By: Lydia Murray | Follow Me on Twitter @lydia_murray12
It’s no secret that the Bruins’ veteran core is aging. They’re all in their thirties at this point, or in Zdeno Chara’s case, forties. That’s why, with the Bruins being pushed to the brink of elimination from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, many fans are saying this is probably we’ll see of this group intact. However, I truly don’t believe that will be the case. Here’s why
Chara, Rask Not Ready to Retire
The two players I see the most speculation about being done after this year are Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask. However, Chara has stated he’s not ready to be done yet, so I think he’ll play another year, although he might have a more reduced role. I know some people disagree with me and think he’s no longer a good player, but I think he is and he somehow still has some gas in the tank. I’d frankly be shocked if he retired after this season, despite being 43 years old. He’s making no indication that he’s ready to be done, and in fact it’s pretty clear he still loves playing and wants to keep going. The team has said as long as he wants to play, they’ll find a spot for him, so I’m pretty sure we’ll see him back for next season.
As for Rask, he’s said multiple times he hasn’t even thought about retirement. He’s also said he’s looking forward to being able to negotiate a contract extension starting this summer. So, I’m not sure why that speculation is happening. You can check out more on my thoughts on his situation here. But basically just know that there is absolutely no reason to believe he’s retiring soon. His two leaves of absence were due to family emergencies so it’s wrong to make anything more out of them. He still loves the game and he’s still playing at an elite level. He clearly has a lot of gas left in the tank. So there’s absolutely no reason for him to retire soon.
Krejci, Marchand, Bergeron Still Going Strong
There are only three other players that are left from the 2011 team, and all three of them are still going incredibly strong. Bergeron and Krejci might be in their mid-thirties, but you’d never know it by watching them play. They playing as good as they did in the prime of their careers, and so it’s safe to say they both have a lot left to give.
Krejci only has one year left on his deal, but I think he’ll re-sign with the Bruins for a few more seasons. He’s expressed interest in going to finish his career over in his home country of the Czech Republic. But, that’s a league he’ll be able to play in even if/when he declines and is no longer a great NHL player. I mean, Jaromir Jagr is still playing over in the country’s highest league, Czech Extraliga, at 48 years old. Granted, he’s part-owner of the team, but he’s still capable of playing in it even though he’s obviously not the elite player he used to be. So I’m pretty sure Krejci will be able to handle it regardless of how long he stays in North America. He’s 34 years old, but he certainly doesn’t look like it when he plays, so he’s got a while before he’s no longer an excellent player in the NHL.
As for Bergeron, he has two years left on his deal, but he’ll surely keep playing longer than that. As long as his body holds up, I can honestly see him being like Chara. His passion for the game is obvious, and it’s clear that he has no intention of retiring anytime soon. He’s 35 years old, but he’s got a lot of gas left in the tank and barring any horrible injuries, I don’t think we have to worry about him retiring for several more years.
Marchand is the youngest player remaining from the core, and he’s not going anywhere for a really long time. Not only is the youngest and somehow still getting better at 32 years old, but he’s signed through the 2024-25 season. That’s at least five more years of Marchand, and at the rate he’s going, it’ll almost surely be longer than that. So luckily, we don’t have to worry about him leaving for a long time.
There’s a Least a Few More Runs Left in Most of This Group
In short, the Bruins have at least a few more playoff runs left in the majority of this group. Losing Chara in another year or so will sting, but at least they’ll have the rest of the 2011 core still intact. I can’t predict the future obviously, so I don’t know exactly how long they have left, but I’d be shocked if they don’t get several more runs out of this group. They’re all on the back halves of their careers, so it won’t be a ton more, but this is far from their last hurrah. It stings that they’ve likely wasted another year of these guys, but it’s certainly not time to call it quits on them for the future. But even with that in mind, obviously, let’s hope this year’s chance doesn’t end tonight.