By Brian Mills ‘18
The last time the Boston Bruins were playing post season hockey was in the 2013-14 season. With this in mind, General Manager Don Sweeney recognized that it was time for a change. This meant an offseason of losing some regular faces and implementing some new ones.
One of the most notable additions to the team was David Backes. This center served as the St. Louis Blues captain for many years, but decided to sign a five-year deal with the Bruins during free agency. He brings a lot of leadership to the locker room, which is much needed after departing with players such as Chris Kelly.
While many Bruins fans were awaiting to hear some veteran upgrades to their defense core, that never happened. While there were some rumors of acquiring players like Shattenkirk and Trouba bouncing around, there was never any traction on any of those deals actually happening. Instead, Don Sweeney has chosen to simply give some American Hockey League players, such as Rob O’Gara and Brandon Carlo, a chance to prove themselves worthy of the National Hockey League.
Sweeney also brought in two new forwards, Dominic Moore of the New York Rangers and Riley Nash of the Carolina Hurricanes. These players, along with many other new faces, has brought a fresh feel to a Bruins team that needed a change of pace. But will this be enough to bring them back to the playoffs?
After three games played so far in the regular season, it’s really impossible to tell. What we do know is that this team has a high level of resiliency. After falling behind 2-0 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in their season opener, they were able to fight back for a 6-3 win. They were also able to counter back from a 1-0 deficit against the Winnipeg Jets and ultimately win 4-1.
Starting the season with three away games, without their arguably best player Patrice Bergeron who is suffering from a lower body injury, and coming away with a 2-1 is commendable. Players such as David Pastrnak, David Backes and Brad Marchand all stepped up in Bergeron’s absence. They have a combined 8 goals and 8 assists for 16 points in just three games. That is something Bruins fans should be excited about.
There are still many questions revolving around this team. However, the hope is to mimic the success of last year’s Pittsburgh Penguins, who were able to win the Stanley Cup last season with a very young team. Whether or not that’s realistic or simply a Boston fan’s fantasy remains to be seen.