After exiting the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs in disappointing fashion, Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is presented with a tough agenda: bring the cup back to Boston. The last time a Bruins raised the Stanley Cup was in 2011, and although several players from that team still remain present on the roster, there are some big holes that the GM needs to fill.
First, the Bruins lack speed. Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith have wheels, but lets face it, they don’t have the raw speed to blow past defenders like Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty and Marc Staal, who stand in the way of the Bruins winning another Cup. Marian Gaborik and Chris Kreider would fit perfectly into the Bruins’ system, especially on a top unit with Patrice Bergeron.
The B’s also lack a definitive goal scorer. Without someone that Claude Julien can rely on to burr the puck on a consistent basis, how can the team expect to be a contender? Obviously Gaborik and Kreider know how to finish, and having one of them skate with David Krejci and Milan Lucic could make the trio one of the top lines in the NHL.
With a plethora of young talented defensemen and three strong goaltenders, Chiarelli needs to stay focused on boosting the offense. With Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug proving they can log significant minutes, this leaves room to deal players like Adam McQuaid and Matt Bartkowski, who will help free up some salary space. With the newly-acquired Linus Arnesson, there should be more than enough competition on the back end with so many players battling to earn a spot on the blue line.
The Bruins also have several young forwards who looked good in the few minutes of ice time they saw last season. Matt Fraser, Jordan Caron, Justin Florek and Ryan Spooner are all promising prospects who will look to make an impact early on next season.
Despite having a lot of depth, the Bruins will turn to a few individuals for leadership. Bergeron, Krejci, and Zdeno Chara will all return next year, but the team needs to retain players like Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton, who are in the later parts of their careers, but add an element of experience that is a key part of any successful squad.
There is no doubt that the Bruins could be in the running for the Stanley Cup next season, but it is going to take some serious work from the GM in order to sign a top goal scorer that the Bs can rely on.