By Stu Laperle on June 10, 2014
It is obvious that the Boston Bruins need to go out and test the free agency waters this offseason, but it may not be a speedy forward who has the biggest impact on the team this year. There are a ton of talented players looking for new teams, and it is crucial that the B's cash in on a few of them. Here are five players who could help the Bruins get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.
It is essential that Jarome Iginla remains a Bruin. Iggy was a huge part of the B's offensive production last season. He produced his 12th 30-goal season of his career and was tied for the team lead in goals. His consistent play and experience is exactly what the Bruins need. GM Peter Charielli needs to lock up Iginla before he targets any other free agents.
The B's are desperate for speed up front. Chris Kreider is a young and highly-skilled forward who would bring a lot to the middle of the roster, and the Boston College alum would be more than welcomed back to Boston. While Krieder brings a gritty style, Zuccarello has silky smooth hands and can elude defenders with his raw speed. Either of these restricted free agents would be a great addition to the Bruins.
Thomas Vanek has enjoyed consistent regular season success since he was drafted to the Buffalo Sabres in 2003. Labeled as a sniper, Vanek can pick a corner from anywhere on the ice, and he's not afraid to wrist one five-hole either. Vanek had poor chemistry with the Canadiens' top unit, and the Habs' management was frustrated with his lack of success in the playoffs. Vanek won't be wearing a Canadiens sweater next season.
At 32 years old, Marian Gaborik still has a lot of hockey left in him. If the B's were to secure Iginla and Gaborik in the offseason, that would shore up the top two lines and give Patrice Bergeron a speedy winger who can help him him on his way to collecting 40 assists next season. Lock up Gaborik and the Bruins will make a run at the Cup.
With a player of this caliber rivalries go out the window. I know the Bruins already have more than enough defensemen, but defense wins championships; if the B's acquire Subban, they will have the best defensive corps in the league, hands down. With limited salary room, this move may be a long shot, but if the B's were to make room for Subban, the Eastern Conference will have a tough time even getting a shot through on Rask.
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