The Bruins began their offseason much earlier than they would have liked to. After a disappointing season the Bruins have a lot of issues that need to be addressed. Some problems have been fixed while others still linger over the team.
The Bruins first big move was the firing of their GM Peter Chiarelli, and the subsequent in-house hiring of team executive, Don Sweeney. To most this move came as no surprise as Chiarelli has played a momentous role in the Bruins’ lack luster play over the past season.
There were many poor trades and free-agent signings that Chiarelli has made over the past few years that finally culminated in the Bruins missing out on the 2015 playoffs. One of the more glaring of these moves was the infamous “seguin trade” that sent young superstar, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly to Dallas for Louis Eriksson and Reilly Smith.
Obviously I was upset when this first happened but I gave Chiarelli a pass. Segiun did not fit the Bruins’ system and Chiarelli had helped the team to two Stanley Cup appearances in three years. So he was obviously doing something right. The wheels really started to fall off when the team decided to part ways with one of their talented goal scorers, Nathan Horton.
The team, however, was able to power through these moves and claim the President’s Trophy in the following 2014 season. After an early departure from the playoffs at the hands of the rival Montreal Canadians, there were many questions that Chiarelli did not have the answers to. During the offseason Chiarelli let enforcer, Shawn Thorton go and traded away blue collar defenseman, Johnny Boychuck.
These were the moves that set off the powder keg. The Bruins had abandoned their identity of being a physically imposing team that could fight when it needed to. The problems that they encountered over the season was that they still tried to play in Julien’s system without the proper personnel needed to do so.
The team struggled and it was apparent that they could not find a grove at any point within the season. They played mediocre hockey for most of the season and the fans never really saw the desire that carried them to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals just two seasons earlier.
In order for them to be successful this season they do not necessarily have to play in Julian’s system, but they do however need to find an identity. They cannot have a repeat of last year where they never truly found who they were.
Now things have become a lot more interesting with the rumors of a possible Phil Kessel reunion in the works. A guy with his caliber of talent could easily help to right the ship. He has great speed, good goal scoring ability, and solid defense. After losing Seguin and gaining little in return, it would be nice to be able to have Kessel back for our troubles.
While Kessel would have an immediate impact on the team it is up to the core guys to really step up. You always know what you’re going to get with guys like Bergeron, Chara, and Rask, but there are a lot of question marks with regards to the other guys. We know Krejci has the potential to be a top line scorer, but so often we see him struggle to put up points on the stat sheet. I would imagine with the addition of Phil Kessel, Krejci’s points would skyrocket. If that move does not occur though, Krejci needs to be able to make plays consistently.
For this to occur Lucic too needs to elevate his game. Lucic has been a player who has been frustrating to watch over the past couple of years. He often seems to be a step behind and has lost a bit of his physical play. Lucic is still a young player who has a tremendous amount of experience, and we have all seen what he can do when he is on his game. It just seems as though that has become rarer and rarer by the season. If the Bruins want to get back to their physical ways they are going to need the best Milan Lucic that they can get.
There is also the question of what to do about the Swedes, Eriksson and Soderberg. Half this question has been answered for us as Don Sweeney has said the team will move on from Soderberg. If Bruins want to take the team in an offensive direction then it would be best to hold onto Eriksson, as he would be a solid depth player. If, however, the B’s want to go back to their roots with defense then it is time to move on from Eriksson.
I like the both of them, but they are the definition of soft players, and if the Bruins want to go all in on physicality, then these are the exact type of players they need to dump.
Now there’s one more player I want to talk about, and this leads me to my hot take of this whole thing. Get rid of Brad Marchand. He has been a player who has really aggravated me over the past couple seasons. It seems that every game he is taking some stupid boarding call, or a roughing minor, and always ends up biting the team in the end. These antics were fine when he a plus/minus of 36, but last year he was only at a 5, which is unacceptable for someone playing with the great Patrice Bergeron.
Marchand’s scoring has always been there, but he just has yet to mature as a player and I feel as if it is time we ship him out. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his antics when he was punching Sedin in the face on their way to winning a cup, but now I’m just tired of dumb penalty after dumb penalty.
Either direction that the Bruins choose to go, there needs to be an overhaul of their current roster, as well as their system. As much as Claude Julian and his system can be a detriment to the team, he has led them to two Stanley Cup appearances and one win, so he has championship caliber coaching within him. I’m just praying that we do not have a repeat of last year.
By Jake Cianci