There’s four big questions the Boston Bruins will need to answer in 2020-21.
We continue to roll with our 2020-21 NHL Season Previews today and, after taking a long look at the Anaheim Ducks and the Arizona Coyotes, today it is the turn of the Boston Bruins to fall under the microscope.
It was a weird 2019-20 for the Bruins who were absolutely dominant during the regular season, but the enforced hiatus because of the COVID-19 Pandemic appeared to hurt their momentum, leading to a hugely disappointing Second Round exit at the hands of eventual champions the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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What followed was an even stranger offseason as the front office, led by General Manager Don Sweeney, didn’t appear to make any moves that would push this roster over the top, while they also made the strange decision to not re-sign Captain and franchise icon Zdeno Chara.
Therefore, with an aging core coupled with some gaping holes on this roster, there will be some uncertainty hovering over this Bruins team heading into the 2020-21 season.
So, without further ado, let’s delve into the Four Biggest Questions facing the Boston Bruins during the 2020-21 NHL season…
4. Is there another move to be made?
You just get the feeling with this Boston Bruins team that they are still another piece or two away from being a true Stanley Cup contender. That was the case in 2018-19 when they made it to the Stanley Cup Final, only to lose to the St. Louis Blues in seven games, and that is very much the case heading into this season.
Now, it does seem a rather strange statement to make considering that the Bruins were the best team in the entire NHL during the 2019-20 regular season, boasting an impressive Points Percentage of .714, but postseason hockey is a whole different beast.
Whether it was entirely down to the hiatus or whether it was thanks to certain weaknesses on this roster, Boston just didn’t look like the same team after the restart and, after eventually finding a way past the Carolina Hurricanes in the First Round, they were absolutely dominated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Second Round.
It was a really disappointing showing from the Bruins who almost looked as if they had nothing left to give, and big time players like David Pastrnak were okay but were not spectacular, and that’s exactly what you need during the most important time of the year.
And, after a tough offseason which saw elite defensemen Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara depart, while forward Craig Smith was the biggest addition, is there another move to be made by the front office? Does there need to be another move?
It does appear as though General Manager Don Sweeney seems committed to injecting some youth into this roster in 2020-21 in order to supplement an aging core, and the likes of Jack Studnicka, Jakub Zboril, Urho Vaakanainen and Jeremy Lauzon will play much bigger roles this coming season.
However, it is also clear that the Bruins were interested in adding another big piece to this team after kicking the tyres on top-four defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson during the offseason, before the Arizona Coyotes Captain decided to stay put.
And, as long as the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask are part of the franchise, this organization will stay committed to winning and it isn’t out of the realms of possibility that they will make a big move at some point during the 2020-21 season.
Revisiting the Ekman-Larsson situation could be likely if things continue to blow up in Arizona, and the B’s need some help on the blueline, while this team has been chasing another legit weapon to slide into that top-six group for quite a while, so that could well come to the forefront at some point in the not-too-distant future.
This Boston Bruins team is still in win-now mode thanks to a strong core but, having seen some of their shine disappear, don’t be surprised if the front office go all out and make a huge splash at the Trade Deadline if they need to shake things up in the locker room.