This 31-part series chronicles why each team is going to be competitive in the 2018-2019 NHL season. Progressing alphabetically, three teams will be featured weekly during the off-season. A compendium 31-part series will be published by Hockey Troll (@HockeyTrollin) on www.BeerLeagueTalk.com on why your team is trash in the 2018-2019 NHL season. 

Check out Hockey Troll’s overview of why the Bruins will be trash

Check out my overview of why other teams will be good this year

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Boston Bruins

2017-2018 Regular Season: 112 points (2nd in East)

2017-2018 Playoffs: Beat Toronto in the first round (4-3) and lost to Tampa Bay in second round (1-4)

The Boston Bruins have been wildly inconsistent over the past decade.  On the one hand, they reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 and again in 2013, winning only one.  On the other hand, they missed the playoffs in 2014-15 and 2015-16.  Most recently in 2017-18, they barely squeaked by the Maple Leafs in the first round before being spanked by Tampa Bay in the second round.  I see no reason why the Bruins will not continue to have success in 2018-19.

The Bruins had arguably the most productive top line in the NHL last year. The combination of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak were not only the top-3 in goals and points on the team, but they combined for a total of 228 points and 99 goals.  Consider that these numbers were achieved without Marchand for 14 games and Bergeron for 18 games. To put that in perspective, the Bruins top line averaged about 3 points per game when healthy together. Even at 32 years old, Bergeron is still a shutdown two-way forward that is consistently over 55% in the face-off circle. Top-heavy teams like the Bruins should do well in the regular season (*cough Edmonton cough*), but the playoffs have been their Achilles heel. When facing more balanced competition in a prolonged series, legitimate contenders rely on their depth scoring. The Bruins, well, relied too much on more “unconventional tactics”.

“Unconventional Tactics”

In order to address their depth scoring needs, the Bruins have adopted a strategy of paying for “leadership” evidenced by the addition of Nash (34) and Backes (34), the latter of whom they are stuck with for three more years.  I don’t know how they survived against Toronto in the first round of the playoffs without the massive five points of total offense that cost 13.8 million. #SAD.  Speaking of sad, those trades involving Hamilton and Seguin sure worked out for them. Look at all these future all-stars that they acquired: Zach Senyshyn, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jeremy Lauzon, Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow. Peter Chiarelli and Don Sweeney sure know how to improve a franchise! #HOFGM

To be fair, even though they pissed away a 1C and top-2 defensemen, Bruins management has done well correcting their mistakes through the draft and some decent trades.  In 2014, they selected Pastrnak in the first round and followed it up with Donato and Heinen in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. In 2015, the same year they ditched Hamilton for a bunch of guys not named Hamilton, they also managed to unload Lucic onto the Kings. GM inaction at this point would be better than doing something idiotic and setting the franchise back five years, I propose that they replace Sweeney with their mascot, Blades.

Future GM of the Boston Bruins

The blueprint for success for the Bruins is to stop collecting middle-aged bloated contracts and focus on the development of guys like DeBrusk (21), Heinen (23), McAvoy (20) and Krug (27).  In order to be competitive in the salary-cap era, it is absolutely essential to have young and cheap talent sprinkled throughout your middle-6.  The Bruins need to stick to the long-term goal of winning the cup, rather than mortgaging the future trying to keep up with Toronto and Tampa Bay.  Fortunately, this appears to be the plan according to Bruins beat writer Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs). We’ve seen a bunch of relative unknown ELC players win cups for the Pens and Caps the past three seasons, so it’s not out of the question for the Bruins to replicate their success.

Check out Hockey Troll’s overview of why the Bruins will be trash

Check out my overview of why other teams will be good this year

Check out our podcasts

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