Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
By: Chris Nosek | Follow me on Twitter: @cnosek6342
We all know that this season did not end the way we know it could have, based on the performance we saw from this team during the regular season. Instead of focusing on the disappointing ending, let’s shift our focus to the fact that this team is in one of the best situations in the entire National Hockey League with so many options to continue the success of this franchise for many years to come.
Remember where we were at the beginning of this season and what the overall goals for the 2017-2018 season really were. Once you do this, you will realize that they far and away outperformed anything anyone was ever expecting. We were all hoping for a team that would play 60 minutes of solid hockey each night, and by seasons end would be competing for a playoff spot. We were hoping for some young players to step up, show growth and hint more to their true potential as NHL players. What we got was an incredible regular season run that put us in a firm playoff spot, leading to a 2nd round playoff exit against a team that many were favoring to be in the Cup final at the start of the season. We also saw a large group of young, talented players who will be able to do some damage to the league or can get moved to bring in a big piece for this franchise moving forward.
Don Sweeney and his team are in a great position when it comes to the options they have for this roster during this offseason. In order to get a true idea of what Sweeney has to decide, we first need to examine the situation for each player currently on the roster and in the organization. Once this is completed, we can then examine what players should be on the free agent target list. This will be the first in a multi-part series in which we will break down each player’s options and what they should expect for their next season. I will start with the first line and work down through the lineup through defenders and goaltenders, based on the starting lineup from Game 5 against Tampa Bay.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
(Photo Credit: bostonherald.com)
All three of these guys are in similar situations to each other and have the easiest decisions for next season. Plain and simple, this line was widely considered one of the top lines in the entire league this season. Under no circumstances should anything happen to this line. Just the thought of breaking them up is completely asinine. They are all signed for under $7 million through at least the 2022-2023 season. The Bruins should just let them keep playing together and setting the tone for the rest of the lineup.
We can all admit that it’s been a bit of a bumpy road with our little rat friend – Brad Marchand. I think I speak for all of us when I say, “dude, cut the crap and play your game.” Some are suggesting the Bruins cut bait with the left-winger simply because of his antics. Based on his comments after the season I think he has recognized just how much some of what he does could hurt the team in the future and just how much slack the team has given him because of the incredible numbers he has been putting up. Yes, the licking and other immature behavior needs to end, but if you remember the edge needed to play with in order to even make the team in his rookie season, then some of the antics become more understandable – not defendable.
No player in this organization needed to get under his opponents’ skin more than Marchand in order to make the roster in their rookie season and that is an edge he has kept to his game to this day. Since getting paired with one of the league’s top centers, his game has matured and developed much quicker and further than anyone could have expected and now it is time for Marchand the man to get to the maturity level of his talent. His goal scoring abilities spoke for themselves and based on his comments after the loss to Tampa Bay it would appear that he has realized just how far he has many buttons he has pushed. With the early round exit also being a gentle slap in the face, I think he has recognized that time has come and gone to make some changes and now it is up to us to give him the year he has earned to show us his newfound sense of maturity.
In summary: This line – one of the best in the ENTIRE league – is NOT to be touched in ANY way, shape, or form. I am not a fan of the “untouchable” tag. However, these three guys, with what they can do together, are as untouchable as you can get.