Charlie Mc Avoy and Brandon Carlo to be elite defenseman.Look for the Bruins to challenge in the Stanley Cup finals.
Now that the Bruins have officially namede Bruce Cassidy head coach it’s time for the 2017 Bruins to go forward. With one of the youngest rosters in the NHL goaltending is still the main area of concern for this years Bruins club. The Bruins finally qualified for the playoffs after a two year absence. Development comes within time. Adding youth and veterans together the Bruins should be serious playoff contenders. Goal tender Tukka Rask is entering his eight NHL season as Boston’s goalie. He finished last year with a 37-20 record and a 2.64 goals against average. Not to mention eight shutouts and five ties. According to Sports Iluustrated Rask is ranke fouteeth among NHL starting goalies. Not bad company. But since the Bruins 2012 Stanley Cup loss to the Blackhwaks Rask has not won a post season round. This could be the result of various reasons. The main reason I feel is Rask plays to many games. Sixty five games plus the playoffs takes it’s toll on you. Personally I think Bruce Cassidy needs to rotate his goalies. Fifty five games and the playoffs would help mentally and physically. Depth wise the Bruins have Anton Khudobin and Zane Mcintyre in Providece. Khudobin is in his second season as Boston’s backup. Last year he had a 2.35 goals against average and a record of 8-6. Mcintyre only saw limited duty with only two apperances. Rotation is the key I feel to the Bruins success this year. If the Bruins can get steady backup play from Mcintyre and Khudobin then the Bruins should be OK. One thing the Bruins did learn from last year was expierience. Experience is your greatest teacher. With youngsters, McAvoy, Jakub Zboril,Brandon Carlo ,and Rob O’Gara fighting for a defensive pairing the defense should be solid. With veterans Dave Krejci,Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand leading the way the Bruins should make a strong bid for the Stanley Cup. Mistakes come with youth. Veterans also make mistakes. Mix the two factors together and you’ve got a pretty good team. Goaltending is still the Bruins main concern in 2017/18.
With the 2017 NHL free agency season moving right along the Boston Bruins have one main priority to take care of. That priority is to sign rising star David Pastrnak to a long term deal. Currently Pastrnak is under team control for three years. Pastrnak the Bruins number one draft pick in2014 had a breakout season netting 34 goals and 36 assist and is rapidly becoming one of the dominant players in the NHL. Negotiations are moving a long slowly but hopefully in the right direction.Pastrnak is currently earning $ 2,275,000 dollars with a yearly salary of $ 925,000. One option the Bruins could take would be a bridge contract. With a bridge contract this would give the Bruins some flexibility especially with it’s young group of players coming up. Keep in mind however this is a common problem in the NHL. Two players in similar situations are Capitals forward TJ Oshie and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. Oshie recently signed a long term deal with the Capitals earlier this summer. Oshie’s deal is a $ 46,000,000 with a $20,000,000 signing bonus. In two years Oshie has been one of the most productive players in the league.Last season he scored 33 goals and 33 assist and the year before 26 goals and 25 assists. Kucherov on the other hand has put together two solid back to back seasons. In 2017 he scored 40goals and 45 assists for a total of 85 points. The year before 2014/15 he netted 30 goals and 36 assists. If you look at Pastrnaks numbers he’s right in the middle of both players. When it’s all said and done look for the Bruins to offer Pastrnak a long term deal worth $14,000,000 or $15,000,000 per season with a handsome signing bonus. Overall this summer the Bruins have been realitively quiet One small move was signing Winnipeg’s Paul Postma. Postma a seven year veteran had 1 goal and 13 assists in 65 games last year for the Jets. Also the Bruins inked winger Noel Accari to a two year contract. The Bruins had a solid campaign in 2017. The team ranked eighth in the NHL in defense. If they want to go deeper inthe playoffs goalie Tukka Rask needs to be protected. The B’s have two young defeseman on the rise Brandon Carlo and 2016 number one pick Charlie McAvoy. If the Bruins are to go forward signing Pastrnak would be a positive step and send the right message to the team.
So what direction will the Bruins go in this summer? A gutsy move would be to replace net minder Tukka Rask. Rask hasbeen heavily criticized for his poor post season performance the past four years. The only issue is Rask is in the third year of an eight year contract about a 7,000,000, million dollar cap hit. But who out their is better. Playoff wise Rask has made 53 appearances and winning 23. Since the Stanley Cup the B’s have suffered painful exits to the Blackhawks and Canadiens twice. And two years without any trip to post season. Barring any trades a interesting free agent is Kings goaltender Ben Bishop. Bishop 30 years old was dealt to the Kings mid way through last year. A playoff record of 21-13 GAA2.09. Bishop has a cap hit 5,590,000 a little cheaper than Rask. But roughly the same age most likely will be overpaid by some team. Not a good Bruins fit. Mike McKenna of the Lighting is another veteran available. McKenna is a well traveled player. However he’s only played in 27NHL games and at 34 is on the last leg of his career. Would not be a good fit for the Bruins. An intriguing player available is BlackHawk backup goalie Scott Darling. Darling has a Stanley Cup ring and had an ecellent teacher in Corey Crawford. Only 28 Darling is in the prime of his career. Jf theBs were to make a move d be their best fit He would be long term and cheap. A career record of 17-9 238 GAA. The last player available is Flyer backup Steve Mason. Mason 29 years old. Mason has played in 58 NHL games has a 26-21 record 2.66 GAA. In the playoffs he’s 2-9 with a 3.35 GAA. Maybe a good fit for Providence and Boston. But at best a backup. No matter what direction they go in the Bruins need to make deep post season runs at in the playoffs. Tukka Rask has had sveral years to do it but keeps coming up short. Bruin fans are waiting patiently for another Cup. If they come up short another year moving him and his 7,000,000 dollar contract might be their best logical choice.