Following a fifth-place finish in the Atlantic Conference last season, which saw the Boston Bruins narrowly miss the playoffs, the Bruins’ front office set in motion a mini-rebuilding phase as they seek their first Stanley Cup triumph since 2011-12.
Former assistant general manager Don Sweeney was promoted to general manager. The former Harvard star looks to reverse the Bruins’ downward spiral from last year. Sweeney’s expectations for the team will not be easy to meet, as he wants to “bring the Bruins back to the forefront of contending for the Stanley Cup.”
The Bruins’ approach toward big-name trades can hardly be described as hesitant. Just two years ago, they rather confidently traded rising offensive star Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars. Now, he is a two-time All-Star and one of the most prolific offensive players in the NHL. However, even for the Bruins, trading Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Reilly Smith, and Gregory Campbell in the same off-season was eye-popping.
While Lucic was on the final year of his contract and it was probably a smart move to replace him with up-and-coming players from the first-round draft pick, the loss of Hamilton and Soderberg could prove to be detrimental to the franchise’s immediate future. After all, Lucic, Soderberg, Smith, and Hamilton accounted for 54 of 213 goals last season, according to the Bleacher Report.
In the preseason, the new-look Bruins showed enough fire in their bellies, going toe-to-toe with the likes of New York Rangers, but in the end managed to win just four out of seven games. In addition, all four victories came at the beginning of the preseason.
Overall, the Bruins should be a competitive outfit this season, but ultimately, down the stretch, they might not yet be ready for a place in the spotlight. Expect a season of ups and downs, most likely culminating in a fifth-place finish in the Atlantic Conference.