After winning a cup in 2011 the Boston Bruins brought back roughly the same team, only Michael Ryder and Marc Recchi were lost from the forwards and Tomas Kaberle from the blue line. The following season ended with a first round exit and the proverbial “cup hangover” came into the light.
That will not happen this upcoming season.
Tough financial decisions were made, but ultimately they were moves that improved this team in almost every spot. Sure the loss of Andrew Ference hurts on and off the ice, but Torey Krug and Matt Bartowski showed that they are ready to contribute and have a skill set that Ference just doesn’t have. Ference was a heart and soul guy and has great leadership qualities, so how can that be replaced?
Go get a nine-year captain and a face of a franchise type of guy like Jarome Iginla, that’s how. Iginla has that on his resume and can be that kind of guy, but we saw three leaders blossom right in front of our eyes during the playoffs. David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Johnny Boychuck all stepped up in big ways at different times. These guys have the makeup and understanding of what it takes.
Next, the offensive production of Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, and Jaromir Jagr has to be replaced. That Iginla guy has scored more than 20 goals in 14 of 17 seasons; obviously he is not the player he once was, but playing with a Krejci or Patrice Bergeron, pencil him in for 20 plus this season.
The mystery man Loui Eriksson is going to bring more offense than Iginla and probably a lot more than expected by fans. Before the lockout happened Eriksson had more than 25 goals in four straight seasons.
The skill level and intangible things have been replaced, and new players are going to have to step up to take this team where they want to go. Already looking at the roster right now it doesn’t reek of a stale, tired and mentally unready team like there was in 2011-2012.
Even more than the roster changes, the way that the season ended should fuel this team moving forward. In recent years the Bruins have had pretty a extreme bounce back after disappointing playoffs.
That historical choke against the Philadelphia Flyers was followed up the next season with a Stanley Cup. The first round loss in Game 7 to the Washington Capitals was just followed with a berth in the finals.
Coughing up a two goal lead with less than two minutes to play in Game 6 on home ice falls into that group of disappointing. Expect the Bruins to be better this year.
Follow Bobby Doherty on twitter @BobbyDoherty_