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NHL Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins: 5 Players to Build Around in 2014

Boston Bruins: 5 Players to Build Around in 2014

Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron Milan Lucic
Eric Bolte- USA Today Sports

Even though the Boston Bruins were eliminated early in the NHL playoffs in 2014, there are plenty of reasons why this team has a lot to look forward to headed into next season. The Bruins have a core of young but experienced players that have this team built to last. This young group already has one Stanley Cup in 2011, and their window of opportunity dwindles down with each missed chance at a Cup.

5. Torey Krug

Boston Bruins Torey Krug
Rick Osentoski-USA Today Sports

5. Torey Krug

Boston Bruins Torey Krug
Rick Osentoski-USA Today Sports

Krug's emergence onto the scene occurred in the 2013 playoffs, when the undersized defenseman lit up the New York Rangers. His rookie season yielded more offensive outbursts and made the "Kruuug" chant happen multiple times at TD Garden. His skating ability, powerful shot and precision passing make Krug a weapon on the blue line for a long time coming.

4. Tuukka Rask

Boston Bruins Tuukka Rask
Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports

4. Tuukka Rask

Boston Bruins Tuukka Rask
Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports

Rask entered his second consecutive season as the starter of the Bruins and shined. He is a Vezina Trophy candidate and a top-flight goalie at his young age of 27. His butterfly style is a stark contrast to that of his predecessor, Tim Thomas, but while Rask rarely makes the highlight-reel save Thomas did, Rask is almost always in position. He is already signed through the 2020-21 season and just entering the best years of his career.

3. Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic Boston Bruins
John E. Sokolowski-USA Today Sports

3. Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic Boston Bruins
John E. Sokolowski-USA Today Sports

The bruising winger is a fan favorite and a goal-scoring threat. Lucic's play has been compared to that of Hockey Hall of Famer Cam Neely, and his 30-goal season in 2010-11 gives Bruins fans hope that the winger will be the second coming. Lucic is at his best when he plays physical and drives the net. His pairing with David Krejci is a potent combination, and Lucic's young career is on the cusp of blossoming.

2. Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton Boston Bruins
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA Today Sports

2. Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton Boston Bruins
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA Today Sports

The ninth-overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Hamilton was the second piece of the Phil Kessel-Tyler Seguin trade and immediately became a positive impact on the Boston blue line. Unlike Krug, Hamilton has size and a physical side that make him a two-way weapon. When Dennis Seidenberg went down with an injury this season, Hamilton was paired with Zdeno Chara on the top defense unit. Hamilton is a star in the making and ready to break out in 2014.

1. Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports

1. Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports

It seems like Bergeron has been with the Bruins for a long time. After entering the league as an 18-year-old in 2003, Bergeron has emerged as one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL. He is an assistant captain, Selke Award winner and a 30-goal scorer. After 10 seasons in the league, the future Boston captain continues to be a dominant player on both ends of the ice and will be a focal point of this franchise for years to come.