Will the 2021-22 Boston Bruins enjoy perpetual sunshine, enter the darkest of timelines or experience something in between?
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski on Friday set the best- and worst-case scenarios for Boston’s coming campaign. The optimistic view has new players jelling nicely with returning ones, putting the team in contention for hockey’s biggest price. The pessimistic outlook sees Boston’s rivals overtaking them, followed by the departure of another franchise icon.
Here’s what Wyshynski believes is the Bruins’ best-case scenario:
The Bruins overcome some key personnel losses, get peak performances from their forwards and challenge for the Stanley Cup again while defiantly refusing to let the window close on their time as a contender.
Wyshynski’s worst-case scenario presents a much-gloomier picture for this season and beyond.
The losses of David Krejci and Rask are too dramatic to overcome, the bottom six can’t find chemistry and the Bruins miss the playoffs in a competitive division. And then Patrice Bergeron decides to retire rather than sign a new contract. Indeed, the darkest timeline.
The Bruins roster contains plenty of established and budding NHL talent, so it’s a matter of ensuring the squad plays with the cohesion and consistency required to meet its goals.
Boston finished the preseason 2-1-3. The record doesn’t highlight the fact several Bruins regulars didn’t dress for half the games (or more, in some cases), so basing one’s outlook on exhibition action isn’t very useful in this case.
What will be most important in determining whether the best- or worst-case scenario comes to pass is what happens starting Oct. 16, when the Bruins face the Dallas Stars in their regular season opener.