If defense wins championships, then the Boston Bruins should have a good shot at hoisting the Cup next season. The team had the second best defense this year, trailing the Los Angeles Kings, who were “surprise” Stanley Cup winners. While the Bruins failed to reach the conference finals, they should have no shortage of playoff success in 2015.
With the talent they have on defense, lead by captain Zdeno Chara, the Bruins have a balanced group mixed with youth, skill and toughness.
With Dennis Seidenberg returning from season-ending knee injury, the Bruins’ depth chart continues to grow. Half of the team’s defenders are over the age of 27, giving them a perfect blend of experience and potential. Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton are two of the brightest young stars in the game, while bruiser Kevan Miller continues to grow as a NHL defensemen.
Adam McQuaid will also rejoin the squad and could have an immediate impact. but it is possible that GM Peter Chiarelli may try to move him or Matt Bartkowski if he can get the right deal. Both players could help free up some cap space and give the Bruins some cash to go out and target a few forwards to help bolster the offense.
The Bruins have more than enough veterans on the back end, but it is the few youngsters who will benefit the team the most. Having Hamilton play alongside Chara not only gives the 20-year-old confidence, but it also allows him to develop and progress quickly. When a rookie joins a roster on the fourth line, they are virtually starting from the bottom, and sometimes it takes years for players to transition to the style of play in the NHL. Krug was forced to adapt quickly when he was thrusted into the 2012-13 playoffs, and was skating in regular shifts.
The young defensemen have already proven that they can compete with some of the NHL’s elite stars. If head coach Claude Julien can fill in a few missing pieces offensively, the Bruins’ defense should be good enough that Tuukka Rask will only be facing 20 shots a game, even to the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention Johnny Boychuk throughout all of this. Toss him into the mix and you got the perfect recipe for a Stanley Cup. Look out for the Bruins next season; I know the West is awfully nice, but Boston will bring home the hardware.