No, the most recent Boston Bruins season didn’t finish the way many hoped it would — in the form of the five-game loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs.
But nonetheless, the future remains bright for Boston, which will dress another talented team in the upcoming campaign, whenever it begins. And for that reason, fans have no shortage of things to be thankful for this year.
Here are a few.
The Bruins have something not many teams do: A Vezina-quality goaltender.
For as polarizing a figure as Rask may be, the fact remains he is one of the game’s top goaltenders. Who knows what his future holds as he enters the final year of his contract, so appreciate him now.
One of the Bruins’ only outside signings this season, he figures to become a fan favorite with relative ease.
For one, the guy loves to shoot. And after a few years of too many guys in the middle six hesitating to pull the trigger, Smith is going to be a delight to watch.
He can defend well, and he’s sure to create offensive opportunities. What’s more, the Bruins got him for cheap as they pried him away from the Nashville Predators. He should be a nice piece on the third line for years to come.
The fact that the Bruins still are, you know, good
It’s easy to look at the fact that the Bruins really didn’t sign that many guys and worry about what next season will look like.
Don’t forget the Bruins were worldbeaters during the regular season in 2019-20, and that’s after they went to the Stanley Cup Final a season prior. In other words, they’re still a darn good team.
That shouldn’t change in 2020-21, and a team that’s worth watching is something Bruins fans absolutely should appreciate.
Boston’s young core
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has done all he can to make the most of the team’s existing core while building the next group of Boston leaders.
David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Jake DeBrusk all figure to be big parts of the organization moving forward. Pastrnak one day will be a Hart Trophy finalist, while McAvoy is sure to be in the Norris Trophy conversation.
The Bruins are in the unique place where they’re able to win now while still have some core pieces for years to come.
All RFA deals being taken care of
We might be well into training camp by the time the New York Islanders get Mathew Barzal signed. Same with Anthony Cirelli in Tampa and Pierre-Luc Dubois in Columbus.
That the Bruins already have their deals done with DeBrusk, Jakub Zboril and Zach Senyshyn gives Boston one less thing to worry about entering the season. And that hasn’t been the most commonplace thing in recent years, as the Pastrnak, McAvoy and Carlo RFA contract talks all stretched for months.
So, take a deep breath, Bruins fans. Nothing to worry about on that front this year.