Mid Summer Report: Boston Bruins

download (12)By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com
As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the Boston Bruins

Last Season’s Finish:  42-31-9, 93 pts, 4th in the Atlantic Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • F David Backes (UFA)
  • G Anton Khudobin (UFA)
  • F Riley Nash (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • F Max Talbot (KHL)
  • D Dennis Seidenberg (UFA)
  • F Loui Eriksson (Vancouver)
  • D Zach Trotman (Los Angeles)
  • G Jonas Gustavsson (Edmonton)
  • F Lee Stempniak (Carolina)
  • F Brett Connolly (Washington)
  • F Chris Kelly (Ottawa)
  • F Landon Ferraro (St Louis)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Frank Vatrano
  • F Noel Acciari
  • F Tyler Randell
  • D Joe Morrow
  • D Matt Grzelcyk

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/9)

  • none

Current Cap Situation as of 8/9/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $66,268,333
  • Current salary cap space: $6,731,667

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, Brad Marchand, Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak, Riley Nash, Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari, Tyler Randell
Defensemen
Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, John-Michael Liles, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow
Goalies
Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin

 

Outlook:

The Bruins are a team in transition.  After winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, then returning to the finals in 2013, they began to feel the salary cap pinch as a result of their success.  They had to start shedding some of their assets due to being unable to fit them under the cap.  Moved out were key members of the team, like Johnny Boychuk, Dougie Hamilton, and Milan Lucic.  As a result of these moves, the Bruins came back down to earth.  While they still made the playoffs in 2014, they lost in the second round.  The fall continued in 2015 and 2016, as they failed to make the playoffs both years, although they ended up 9th both years.  So, having missed the playoffs two straight years, GM Don Sweeney set out to really turn hits team toward the future.  He started by buying out Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on June 30, then chose not to resign several veteran players who were headed for unrestricted free agency, including Loui Eriksson, Lee Stempniak, Brett Connolly, and Chris Kelly.  This effectively got the Bruins out of salary cap jail after having been there for the last several years.  Sweeney wasted no time using his newly found salary cap room, signing veteran forward David Backes.  There was a lot of talk out of Boston that the Bruins were also looking to add a free agent defenseman, but to date, they have yet to land a top-4 D-man.  So, at this time, it looks as though the Bruins will be heading into the 16-17 season relying on a lot of their youth. Good thing they have plenty of it.  Unfortunately, it looks like it is going to be a difficult season for Boston fans this season, unless some of their prospects perform much better than expected.  Most of the core of the 2011 team is still in Boston, so don’t count them out, but it looks like 16-17 will be a lot like the last couple seasons.