The Boston Bruins over the better part of 13 years have become one of the most successful franchises in the NHL. The Bruins have made the postseason in 11 of those 13 years while appearing in three Stanley Cup Finals (2011, 2013, 2019) winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. Despite the success the franchise has seen and enjoyed in the last decade, there is a growing sense of concern I have for the direction of the Bruins in which it is heading,
The direction that the Bruins are heading is towards a city called Complacency.
Boston Bruins fans & media should be very alarmed
The Mayor of Complacency is Don Sweeney, the President of “Unwilling to make a change” is Cam Neely. I had some time to reflect on the exit interview that Neely gave after the Boston Bruins were eliminated by the New York Islanders in six games in the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is the quote that Neely said that has me quite concerned with the direction of the Bruins moving forward:
“I can tell you this, I know (Brad) Marchand and (Patrice) Bergeron, understandably, would like us to take another run. If we get the pieces signed that we’d like to, I think it’s worth taking one more shot at it here, depending on what we can do on the back end as well.”- Boston Bruins President Cam Neely
With all due respect to Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, they should not influence the decision-making by Bruins management when it comes to roster construction. Both Bergeron’s and Marchand’s standing and place among Bruins greats is firmly secured, however, the harsh truth is that this is a team that has its wheels spinning in the same place since losing Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues.
This is a team that has lost in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs back-to-back seasons to the Tampa Bay Lightning (2020) and New York Islanders (2021). Both aforementioned teams are much more physical and deeper than the Bruins especially if you were to do side-by-side comparisons of the rosters. When the divisions in the NHL return to pre-pandemic alignment next season, how can one honestly think that the Bruins are good enough to compete against the likes of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, or even the New York Rangers?
I am of the belief that the B’s should re-sign Taylor Hall and David Krejci at the right price. Bringing back those two players will solidify the top-six forward group. However, the bottom six group is a major concern as we head towards free agency. Is Charlie Coyle’s lack of production in the 2020-2021 season a sign of things to come? What will the B’s do regarding much-maligned winger Jake DeBrusk? How will the Bruins address the issues on the blueline that had gotten worse as the series against the Islanders progressed? These are some of the questions the B’s must answer during the offseason.
With the burning questions and concerns the Bruins face this offseason, how can Neely and GM Don Sweeney entertain the idea of “taking one more shot here” with the group currently constructed? For a team that has aspirations of winning one more Stanley Cup with the core group that won it all in 2011, I have a very difficult time believing yet taking seriously the idea of “taking one more shot” when the results have not been there the last couple of postseasons.
Now, as NHL Free Agency has yet to have begun, it still remains to be seen what the B’s will do in terms of roster construction. How will they address the bottom six forwards? How will they address the goaltending situation for next season? What moves will the Bruins make to improve the blue line core to support defenseman Charlie McAvoy?
This is a defining offseason for Bruins management. They can ill afford to be complacent and “run it back” if they want to win another Stanley Cup before the window closes for this group. Changes are a necessity, especially if winning the Stanley Cup remains the ultimate goal.