The Bruins start their 2015-2016 campaign tonight at the Garden against the Winnipeg Jets.
The B’s have made some big changes this off season in hopes that they can re-emerge into the playoff picture this year. Last year, their six-year streak of making the postseason came to an end due to a combination of key injuries and overall underachievement.
Their first step in the off season was to do what had to be done and fire GM Peter Chiarelli. Once that was out of the way, new GM (and former assistant GM) Don Sweeney immediately got to work and traded some key players in Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton, and Reilly Smith while letting other long-time Bruins leave as unrestricted free agents. When all was said and done, here’s what the B’s lost:
- Milan Lucic
- Dougie Hamilton
- Reilly Smith
- Daniel Paille
- Carl Soderberg
- Gregory Campbell
- Matt Bartkowski
What they gained is salary cap space and some key players in Matt Beleskey (LW), Jimmy Hayes (RW), Zac Rinaldo (C), and Matt Irwin (D).
There has been talk (mainly from Brad Marchand) that the Bruins lacked the chemistry last year that had helped them to be successful in years prior. Hopefully whatever issues there were in the locker room have been resolved as this new-look team hopes to form an identity.
Something else to keep an eye on is the health of Zdeno Chara. He’s struggled with injuries in the past (missed 19 games with a knee injury last season) and he started off the preseason this year by suffering an upper body injury. At 38 years old, there are reasons for concern.
David Krejci’s health this season is a huge reason why the Bruins have a legitimate chance to improve after what was a lost season last year. Aside from an apparent lack of chemistry, his injury-shortened year was a key contributor to the Bruins demise. If he can manage to stay on the ice that would be a huge boost for this team.
The Bruins also added some depth at the goalie position, something they were lacking last season. The trustworthy veteran Jonas Gustavsson, who spent the last three season backing up Jimmy Howard in Detroit, should be able to provide some solid relief for Tuuka when needed.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : John Bardsley