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Oh, what a year it was. The big and bad Bruins seemed destined to add another cup to their total. How could it not happen for them? They were so tough, so fierce, so gritty… They had all the great stories… guys like Patrice Bergeron sacrificing their physical health, the great comeback against the Maple Leafs, the red hot scorer inserting his name into the superstar debate with David Krejci, the grizzled veteran returning to the finals in Jagr, the city that had gone through tragedy only months before… it all seemed too perfect to be true… And so it was, because the Bruins ran out of steam in the finals and lost in 6 games, just when it started to feel like an inevitability that they would be lifting the cup again.
The Bruins didn’t take this cup final loss laying down, resting on their laurels, confident that this roster can still compete. They made changes this offseason, and the team that will take the ice will look different in some key areas.
The key move made during the offseason was the Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly for Loui Eriksson trade. Segiun had burned some bridges during his time in Boston, allegedly partying it up a little too much, and being a bit of a non factor in the playoffs. However, it’s pretty odd to trade a player as young and talented as he is, and it’s a pretty darn big gamble. But what they got back is nothing to laugh at. Loui Eriksson is an upgrade on both ends of the ice (at least at this point). Prior to the lockout shortened season he had three straight 70 point seasons, showing a run of consistency few other players have had in recent years. One of the big questions of this year will be who wins this trade. Peverly and Seguin add youth and sorely needed scoring depth to the Dallas Stars, and Eriksson was brought in for a win now franchise. If the Bruins play below expectations this year, will there be some grumbling in Boston?
Additionally, the depth Rich Peverly added will be sorely missed. The Bruins also lost their second leading scorer from their playoff in Nathan Horton, and mainstay defenseman Andrew Ference and future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr departed too. Like many teams in the league, the Bruins are hoping that young players can fill the void. Specifially, they’re looking a trio of young defensemen two take up the spots left by Ference and Wade Redden. Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, and Dougie Hamilton will all be looking to make a first team impression. How will they do with their first full seasons?
With all these potential story lines, the one that will perhaps make the most noise is the addition of former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla. The pounding the Bruins gave him and the Penguins in the playoffs sure seems to have made him rethink his opinion of the Bruins. It’s likely water under the bridge, but Iginla’s decision to reject a trade with the Bruins for the Penguins is likely to be a frequent topic of conversation with the press. Will it be a distraction? Did Iginla make the right choice this time?
It was a sad end for Bruins fans, but the upcoming season looks promising. There’s a lot of firepower up front, and with Zdeno Chara patrolling the blue line, the Bruins will continue to be a tough team to play against… but are they as good as last year?
Optimism rating (out of 5): 4