Needless to say, but I'm going to anyway; the Boston Bruins totally choked this season. Finishing with a record of 42-31-9 (an embarrassing 17-18-6 at home), Boston tallied 93 points and finished in a virtual tie with the 8-seeded Detroit Red Wings. The Wings held the tie-breaker, leaving the B's in their dust and making the postseason. This is also the second consecutive year that the Boston Bruins have missed playing in the big dance, but it seems like they have some building blocks in place for a run next year.
It all starts at the helm. Shortly after the Senators crushed the hearts of Bruins Nation by crushing the B's 6-1 at the Garden on the season's last day, Don Sweeney came out and said that Claude Julien will return as Bruins head coach for a 10th season. Following the collapse, it appeared that the winningest coach in Boston Bruins history was destined for other job interviews this off-season. I was on the train of people who wanted him gone but, looking back on it, it was probably for the best that he stays in Boston. Julien's old-school, rag-tag style of coaching benefited the Bruins for much of is tenure here and it would be unfair to him to let him go.
The Bruins also lucked out with some contracts already, as Alexander Khokhlachev and Max Talbot both signed to play overseas, opening the door for young studs Frank Vatrano (led AHL with 36 goals in 36 games) and Seth Griffith (2nd in AHL with 77 points) to finally get the opportunity to play a full season with the big boys. Whether that is 1st line or 4th line, Griffith and Vatrano will finally play where they belong.
Among the young prospects for Boston is a defenseman named Colin Miller. Miller was the player in return from LA in the Milan Lucic trade. Miller, at the events night back in 2014-15, won the AHL's fastest skater competition AND the hardest shot. Miller scored 4 goals in 20 games for Providence this year, although he split time between there and Boston, where he netted 3 goals in 42 games. Miller should've been up all year over the likes of Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman, and it showed when he played. Having Miller on the same line as Chara gives the opposition fits as they both can blast the puck at speeds north of 100 MPH.
Lastly, we will hopefully get a full season of David Pastrnak, who missed 31 games due to injury and still scored 15 goals in 51 games. Pastrnak ended the season on fire and should leave many to believe he's the next big scorer in Beantown for years to come. Pastrnak will presumably get promoted to the first line with Marchand and Bergeron, where Pasta can feed off of the offense that the other two bring to the party, sort of like Tyler Seguin was able to do with Krejci back in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Other than that, we still have our big name guys of Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Spooner, Chara, and Rask. Hopefully Rask can bounce back, which is expected if the Bruins fill in their holes they have on defense.