After another second-round outing of the playoffs, the Boston Bruins have enjoyed one of the busiest offseason in the league. They capitalized on a little space for the caps, adding depth to their entire line. Most notably, they were successful in keeping Taylor Hall, which they acquired for pennies on the dollar at the trade deadline that year.
But will the added depth be enough to get them out of the second round? Or will they even reach the playoffs?
What happened in 2021?
All things considered, the Bruins have had a pretty solid 2020-21 campaign. They posted a 33-16-7 record, which earned them third place in the Eastern Division. They have scored the 14th most goals in the league, while allowing only the fourth under. It was that defensive prowess that helped them advance to the second round of the playoffs.
Up front, Brad Marchand (29-40—69) scored the most points in the league for anyone other than Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl and was the driving force behind the Bruins’ offense. Patrice Bergeron (23-25—48), David Pastrnak (20-28—48) and David Krejci (8-36—44) all did their part to carry the load.
At the back, Charlie McAvoy (5-25-30) took a big step forward and established himself as one of the best all-around defenders – a season that has since rewarded him with a massive AAV of eight years and $ 9.5 million that comes into play next season. Another addition to Mike Reilly’s deadline (0-8-8 in 15 games) was a big addition to the B’s full-blown backend.
At net, however, things were a bit crazy. Tuukka Rask (15-5-2, .913% saving, 3.3 GSAA) carried the load before being sidelined after hip surgery, while Jaroslav Halak (9-6- 4, .905% saving, -1.6 GSAA), Jeremy Swayman (7-3-0, .945% saving, 10 GSAA) and Daniel Vladar (2-2-1, .886% saving savings) have also done their part.
What were they doing out of season?
Notable additions: Linus Ullmark, Nick Foligno, Erik Haula, Mike Reilly, Taylor Hall, Derek Forbort
Notable subtractions: David Krejci, Jeremy Lauzon, Tuukka Rask, Jaroslav Halak
The Bruins, as mentioned earlier, were busy to the max. Ullmark was called in to help ease Rask’s loss to surgery and an uncertain future, along with Halak, who left for Vancouver. The additions of vets in Foligno, Haula and Forbort will only add to that depth throughout the list.
Boston is a team that has taken a step forward in terms of roster building. Will this be enough to move them forward?
What to expect in 2021-2022?
Back in a tough Atlantic Division, the Bruins should be able to fight their way to a top-four spot in the division. Florida, Tampa Bay and the Toronto Maple Leafs will surely be in this conversation as well. But what happens on the subway could affect the Bruins as well.
Cam Lewis of Daily Faceoff predicted earlier this month that they would finish third in the division behind the Panthers and Lightning, respectively.
One of the biggest questions for the Bruins this season will be whether their goaltenders can cope. Swayman started the season opener, marking the first time in nine years that someone other than Tuukka Rask started the season. Ullmark was a surprising bright spot on a terrible Buffalo Sabers, and he should be able to help carry the load.
A bold prediction …
Taylor Hall reminds the league why he won the Hart Trophy. He won’t return to an MVP-level campaign this year, but he will score a points-per-game pace on what will be one of the most powerful offensives in the NHL.
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