The wounds from Game 7 still may be fresh, but it’s never too early to talk about the next season, right?
The Boston Bruins came up just short in their quest for the Stanley Cup, but will enter the 2019-20 NHL season as one of the favorites to hoist hockey’s ultimate prize. And while there’s something to be said for returning the same roster that just captivated an entire region for two months, the reality is the Bruins likely will undergo some changes this offseason.
So, what should the Bruins do to ensure their championship window stays open? ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters recently identified their “keys” to Boston’s offseason.
Take a look:
Know that the window remains open.
The Bruins remain a team that’s in that sweet spot of having veterans still in their prime — though the clock is ticking — and a collection of young players making up the supporting cast. Yes, Patrice Bergeron is turning 34, David Krejci is 32 and Zdeno Chara … well, we’re pretty sure he’s made of vibranium so it doesn’t matter how old he is. But they’re supported by players in their prime (Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask) and a slew of players 26 and under (David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Charlie Coyle, Brandon Carlo, Jake DeBrusk).
Get even younger.
Urho Vaakanainen might not have been ripe for the Stanley Cup Final, but the young defenseman has a ton of potential. Top forward prospect Jack Studnicka was around the team in the playoffs as a last-resort option, and they’re quite high on him. The Bruins love to patch over lineup holes from within, and they’ll have homegrown options.
Re-sign Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Both players are coming off their first NHL contracts, and both players will be in line for significant raises. Carlo, 22, anchors their second pairing with Torey Krug and is a reliable defensive defenseman. McAvoy, 21, is on their top pairing with Zdeno Chara and is considered one of the NHL’s premiere young defensemen.
The Bruins are in an enviable spot. They have young talent, established veterans still at the top of their game, an elite goalie and a coach that’s become one of the best in the game. They also (should) have an irreplicable amount of motivation following last week’s heartbreak.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images