Zdeno Chara “Made For This” Bruins Docuseries Debuts!

(Photo Credit: NHLonNBCSports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

It feels like we’ve “seen it all” these past few seasons from the Boston Bruins. Heart-pounding games. Heart-breaking losses. Memorable moments. Forgettable flops. Truly, everything from A – Z!

Well, when it comes to the letter of a specific B’s sweater, one Black N’ Gold Captain can now share how he’s truly made for this… for the team, the town, the sport and perhaps even one more go-around at The Cup.

NBCSN debuted a brand new docuseries on beloved Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara entitled Z: Made For This. And to say it’s been a career in the making would be an understatement. More like a lifetime.

From the official press release:

Zdeno Chara: Made For This, a four-episode docuseries celebrating the historic career of Boston Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara and detailing his first-person account of childhood, family and on-ice leadership as a member of the Boston Bruins for the past nearly year-and-a-half, will premiere tonight at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, leading into the 2020 NHL Awards presented by Las Vegas program. An encore presentation of the episode will air following NHL Overtime at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Zdeno Chara: Made For This, produced by Shadow Lion, chronicles Chara’s journey to NHL stardom and followed “Big Z” throughout the teams run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, the offseason, as well as the 2019-20 regular and postseason, which has been a season unlike any other, with the NHL’s 142-day pause in play due to COVID-19.

The first episode features interviews with Bruins teammates Patrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak and Brad Marchand as they battle against the St. Louis Blues to a Game 7 in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, but also touch on the passion and leadership of Chara on and off the ice.

A trailer for Zdeno Chara: Made For This can be viewed here.

Throughout the series, a number of Bruins teammates, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Chara’s family members are interviewed, who touch on the character of the Bruins captain throughout Boston and his native Slovakia.

The second episode will premiere on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, leading into a one-hour edition of NHL Live that begins pre-game coverage of Game 3 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. Air dates for episodes three and four of Zdeno Chara: Made For This will be announced in the near future.

As the release notes, Part Two (in what will undoubtedly “B” an epic series) premieres before the start of game three of the Stanley Cup Finals this week. Future episode air-dates will be released at a later date. That certainly sounds like date-night viewing, in my humble hockey opinion!

Here’s to “Big Z”. Hopefully, unlike the eponymous alphabetical letter of the D-man-led docuseries, this won’t be the last time we get to see him in a Bruins jersey.

Check out the latest BN’G Podcast Episode 195 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Three Bruins Win NHL All-Star Honors

( Photo Credit: The Associated Press )

By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter @andrewtaverna

With the NHL Awards in the books this year, three Bruins have been given the NHL All-Star honor. David Pastrnak won first-team honors while fellow teammates Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask both received second-team honors. These awards mark the end of a relatively successful award season for the Bruins, with Cassidy winning the Jack Adams and the Rask/Halak net-minder combo winning the Jennings Award.

David Pastrnak – First-Team

David Pastrnak won first-team honors for the first time in his NHL career. He is only the second Boston Bruins right-wing in team history to win this award and joins the elite Ken Hodge, who received the honors during the 1970-1971 season and the 1973-1974 season.

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The 24-year old who earlier this offseason co-won the Rocket Richard Trophy with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for leading the NHL in goals scored with 48, had a stunning regular season. In addition to his 48 goals, he had 47 assists totaling 95 points in a shortened 70-game campaign.

Brad Marchand – Second-Team

For the third time in his career, Brad Marchand won the All-Star honor, and the second time in his career, he has won the second-team honor.

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Named to the first-team in the 2016-2017 season and the second-team in the 2018-2019 season, his third win comes this season. Leading the team with 59 assists and contributing 28 goals, Marchand certainly provided plenty of upside to the Bruins offense this year with 87 points. Marchand also provided solid defensive play leading him to place 9th in voting for both the Selke Award and the Hart Trophy.

Tuukka Rask – Second-Team

Tuukka Rask has won his second All-Star honor. His first coming in the 2013-2014 season when he made the first-team All-Star. Rask played in 41 regular-season games during the 2019-2020 season with a record of 26-8-6. He finished the season with a .929 save percentage and a 2.12 goals-against average. The Bruins finished the season with the highest number of points, and Rask personally had the best goals-against average, making him a strong choice to win the award. As mentioned previously, in addition to winning his second-team All-Star vote, Rask and Halak won the William M. Jennings Trophy earlier this month for “having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it.”

(Video Credit: BNG Hockey)

With all of Rask’s success this year, his win is another highlight in what has been an outstanding career. With a career .922 save percentage, Rask holds third place on the all-time career save percentage list. The only two goalkeepers ahead of Rask since shots have been recorded in the NHL are all-time greats Dominik Hasek and Johnny Bower.

There’s reason to believe that this team will continue to win for years to come, but with the core getting older and what is likely to be a wild offseason, it’s good to see the Bruins get recognized for their individual contributions to the team and the NHL as a whole.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 that we recorded below on 9-21-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Is Pasta a 2nd Line Dish That Could Be Served For The Bruins In 2020/21?

( Photo Credit: Getty Images )

by Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards

When the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, production was coming from all four lines. Even in 2019, the additions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson provided depth and solid 5 on 5 play from the third line. But the second line has provided inconsistent play and was a detriment to Bruce Cassidy’s team in the second round against a deeper Tampa Bay Lightning team this past season. A major offseason focus should be to finally get David Krejci a legitimate scorer on the right-wing. Could it be that the answer is already on the roster?

The “Perfection Line” of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak is widely considered one of the top lines in the National Hockey League. In recent seasons, the trio has dominated 5-on-5 play and had been a threat to score nearly every shift. However, this past season, the Bruins production numbers at even strength dipped which included their top line. The Bruins scored just five even-strength goals in their five-game series with Tampa Bay. The power play was excellent all season, but even-strength play will need to improve for the Black and Gold to get back to contending for a Stanley Cup.

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General manager Don Sweeney will certainly attempt to address this need in the offseason. The Bruins could look outside of the organization to fill the second line right wing hole or try to give Ondrej Kase more time to build chemistry with David Krejci. The more creative move might be to move Pastrnak, one of the top goal scorers in the league, to the second line and give Krejci his first real goal-scoring threat since Nathan Horton. If Jake DeBrusk is re-signed, Boston could have a second line of DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak. This would be more effective if someone like 21-year old Jack Studnicka, who showed flashes of being a top-six forward at the NHL level. The team could also deal DeBrusk and try to get a more consistent scorer who can possess the puck.

I would not advise the team to move third-line center Charlie Coyle up to the second line. Coyle has been terrific on the third line with his size and physicality. Ideally, Anders Bjork could continue to develop with Coyle or coach Bruce Cassidy could possibly slide Kase down to third-line duty. It will be imperative for Sweeney and team President Cam Neely to create more offensive attack across all four lines. The fourth line should still have Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly providing good puck pursuit and some scoring ability. Former University of Wisconsin star Trent Frederic could slot in on that line as Joakim Nordstrom will probably not be retained. Par Lindholm has one year left on his deal, but did not provide much offensive production.

Having Pasta play with Krejci on the second line could create the offensive balance the team seeks. Much of this scenario depends on Studnicka. The thought here is that the team gives Studnicka a long, hard look on the first line. If it works out, it could provide a much better result than the team could find elsewhere, and at a much cheaper cost. If not, the Bruins will need to use money and, possibly, resources to find a linemate for Krejci.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 194 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Potential Boston Bruins X Factor?

( Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )

By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge

All over social media, you’ll find rumors circulating around the Boston Bruins. Within the Boston media, this tends to happen. You’ll hear the Bruins are chasing this player or have expressed interest in this player. There will almost certainly be changes coming to the roster for the 2020-2021 season, but what if I said that a player that can make a huge impact is right under our noses?

By now, every Bruins fan knows who Jack Studnicka is. Studnicka was drafted in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in the 2nd round after the Bruins took Urho Vaakanianen with their first-round pick. Studnicka has been impressive ever since. In his first season after being drafted, he put up 72 points in 66 games as the Oshawa Generals captain in the Ontario Hockey League. After Oshawa was eliminated, he got a taste of the American Hockey League, putting up five points in five games with the Providence Bruins.

Jack Studnicka Oshawa Generals
( Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images )

It was at this point where Studnicka started to make some noise about competing for a roster spot. The problem, and it’s a great problem to have, is that the Bruins have a decent amount of depth, so it was challenging for Studnicka to crack the NHL roster at 19 years old.

He ended up getting sent back to juniors and didn’t miss a beat. He put up 83 points in 60 regular-season games between the Oshawa Generals and Niagara Ice Dogs. He even added a gold medal to his trophy case, winning the World Junior Championship with Team Canada.

Entering training camp again, he showed off his confidence. “My goal every year is to play in the NHL; it’s every player’s dream. I just want to be as comfortable as possible, limit my nerves, and play well,” Studnicka said. He got looks on the top line with Pastrnak and Marchand in some preseason games. Again, the depth was too deep for Studnicka to make an immediate impact, but he took some valuable lessons. “The leadership in that room speaks for itself, the older guys are really nice and made it really easy on the rookies and draftees. Being on a line with Marchy and Pasta was really cool, they were talking and trying different plays with me,” Studnicka said. “The biggest difference I noticed is the players, the pace is higher than juniors. It’s amazing how they just keep working and play at a high level so consistently. You can’t take a stride or two off otherwise, you’ll get beat.”

( Photo Credit: Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images )

He ended up going back to Providence and having a tremendous 2019-2020 season in Providence leading the team with 23 goals and 49 points in 60 games. He played well enough to make his NHL debut and even added an assist in his two games in the big leagues. He even impressed so much in the bubble that he got into some playoff action.

Here is where I and every Bruins fan should get excited. The kid has raw talent that you just can’t teach. He kept up and even looked good in his NHL games. Keep in mind, he is only 21 years old. I like to compare his development to that of David Pastrnak’s. In no way am I setting some unreachable limit for Studnicka because that is a pretty hefty comparison, but let’s look as how far Pastrnak has come. Pastrnak spent some time in Providence and took to the NHL being smaller and having a tough time adjusting to the NHL level. Studnicka is in that same spot right now. What happened next? Pastrnak got older, gained experience, got bigger, and bloomed into a superstar. I think this offseason will be huge for Studnicka to get stronger and really be at that prime NHL level.

( Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer / Associated Press )

We all know Studnicka has the skill and the heart to succeed. I had the pleasure of talking to him in his junior days, and I can tell this player is confident, loves being in the Bruins organization, and wants to succeed. I firmly believe he can be a massive asset for the Bruins next season and the years to come.

Get ready Bruins fans, the future is here.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 194 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Should The Boston Bruins Trade Youth For Experience?

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Matt Barry | Follow Me On Twitter @oobcards

As the National Hockey League offseason approaches, The Boston Bruins seem to be at a crossroads when it comes to their roster for the 2020-21 season and beyond. General manager Don Sweeney will look to add some pieces to a squad that won the President’s Trophy as the best team in the league before the pandemic hit. When the team returned to play, a second-round exit was just around the corner, exposing some of the flaws that prevented the Bruins from reaching their ultimate goal.

First, we must consider the salary cap situation that faces Sweeney. Defenseman Torey Krug is an unrestricted free agent and seeking top dollar on the open market. The Bruins have approximately fifteen million dollars available and signing Krug seems to be a long shot. The void created by Krug’s departure creates a hole on the blue line and on the power play. The Bruins are already thin on the left side defensively. In-house options for Sweeney are young defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril who have each played sparingly at the NHL level. Let’s keep in mind that the Bruins Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011 had only one defenseman younger than 27, and that was Adam McQuaid.

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Another left-shot defenseman, Zdeno Chara is approaching 44 years old and wants to return for maybe one last season with the team. The Bruins will probably sign him, but his skills have declined and he has struggled to match the speed of today’s game. Matt Grzelcyk is a restricted free agent and would be a logical choice to assume some of Krug’s responsibilities and ice time, but he is 26, and taking on a bigger role has its risks.

The 2011 team had a great mix of young talent and wily veterans. Brad Marchand was 22, Tyler Seguin was 19, and even Patrice Bergeron was only 25 years old at the time. The question for next season’s Bruins team is; Can the Bruins expect to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender by filling their needs with some of their younger, inexperienced players? Or does Sweeney go all-in for one last time to get one more ring for Bergeron, Chara, and David Krejci while mortgaging some of the future?

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Let’s consider two factors when determining how to shape the roster. The expansion draft will take place after next season, as the Seattle Kraken creates its very first roster. All teams will have to decide whether to keep eight players and one goalie or seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie. The team has suggested that they will choose the latter, meaning that any roster addition could be added to that group. Also, winger Jake DeBrusk is a restricted free agent along with Grzelcyk which presents a decision for the Bruins. The team would like to bring back DeBrusk, who will turn 24 years old in October, but the second-line left wing has stated that he could be seeking five million dollars per year. You would have to think that the Bruins would not want to commit quite that much salary to a fairly inconsistent player.

The options are to trade DeBrusk, Grzelcyk, or maybe even young right-shot defenseman Brandon Carlo, who will be a restricted free agent after next season. Or the Bruins could just re-sign DeBrusk and Grzelcyk now and then Carlo next offseason. The issue would be that the roster would not see much change and the cap would prevent a major free agent signing like former number one pick Taylor Hall or move for defenseman Matt Dumba from Minnesota or former Boston College star forward Johnny Gaudreau. Signing DeBrusk and Grzelcyk does not leave the team with much cap room when the next trade deadline arrives. In 2011, the Bruins relied heavily on veterans such as Chris Kelly, Michael Ryder, and Gregory Campbell. Will there be Bruins prospects who can step in and play important roles on a Stanley Cup contender?

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The Bruins could also use some young players in their system for trade bait. Anders Bjork makes an affordable salary and could be traded as could restricted free agents Karson Kuhlman and Zach Senyshyn. Sweeney will have to decide if Bjork can be a factor on the third line after creating some chemistry with Charlie Coyle and if Trent Frederic can slot into a fourth-line role to replace Joakim Nordstrom who will likely not be re-signed. Look to Sweeney banking on 21-year old, rookie center Jack Studnicka to be inserted into a top-six role. If Studnicka can produce, he may be the 2020-21 version of Seguin and be a great low-cost value.

Look for the Bruins to try to sign Grzelcyk to a deal similar to Carlo’s last deal, which was a two-year bridge deal at roughly three million dollars annually. DeBrusk’s negotiations might be a little stickier. Sweeney’s hand may be forced to deal DeBrusk for a similar player who would be a little more cost-effective. I see DeBrusk re-signing with the Bruins for maybe four million per year over three years. I would think that the Bruins would certainly want to move John Moore’s $2.75 million contract. Ondrej Kase might also be someone on the block as Sweeney could look to gain some draft picks while trimming salary.

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Many moving parts will happen this offseason, and Sweeney, who went to Harvard, will have to use all of his book smarts to create some roster flexibility while being mindful of the cap and upcoming expansion draft. I do not see the roster having many additions from outside the organization, as there are some intriguing options within. The management of the Bruins has been loyal to the core of this group for years, and other than the departure of Krug, I see that continuing for at least one more year.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 194 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!


Predicting The Future Performance of the Bruins Veteran Core

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Leon Lifschutz | Follow me on Twitter @LeonLifschutz

Introduction

In Part One of this series we took a look at aging curves. We also determined who makes up the Bruins’ core group of players. Today, in Part Two, we will use that information to take a look at the trajectory of the Bruins’ veteran core which we have identified as Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Tuukka Rask. This group is made up of a number of iconic players for this generation of Bruins’ fans. These players have been part of an incredibly successful run in Bruins’ history including winning the ultimate prize in 2011. Each have also enjoyed individual success and they have all received votes for post-season league awards during their careers. However, the youngest player in this group is now 32 years old. Three have contracts expiring now or after next season. Sports are fickle and playing careers do not have the longevity of other lines of work. As a reminder, here is a look at a typical aging curve over several metrics.

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So what can we expect for each individual player moving forward? And how might their future performance as a group effect the Bruins’ chances to win it all in the coming seasons? David Krejci sure believes the window is still open.

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With those words in mind, lets break it down and see if Krejci is correct.

Patrice Bergeron

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Contract Status: $6,875,000 AAV, 2021-22

What We Learned: Bergeron, as everyone knows, is impressive. He has continued to play at a high level into his mid-30s. However, Bergeron is showing some signs of slowing down. While his goal scoring has actually gone up a little due to a strong shooting percentages he has seen some dips in first assists, total points, and shot metrics. His 5v5 play has also started to dip the last couple of seasons though it is still on par with his data from his late 20s. His possession metrics are still elite but not the absurd numbers from his late 20s. Being a key cog on one of the best powerplays helps keeps the numbers up.

Outlook: While Bergeron is talented, he succeeds based on his hockey IQ and attention to detail, items that age more gracefully. The following illustrates this perfectly.

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He should continue being an effective player for at least a few more years with contributions on the scoresheet and in many other key facets of the game. He is also the heir apparent to Chara whenever the latter decides to retire or move on. Expect Bergeron’s totals to start slowly decreasing though as his shooting percentage regresses and he slows down a touch. 30 goals and 60 points is reasonable to expect the next couple of seasons if he can stay healthy. Health though needs to be considered as Bergeron has not played close to a complete season since 2016-17. It may also be wise to continue decreasing the heavier matchups and defensive expectations against other team’s top lines as has already been the trend the last couple of seasons.

David Krejci

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Contract Status: $7,250,000 AAV, 2020-21

What We Learned: Krejci’s steady decline has already begun. With the exception of goal scoring, his numbers are down across the board. If you exclude a 2018-19 resurgence as an outlier the picture is worse. His numbers are also propped up by strong performance on the powerplay which offsets declining 5v5 production. Krejci has seen declining possession metrics though he still comes out on the positive end of the goals for battle.

Outlook: Krejci is no doubt still a talented player who contributes to the team. The silky passer has also not had a true scoring winger on his flank for a couple of years now and has played a lot of minutes with the enigmatic Jake Debrusk. Krejci will likely continue his decline. His defensive responsibility and powerplay contributions though continue to provide value until the expiration of his contract next season. Beyond that, he is likely better suited for third line minutes and the Bruins will need to sign him on a shorter term contract with a lower cap hit or consider moving on.

Brad Marchand

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Contract Status: $6,125,000 AAV, 2024-25

What We Learned: Marchand hit a turning point in his career in his late 20s. When most players are leveling off or declining, Marchand decided to get serious and turn himself into a top liner instead of a middle-6 pest. His career turn was impressive and welcome by the team and fans. In the past few years, Marchand has shown some signs of leveling off and in some instances slowing down. In particular, Marchand’s goal totals have begun to tail off. However he has redefined himself again adding a little more play making to his repertoire. It certainly helps playing with David Pastrnak when it comes to assists. He has also dialed down the physical stuff a bit over the last couple of seasons.

Outlook: The youngest of the veteran core, Marchand’s numbers should be steady for a couple more years. However, expect his goal scoring production to decrease as his straight line attacking game ages. He should remain dynamic on the powerplay but at even strength start to wane. Marchand can still be counted on for top line minutes but expect his numbers to drop slightly into the 25 goal and 50 assist range in the near future. That still puts him near a point a game pace for the next couple of seasons. His production will likely continue to dip further before the end of his lengthy contract which doesn’t end until he is 37.

Zdeno Chara

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Contract Status: UFA

What We Learned: Chara once had a stretch of 11 straight seasons receiving Norris trophy votes. Those days are long behind him. Chara’s offensive production has continued to nosedive, not a surprise given his age. However his possession numbers tanked this past season after remaining above average in recent years.

Outlook: It’s doubtful that Chara’s production or play driving improve moving forward and this past season is likely best case scenario moving forward. Chara obviously brings more to the team than just statistics. Having said that, Big Z should likely be relegated to third pair minutes along with penalty kill and closing out game duties. The latter two he continues to do quite well. Asking more of that from Chara is too much and a detriment to a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Tuukka Rask

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Contract Status: $7,000,000 AAV, 2020-21

What We Learned: Rask hit his peak at 25. He then had a steady decline before bouncing back a little at 30. He saw decreases in overall play and consistency over that time. Rask’s numbers the past several years prior to this one are slightly above league average. However, at 32, Rask had his best season in years en route to a number of Vezina trophy votes.

Outlook: It would be irresponsible to consider this season for Rask anything but an outlier. Players rarely have a career renaissance in their 30s and expecting another run at the Vezina is unlikely. However it would be fair to expect Rask, in the final year of his contract, to continue playing a little above league average. With the Bruins tight defensive structure, and Rask’s ability to occasionally steal a game, his presence should continue affording the Bruins a chance to win night in and night out.

Conclusion

The Bruins key veterans have generally performed better than the typical aging curve would suggest. Their performances were good enough to make the Stanley Cup final in 2018-19 and win the President’s Trophy in an abbreviated 2019-20. Even with normal aging curves, we can expect them to still be strong performers and potentially lead the Bruins’ on another playoff run. Bergeron and Marchand should generally continue their strong play though they will likely start slowing down in certain facets of their games. Chara’s role has already been redefined in recent years and that trend needs to continue. Krejci’s role may need to change as well, though he is still a dependable middle-6 center. Rask should not be expected to duplicate his Vezina nominated season but is a reliable starter.

There is no question that the window is narrowing and our conclusion is that 2020-21 will be the final hurrah this group. Between decreasing performances and expiring contracts it is a strong possibility that Chara, Krejci, and Rask all move on to retirement or other teams in 2021. It would be poor asset management for Sweeney and company to expect the current level of performance from the three and extend them for term and money into the twilight of their careers. In a flat cap world, if any of them want to stay Bruins they will have to do so on team friendly contracts. Having said that, these players deserve the opportunity to give it one more run before the band gets broken up.

It is also apparent that to be a true cup contender in the coming year the Bruins will need more support for their veterans from their young core. Beyond next year, the young core will need to step up and take control of the franchise’s destiny. With that in mind, join us for Part Three when we examine the Bruins young core and forecast if they are up for the challenge.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 193 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Predicting The Future Performance Of The Bruins’ Core Part One

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Leon Lifschutz | Follow me on Twitter @LeonLifschutz

Introduction

Since the Bruins second round exit, fans have already turned their attention to next season. This past week, my BNG colleague Mike Cratty looked at what a homerun offseason could look like examining some possible options for the Bs in free agency and the trade market. Much has also been made of what could become of the Bruins core. Will Zdeno Chara retire? It looks like not. Will Torey Krug move on in free agency? Sounds like there is a good chance. What of the rest of the veteran core, now well into their 30s and with lots of regular season and playoff miles? Colleague Matt Barry believes there is still some time for this group. David Krejci, who earlier in the year bristled at the question of the group’s age, agrees sharing the following sentiment.

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NHL front offices are tasked with a number of things including predicting the future. They do so every time they make their rosters whether it be player acquisition or doling out contracts. It is not an exact science. Players are human after all. They get injured, have personal lives, don’t always fit in a system, and sometimes get unlucky. The one thing that happens to every player though – they get older. Getting older can be a good a thing. Moving into their early 20s players gain strength, experience, and better decision making (well, most of us do). But at some point in time, as all of us adult league heroes know, age catches up with you and things are just a little harder than they used to be.

In this three part series we will do our best Don Sweeney impressions to try and predict what the future might have in store for key Bruins’ players. In part one, we will examine what aging curves can tell us about player performance. We will also discuss who makes up the current core and who could make up the next wave. In part two, we will look at the veteran core, players who have been around since the Bruins last Stanley Cup and continue to drive the bus. In part three, we will look at the players that make up the young core, supplementing the veterans and who have the ability to influence both the present and future of the storied original six franchise. For both groups, we will examine each players current trends and make predictions about their outlook and expected performance for the upcoming seasons.

Examining Aging Curves

There has been a number of studies on how aging effects player performances. The first significant study came from Hawerchuck in 2013 and look at points per game. More recently, the folks at Hockey Graphs and Evolving Wild have been using a comprehensive WAR (wins above replacement) stat to examine year over year performance. For our purposes, we are going to lean heavily on the work of Eric Tulsky who looked at agings impact on year over year scoring rates, goal scoring versus playmaking, and possession numbers. The folks at Hockey Graphs also looked at goalie aging curves . At the risk of oversimplifying, goalies have similar trajectories to skaters. Here is a visual of aging curves on a number of different stats.

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So what are our key takeaways from all this great research and the nice visuals? First, NHL players peak around 24. They stay at their peaks until about 28. At that point they start to slowly decline with the trend becoming more significant into the early 30s. By the mid 30s, players typically fall off a cliff. The effect of age is most noticeable on goal scorers. Playmakers can hang on for a little bit longer. On the powerplay, players stay at their peak a little longer with strong performances, though not peak, in the early 30s before falling off a cliff in their mid 30s. Possession numbers, generally speaking, mimic point production. Defenders and goalies may be able to hang on a year or two longer but generally follow a similar curve.

For our purposes we will look at Bruins’ players offensive numbers and possession numbers. I’ve grouped points into all situations for a couple of reasons. First, the Bruins rely heavily on their power play. Second it made the visuals look a little cleaner I will be sure to point out any situations where the numbers have noise, for example in the case of David Krejci. For offensive production I’ve chosen goals, total points, first assists, and individual expected goals. First assists are more indicative of player performance than second assists, which can be pretty random. For possession, I’ve chosen Corsi (shot attempts) and expected goals percentage. All player stats were converted to per 60 minutes rate stats to avoid discrepancies due to injury or average time on ice. For the goalie position I’ve chosen goals saved above average (GSAA) and quality starts. All stats come from Natural StatTrick and Hockey Reference.

The Bruins Core Players

Our first task is to decide who makes up the Bruins’ core. There is some debate over how many players make up a core. For Pittsburgh it’s been just three players – Crosby, Malkin, and Letang. For other teams its been more like five to six players that management has tried to build their team around. St. Louis last year had close to ten regulars who were long term parts of their team and core. For our purposes we will count a player as a part of the core if we anticipate they can have a strong impact on team performance and they will be a long term member of the team. Being a long term member means they are under contract or under team control with little expectation of being traded.

The Veteran Core – With those parameters in mind, our older core is made up of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, and Zdeno Chara. All five have been Bruins for more than a decade with three being draft picks and four never playing for another NHL franchise. Inclusion of Chara can be debated but with his recent comments its hard not to picture Big Z playing for the Bruins next year. He is still the captain and averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per game this past season. Torey Krug was considered for this list but he doesn’t have the longevity of the others on the list and there is a decent chance he leaves in free agency.

The Young Core – The young core was a little harder to determine but we ended up with David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Charlie Coyle, Jake Debrusk, and Brandon Carlo. David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy were easy choices. The two already lead the team in several statistical categories and are on team friendly long-term contracts. Charlie Coyle is the third player included on the list. Coyle is an all situations player trusted by the coaching staff to the point it’s not surprising to see him lead all Bruins’ forwards in ice time in some games. The 28 year old is also locked up long term team to a reasonable contract. The last two members of our young core are Brandon Carlo and Jake Debrusk. There was debate among my BNG colleagues over the inclusion of those two. However, they seem like two young players with the likelihood of staying power. Both are under team control for a number of years and already play in the top half of the lineup. It really seems like the Bruins coaching staff and management are hoping Carlo and Debrusk can keep growing and help the team in substantial ways.

Conclusion

We have examined aging curves and how they can help us in predicting player’s future performance. We have also decided who makes up our veteran core and our young core. With that in mind, please join us in part two when we examine how much tread is left on the veterans. We will follow that up with part three where we will try and forecast what the peak performance could be for the younger core of players. After our exploration of both groups we will do our best to draw some conclusions around how long this iteration of the Bruins’ has left in it’s Stanley Cup window.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 192 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

The Bruins Window- Is It Still Open A Crack?

( Photo Credit: Matthew J. Lee / The Boston Globe via Getty Images )

By: Matt Barry | Follow Me On Twitter @oobcards

And just like that, another Boston Bruins season ended with disappointment. On March 12, 2020, the Bruins were the best team in the NHL and looking to avenge a heartbreaking Game 7 loss at home to St. Louis to end the 2019 campaign. The mission was to win another Stanley Cup for their aging group of stars. They wanted one more Cup for Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Zdeno Chara. They had won in 2011, but a lot of players win one. Winning another would stamp their legacies in Bruins lore.  The drive was there to win.  

Then the pandemic happened….

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The league would go on a nearly five-month hiatus. Not a great layoff for older, creaky joints. The league set a restart date for August 1st.  But, the schedule and structure of the return did not favor the Bruins…at all. The league allowed the top four teams in each conference to fight for the number one seed. Some teams saw a great opportunity while the Bruins did not know the value of competing for a top seed with no home-ice advantage. Well, unless you are passionate about the last change. So the Bruins treated it like a preseason schedule and lost all three games. So now, the Bruins were the fourth seed after winning the President’s Trophy as the league’s best team in an abbreviated season.

Many would say that this contributed to their earlier than expected exit from the playoffs, but somehow it feels more than that. During the hiatus, the Tampa Bay Lightning became the better team and it showed as it took just five games to defeat the defending Eastern Conference champions and the pre-pandemic top team in the league. The Bruins won game one, but that was their best effort in the series. Without their Vezina candidate goalie Tuukka Rask, who opted out after playing just the first two games against Carolina in round one, it became a daunting task to beat the Lightning with their backup goalie. It all caught up to them in a 7-1 loss in Game three.  The team fought until the end, but the Lightning were faster, stronger, and more talented.

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So, now what?

The core of veterans, who have carried this team for a decade, are nearing the end of their careers. Bergeron is 35-years-old, Krejci 34-years-old, and Chara will be 44-years of age next season. Even Brad Marchand is an aging veteran at 32. Then there’s Rask. He is an elite goalie, and the argument could be made that he is the best goalie in Bruin’s history. But, he opted out of the bubble, has one year left on his contract, and next season could begin in a bubble scenario again. He has also mentioned retirement thoughts in the past.  Can he come back, and will his teammates be able to depend on him? Valid questions.

My thought is that Rask will not forgo $7 million in his last year of the deal.  He will be the goalie next season. The backup, Jaroslav Halak, also has a year left and proved, for the most part, to be a capable option if Rask does not return.  Any chance the Bruins have of being contenders again next season depending on the availability (and desire) of Tuukka Rask. There will not be an option out there to match his ability. Say what you will about him, but he is a tremendous netminder, who can steal you games.

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Now comes the status of the captain, Zdeno Chara. I am such a Chara fan. He helped this franchise become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender when he signed with the Bruins in July of 2006. Since then, he has been the face of the franchise, a pillar of strength. Watching him go through the handshake line at the end of the Tampa Bay series was difficult because you wondered if that was his last handshake line. Will he come back? I would be open to bringing him back for a farewell tour season. A season in front of his beloved fans, hopefully. I usually despise when teams make sentimental moves with players. It is a business. Do what is best for the franchise.  But Z is an exception. But I do have some stipulations. I would sign him back if he accepted being a 3rd pair defenseman and open to an occasional healthy scratch to preserve him. If he took another team-friendly deal ($2-2.5 million) and could be a strong penalty killer, then I would consider it.  Other than that, it would be hard to give him top pair minutes for another season. My prediction is that he comes back for one more year.

Ok, Torey Krug. You’re next. Krug has been a good player and a tremendous power-play defenseman. He is undersized, but still plays the game with some sandpaper and is fearless against bigger opponents. He is an unrestricted free agent now, and the team has expressed an interest in retaining him. But there have also been rumblings that he is not necessarily willing to take a “hometown discount” such as David Pastrnak or Brad Marchand. His market value could be set at between $7 and $8 million per year. The Bruins have done a great job to this point of getting great value deals. I do not see them paying Krug top pairing money. His performance in the playoffs was not very good. He was on the ice for seven five-on-five opponent goals, the most on the team. He was pushed around by some more massive players on the Lightning and is 30 years old. At his size, the wear and tear has already begun to take its toll. 

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The Detroit Red Wings may be the wild card here. Krug is from Michigan, and the Red Wings are the worst team in hockey looking to improve their roster quickly. Krug would be a tremendous asset to them, especially on the power play. But again, a six or seven-year deal north of $7 million a year is a lot of investment on a small, 30-year-old defenseman. If the market has lowered since his playoff performance and his dollar amount becomes closer to $6 million a year, then the Bruins may get a warm and fuzzy feeling for him and sign him. That would be a big mistake. As the years go on, they will be dying to get out from under his contract. My guess is that Krug signs elsewhere, and the Bruins look to sign another defenseman with more size. The real ballsy move for them would have been to trade him after the 2019 season when his value was higher. But the team chose to take another run at the Cup with Krug.

The other question marks are restricted free agents Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk. DeBrusk has shown an ability to score goals, albeit in bunches at times.  He has also had some great playoff moments. The Bruins are thin beyond the top line on scoring wingers. Based on his stats, DeBrusk may be at the $4-$5 million range per year. He is still very young and has the promise to improve even more. But consistency is needed from him. I think the Bruins try to sign him to a similar deal that Charlie McAvoy received.  Grzelcyk is an excellent little player. He seems to make the right plays and is a terrific skater. He is a poor man’s Torey Krug, who might be able to play some power play and show more offensively. He is a Charlestown kid. Look for him to sign on with a Brandon Carlo type deal, I would assume. Maybe $3 million per year for 3-4 years.  

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dealThis is a crucial offseason, and Bruins fans are going to see what direction the team is going. Two glaring needs are scoring right-wing and a top-pair defenseman. Someone needs to play with Charlie McAvoy.  And someone needs to help David Krejci in the last year of his contract. The Bruins have about $15-16 million in cap space before the signings of DeBrusk and Grzelcyk. Let’s say those signings take $8-9 million. Now you have about $7 million to use to fill these needs. Those two needs could EACH take that amount. So Don Sweeney will need to be savvy in this move. A trade may be necessary to improve the roster. I am just not sure you can create enough space with the players who would be available. You might see them trade Ondrej Kase, who has not shown much scoring touch. Beyond that, there are not a lot of higher-priced players they would be willing to trade.  Could they make a deal with DeBrusk? That is an intriguing idea. Maybe they deal him and allocate that money to a more consistent player.

The more I think about it, I see the Bruins going with mostly the same roster for one more year minus Krug. I guess the x-factor could be 21-year-old Jack Studnicka, who showed flashes in the short time he played in the postseason. I would like to see Bruce Cassidy start next season with a hard look at Studnicka on the top line with Marchand and Bergeron and put Pastrnak with Krejci and DeBrusk. Then you could use some of the remaining money to sign a good, gritty third liner for Charlie Coyle’s line and an excellent defenseman to replace Krug and possibly Chara.

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Another tough ending to a promising season. But this may be the most exciting offseason in a long time. What the Bruins do this season could determine just how good this team will be over the next decade.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 192 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

A By The Numbers Look At The Bruins Second Round Defeat

(Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Leon Lifschutz | Follow me on Twitter @LeonLifschutz

Well, here we are Bruins fans, forced to jump on the bandwagon of a new team now that the Bs have been vanquished by the rival Lightning. At least there is some consolation in the fact that the Maple Leafs and Canadians have also been bounced from the bubble.

My colleague Michael Digiorgio wrote yesterday about some of the stories and moments that led to the Bruins playoff exit. The topics include lackluster efforts in the round robin and game three against the Lightning and lineup decisions by head coach Bruce Cassidy that sparked heated conversations on #BruinsTwitter. In the aftermath of Boston’s defeat, questions abound about key players, especially long time captain Zdeno Chara, not to mention the longevity of the current core. With all that in mind, let’s take a step back and look under the analytical hood to better understand what went off the rails against a talented Tampa Bay Team.

Overall Metrics

Glossary of Terms

5v5CFCACF%SCFSCASCF%xGFxGAxGF%GFGAGF%SH%SV%PDO
Series26428448.18%11613446.40%8.1610.9842.62%51426.32%4.03%89.71%0.937
Data from Natural Stat Trick

At even strength the Lightning drove play substantially throughout this series. The Bruins came out in the red in shot attempts, scoring chances, and expected goals. More importantly they lost the goals for battle by a sizable margin. As we peel back this data a couple of items emerge.

In games one through three the Lightning were head and shoulders the stronger team. The Bruins could not handle the dual threat of Tampa Bay’s ability to carry the puck in or chip and retrieve it. However, in games four and five, Boston did a much better job in the neutral zone, slowing down the attack and creating more favorable circumstances. In general, they were more patient, clogging the middle of the ice and not allowing Lightning forwards to wind up with speed. In turn, the Bruins were able to better control the play with games four and five largely a wash from an analytical standpoint and extremely close on the scoreboard.

The other key stats are shooting percentage, save percentage, and PDO (a simple combination of shooting and save percentage). PDOs typically should be around 1.00. Higher or lower numbers suggest either immense talent or a string of luck. The Bruins in the regular season exceeded 1.00 on the backs of strong goaltending and talented shooters. In this series their PDO comes in at 0.937, a scary number. Part of this has to do with the 7-1 thrashing in game three but the even worse culprit is an even strength shooting percentage of 4.03%. While some of this can be blamed on variance and luck, quite a bit of credit has to be given to Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning defenders. The Lightning goaltender made some big saves and for the most part his defenders kept the Bruins from second chance opportunities.

Heat Map

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As just mentioned, the Lightning defenders had an excellent series. In an ideal world you’d love to take every shot from right on top of the spoked B logo in the diagram. The Bruins did not get many opportunities from there at all. They also had few rebound attempts when Vasilevskiy did pop pucks back out. In contrast, the Lightning were able to penetrate the Bruins defensive posture. Their forwards combined quickness and toughness to win position in the center of the ice. In turn they scored a number of goals on screens, tips, and rebounds.

Key Players

David Pastrnak2 G, 4 A, 40% xGFNikita Kucherov2 G, 5 A, 71% xGF
Patrice Bergeron0 G, 2 A, 45% xGFBrayden Point1 G, 7 A, 70% xGF
Brad Marchand4 G, 1 A, 41% xGFOndrej Palat5 G, 2 A, 73% xGF
Charlie McAvoy0 G, 0 A, 39% xGFVictor Hedman4 G, 2 A, 52% xGF
Torey Krug0 G, 3A, 46% xGFMikhail Sergachev1 G, 2 A, 63% xGF
Jaroslav Halak3.12 GAA, .896 SV%, -2 GSAAAndrei Vasilevskiy1.79 GAA, .936 SV%, +2 GSAA
Data from Natural Stat Trick

In The Athletic, Fluto Shinzawa discussed how the Lightning’s top players were outshining the Bruins’ stars prior to game five. After game five, the contrasting play remained part of the story line. Tampa Bay’s top line drove play against every matchup. Cassidy tried several options throughout the series with David Krejci getting the assignment in game five. The “perfection line” (as NBC must have trademarked by now) was less than perfect when head to head against the Lightning’s top line or future Selke trophy candidate Alex Killorn. While the Bruins stars did get on the board, it was almost exclusively on the powerplay.

The second wave of offense further differentiated the two teams. Tampa Bay received contributions from the likes of Yanni Gourde and Blake Coleman. They also got big contributions from their defenders who regularly walked the blue line and found seams to the net through heavy traffic. The Bruins, other than David Krejci, got virtually no secondary offense from their forwards or their defensemen.

In the goalie duel, Vasilevskiy is the clear winner. Halak put up his best effort in the elimination game, but at the end of the day his performance was not good enough. Despite some moments of strong play, reflections on his playoff run will largely be marred by a couple major guffaws. The Big Cat in Tampa’s net inspired more confidence and made big saves when needed.

Performance By Lines and Pairs

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A key caveat of the above chart is that it includes the whole time in the bubble, round robin and all. Having said that, it still has some value in assessing the Bruins’ demise. My colleague Lydia Murray recently did a great article on reading these charts and I encourage you to read it. For now, just know the upper right is the best and upper left is fine too. Lower on the chart is not where you want to be, particularity the bottom left.

The Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line still ends up in the good quadrant but did not distinguish itself as much as usual. The line of Debrusk-Krejci-Kase performed well enough in their matchups but land in the dull quadrant as they didn’t necessarily move the needle much other than a couple big games against the Hurricanes. The Bruins fourth line struggled regardless of the musical chairs of players. You’ll also notice Charlie Coyle is not on the chart. That is because he had such a revolving door of wingers that no combination had enough minutes together to qualify. Coach Cassidy’s tinkering finally seemed to land on a winning combination in the final game with Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka, but it was a little too late to make a difference in the series.

The Bruins defenders struggled. The speed and tenacity of Carolina and Tampa Bay were too much for Chara and Brandon Carlo to handle. Torey Krug was exposed in a number of tough matchups against top talent. Charlie McAvoy did his best work in limited minutes with mobile puck mover Matt Grzelcyk but otherwise was on his heels defending the other team’s best players, alongside long time partner Chara.

Special Teams

Boston: 5 out of 17; 26:33 minutes; 21 shots; 3.14 xG; 5 goals

Tampa Bay: 4 out of 20; 33:28 minutes; 28 shots; 3.35 xG; 4 goals

Special teams is where the Bruins had the marked advantage coming into the series. They have a number of dominant players on both units. In general they performed alright. With the exception of a three goal output in game three, the Lightning only scored one other goal with the man advantage despite ample opportunity. The Bruins even had a number of chances while shorthanded. Boston scored a powerplay goal in every contest. In general, that is a key ingredient for the Bruins. They keep games simple, low-event, and close before finishing teams off with their lethal power play.

However, in this series, Tampa Bay’s advantage at 5v5 was just too overwhelming and the Bruins’ time in the bubble has come to an end.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 192 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

This is Not the Bruins’ 2011 Veteran Core’s Last Hurrah

Photo Credit: John Locher/AP Photo

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.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 192 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!