Boston Bruins 2016-2017 Season Preview


Matt Fronduto, Author

You have most likely heard about the Bruins’ quick 3-2 start to their 2016-2017 season, but how is the rest of the season looking for the six-time Stanley Cup champions? Not many people know what to expect. On paper, their lineup is not exactly star-studded, or packed with extremely talented players; but with a healthy mix of young blood and seasoned veterans, they seem to have a solid chance of writing an underdog story this year.

The lifeblood of a team is more often than not the young players who are eager to prove themselves, and the Boston Bruins certainly check out in this category. The highlight of Boston’s rookie class would have to be Brandon Carlo, whose preseason was one for the ages. Though drafted this year by the Bruins in the second round, the 19 year old was considered a steal by many, as he was ranked as the 25th best player in the draft class by, and his performance so far suggests that Boston made the right choice. In fact, assistant coach Bruce Cassidy even went as far as to say he’s “arguably our best D, if not our best D”. It seems a bit presumptuous to give Carlo the title of “best defensive player on the team”, but in the end only time will tell. As for the B’s other new rookie defense man, Robbie O’Gara, many analysts are optimistic as to how his performance will impact the team. Though O’Gara will likely not become an all-star anytime soon, he could still play an important role for Boston in the near future.

As important as young talent can be, it has little chance to flourish without the guidance of a collection of some more experienced players. The Bruins, of course, flaunt a pair of players who have had their fair share of success in the NHL, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. These two are essentially household names in New England, and for good reason. Their combined nine all-star appearances, four Olympic gold medals, and their Stanley Cup win in 2011, makes them more than qualified to lead a team. One could argue that their age is starting to catch up with them, and while that may be true with Chara, the same cannot be said for the 31 year old Bergeron. Zdeno Chara, who turns 40 next March, has certainly become more injury prone over the years, and his production even when he is healthy has declined greatly. However, there is a chance that Bergeron might just be peaking, as during the 2015-2016 season he made his first all-star game, and scored a career high 32 goals. If Bergeron can stay consistent throughout the entire year, then he will provide not only leadership, but also some much needed raw talent to Boston’s team. These two, combined with the recent acquisition of veteran center David Backes, who is no stranger to the league after spending ten years in it, will certainly help give the team a powerful push in the right direction.

The biggest make-or-break component of Boston’s team will undoubtedly be the 2014 NHL all-star goalie Tuuka Rask. One could argue that when at the top of his game, there is hardly anyone better in the NHL, bar maybe one or two goalies. However, when he is off the field with an injury, the Bruins find themselves struggling to put anything in the win column, and the losses seem to build up. If he can stay on the field, then it is tough to see Boston struggling throughout the year.

When it comes to potential, you will be hard pressed to find a team that has more than the Boston Bruins. Loaded with young talent and balanced out with skilled veterans, the Bruins are bound to make a splash this year, but their biggest fear must be being dragged down by the players’ possible inconsistencies, as well as the strong chances of injuries among their players, and it’s hard to blame them. It has been their fall in the past few years, and they have to try to avoid it at all costs, as difficult as it may be. Provided that they avoid all of these mishaps, Boston’s favorite hockey team may be well on their way to another intense playoff run.