The Bruins weren’t supposed to make it as far as they did.

Boston entered this season in a pickle, as its push to make history last year ended up having a pretty significant impact on how they could be built moving forward. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney rightfully went all in on that group, committing future money and assets to the likes of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dmitry Orlov.

He didn’t see a single one of those names return, however, and even had to move other key contributors like Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno to bridge the gap in 2023-24 and open up some money for the future.

Brad Marchand, just moments after the conclusion of his first season as captain, summed it up best.

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“I really can’t even put into words how proud I am of this group,” Marchand said. “From where we started, the expectations to start the season, everybody wrote us off, said we wouldn’t even be a playoff team and we were one of the best teams in the league.”

The 2023-24 Bruins’ season ended in disappointment, sure, but despite a Game 6 loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday, it gave reason for optimism moving forward in Boston.

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Development Of Youngsters
Did anyone envision Mason Lohrei becoming one of the most steady players in the Bruins’ lineup?

Lohrei wasn’t perfect, but the 23-year-old came a long way throughout the course of his rookie season. His routine struggles with puck possession and decision-making within the defensive zone dissipated with each game, while his scoring touch and playmaking ability improved. The Bruins have a future star on their hands so long as he continues his trajectory.

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John Beecher is no slouch, either. Boston has an elite skater on its hands, with the 23-year-old’s forecheck leading to some of the better chances seen against both Florida and Toronto this postseason. Justin Brazeau (26) was quite the find, while Jesper Boqvist (25) came into his own on the fourth line. Andrew Peeke, Trent Frederic and Morgan Geekie all figure to be contributors moving forward, and only the latter will turn 26 prior to next season.

Matthew Poitras isn’t to be forgotten about, as the 20-year-old might have the highest ceiling of anyone mentioned.

Trust In Sweeney
The Bruins had to make a number of depth signings to just fill out their roster and be competitive in 2024, and they all seemed to work out pretty well.

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Sweeney added Geekie, Kevin Shattenkirk, James van Riemsdyk and Patrick Brown via free agency, and all had great moments with the team throughout a very good regular season. Geekie might be the only one with a future in Boston, but the others did a tremendous job holding their spots down until the guys we mentioned earlier were ready to go.

Peeke, a deadline addition alongside Pat Maroon, will figure to be a part of the plan moving forward.

Money To Spend
The Bruins will enter the offseason with a couple spots in the lineup to fill, and while priority number one will be inking Jeremy Swayman to a long-term contract, they should have plenty of dough to make a big swing in free agency.

Featured image via Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports Images