By Jack Cinquegrana | Follow me on Twitter @bruinschewy
The 2020-2021 NHL offseason is one that is exceptionally crucial to Boston’s future. It is vital the Boston Bruins sign some marquee skaters that can shake up this team’s identity. The Bruins had an identity of a team that would out-hit and out-muscle your team while playing rock-solid defense and a sturdy goaltender back-stopping the team. Over the past few years, Boston has lost that identity and have veered off of their path of success.
Yes, Boston made it to the Cup Final last season. But, they did not go through Pittsburgh or Washington or even Tampa Bay to get there. They snuck into the Cup Final beating teams that had just upset a contender. It seems as if Boston is always in the conversation as a Cup contender every year, but we are just a little bit worse than the top teams in the league. I am not saying we are a terrible team; I think where the Bruins finished this year is about as far as I would expect this roster could take us.
Changes To Be Made
The first line, also known as the “Perfection Line,” has been anything but perfect, and is where one of the Bruins’ main problems resides. In my opinion, David Pastrnak cannot play with Bergeron and Marchand. That is concentrating too much of our entire teams’ skill and putting it on one line. Most people would think that is a no-brainer, put the best skaters together and they will be unstoppable, right? No, because all they have to do is shut down the top line and then not worry about the Bruins scoring.
I do not think that David Krejci and Charlie Coyle are bad either; the B’s are just so top-heavy that if we do not spread skill throughout the lineup, then the Bruins have an easy offensive attack to stop. We have three great center-men, but two of them do not get much scoring help on the offensive side of the ice.
With the money that Boston was going to pay Torey Krug, they will have enough cap space to re-sign mostly everyone that is a Restricted Free Agent and the captain. I am very interested to see what Jake DeBrusk gets paid or if he is traded.
David Krejci should be stuck to Pastrnak and the same for Bergeron and Marchand. Ondrej Kase can play on either line, hoping Boston can sign a big-time scorer like Hall or Toffoli; they can play on either line. The Bruins cannot have our three best players on the ice at the same time.
The fourth line used to be dominant when they hit the ice. Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner would buzz around the ice and hit anything in sight. They could shut down top lines, even score occasionally. They seem to have lost a little bit of their juice. Maybe a shake-up on the bottom line like a roster move addition like Trent Frederic can get that energy line going again.
Time To Move On?
Is it time to say what nobody wants to say? Big Zee is too old to play. Over 1,000 games played donning the Spoked B and almost 500 points as a Bruin. In my opinion, the Bruins should not re-sign the 43-year-old defenseman. His penalty-killing prowess and experience are unequaled, and his professional mindset will never be matched.
The sport is so much faster now, and Chara will keep falling further behind; possessions in the defensive zone become extended and chances are given up. He is flat out too slow and the reach of his stick has become less of an asset and more of a detriment. I have nothing but respect for the man he is and for all he has done; for the leadership in the community, not just the locker room. All good things come to an end, and you could not be prouder to say he played for your hockey club.
Another interesting thing to keep an eye on is Tuukka Rask news. He was interviewed in March by Matt Porter of the Boston Globe and Rask said that retirement is “a real possibility” after the expiration of his contract. In the following months, when the NHL resumed play, after four games, he returned home to Finland to be with his family. Now, GM Don Sweeney expects to see Tuukka in Boston for training camp, but as a Boston Bruins fan, I am a little worried that Tuukka may already be checked-out. Make sure you stay on the look-out for any Rask news.