(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Kevin Perry | Follow Me on Twitter @Kevperry_

Unfortunately, the historic 2022-23 Boston Bruins season ended with a game seven overtime loss last night against the Florida Panthers. The Bruins’ loss shocked everyone around the hockey world as Florida stormed into the series after being down three games to one, becoming the thirty-first team in NHL history to make that comeback happen.

Questions will be asked about lineup changes throughout this series, the goaltending decisions, and the overall sloppiness of play in the final three games. Looking forward to next year, the Bruins roster will likely look different.

The Bruins have eight unrestricted free agents, most notably David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, who must decide if they want to continue their careers. Key contributors Dmitry Orlov and Tyler Bertuzzi, who was acquired at the trade deadline, are both free agents and will command more money, most likely, on their impending deals.

The issue facing the Boston Bruins is re-signing Jeremy Swayman. Swayman’s entering restricted free agency this offseason but will likely command around three or four million on the low end after having a stellar season being top five in all goaltending categories.

In an ideal world, Don Sweeney would love for all of these players who are free agents to resign at their current value. Still, sadly, that is not how it pans out sometimes, but who knows? Some key players realize they have a great chance to win here and take team-friendly deals to try to run it back again to chase a cup run possibly.

The real question marks now lie in the hands of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, as mentioned before. Bergeron will turn 38 in July, while Krejci recently celebrated his 37th birthday on April 28th. It is speculated that David Krejci will hang up his skates and retire. Krejci returned to Boston this season after playing in Czechia last season. Krejci recorded 54 points in 70 games, the ninth time he’s recorded more than fifty points in a season.

It sure seemed like that was the last time we, Bruins Fans, would see captain Patrice Bergeron in the black and gold. Emotions seemed to get the best of Bergeron when he was embraced by Brad Marchand as both of the long-time teammates shed a tear before exiting the ice.

Patrice Bergeron will reportedly take some time to decide on returning or retiring. Bergeron’s curtain call salute to the fans is also not unusual for teams to do after their season ends on home ice. Still, his teammates allowed him to skate to center ice by himself to salute the crowd as he stood atop the spoked B. Bergeron can continue playing at the highest level as he recorded 27 goals and 31 assists in 78 regular season games.

If Bergeron and Krejci do decide to come back, which would be shocking if they both suit up for the Bruins next year, their roles should be lessened from what they were this year. Krejci’s time on ice average was 17:12 this year, his highest average time on ice since the 2018-19 season. Bergeron averaged 17:24, which was more than a minute below his career average of 18:41. Although the ice time totals may not seem significant, what was asked of these two was a lot to ask for again if they do come back, especially Bergeron, who plays in all situations in the game.

The season the Boston Bruins just had was one of a kind, and it is unlikely we will see something that special ever again. It was the perfect combination of veteran leadership, tremendous goaltending, and pure domination of the opponents, which was the ideal concoction to have such an unbelievable season.

The additions at the deadline were terrific as the Bruins went for it, and unfortunately, although the additions were great, they still got knocked out in the first round. There will be a lot of soul-searching for everyone in the Bruins organization, but next year will likely be nothing compared to this year.