The 2019 Tampa crash turned out to be an earthquake that sparked a slew of aftershocks, truckloads of toxic laughs, Nikita Kucherov’s ultimate transformation into a cold-blooded playoff monster, and a sea change in team concept, then gone. . crazy about militant ladies. The fall of the same historic “Boston” -2023 seemed to have been forgotten a few days after it happened-, Florida was too good in the playoffs, which continued with its stamping on the bodies of the eastern favorites.
The main frame of the game was Patrice Bergeron, who barely concealed her tears in Brad Marchand’s silent embrace. The Bears captain, who won his sixth Selke in the playoffs, clearly played against the backdrop of some kind of damage, brought a monstrous -6 in three games, and Boston turned a comfortable 3-1 into a 3-4. As it turned out, this was Bergeron’s last match in his career. This was almost certainly the last NHL game for David Krejci; However, the Czech still wants to play at the World Cup at home in Prague and Ostrava, and for this he needs to go to Europe again, like in the Olympic season.
The legend is gone. The Canadian who made NHL history ended a magnificent career at the age of 38
All this left “Boston” without an apparently eternal duo of centrals. His spirit, however, will be present in the pay in the form of $4.5 million in bonuses that were tied to last year’s modest base salaries. Also, David Pastrnak nearly doubled his earnings this summer (from $6.66 to $11.25 million). All of this restricted Boston’s ability to stretch as many players as possible to fit the club at the deadline: all the “rented” team members left. Remember what the team’s transfer disturbances looked like this offseason:
Boston after playoff elimination
Came: H. Mitchell (Chicago), h. Shattenkirk (“Anaheim”), b. Lucic (Calgary), b. van Riemsdyk (“Philadelphia”), b. P. Brown (“Ottawa”), b. Bockvist (New Jersey), no. Geeks (Seattle)
Missing: H. Orlov (“Carolina”), h. Reilly (“Florida”), h. Clifton (“Buffalo”), h. Strolman (XB71, Sweden), b. Bergeron (retired), b. Bertuzzi (Toronto), b. Hall, no. Foligno (both – “Chicago”), b. Hathaway (“Philadelphia”), b. Nosek (“New Jersey”), no. Kreychi (-)
In August, the club issued contracts to Trent Frederick and Jeremy Sweiman, after which there were no free agents left in Boston, and a little more than $ 400 thousand remained free under the roof. However, this does not mean that questions about the composition they have evaporated.
First of all, what is intriguing is what will happen to the team’s centers. Logically, the first and second center places should go to Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zaha. However, for the first time in his life she knocked out more than 50 points in his career and utterly failed in the role of second center back during Krejci’s last outing to his home soil. The second in Boston was reborn, but most of his success is associated with playing on the wing alongside the long-studied Krejci-Pastrnak link.
Thoughts on a potential big trade for conditional Kuznetsov are rudely blasted by The Athletic author Fluto Shinzawa. “It is impossible to find a replacement, the club will bet on Zaha and Coyle. Perhaps the opportunity to sign the central defender will be next summer”. Of course, next to wingers like Marchand and Pastrnak, in a quiet season, the center of the second or third link can also cope relatively well, but a long-distance cup campaign with such a lineup seems impossible.
Former Boston coach Cassidy: Marchand could be the team’s next captain
The team’s third center is likely to be Morgan Ghiki. The forward was part of the most productive Seattle link (in terms of 60 minutes), but the Krakens, for some unknown reason, did not issue a qualifying offer for the general forward (190/90). The highest-profile signing by name will be Milan Lucic’s return to the near-native club, but over the past five years, the highest-profile event in the striker’s career has been a golden debut for Canada at the World Cup. from 2023. James van Riemsdyk is also more likely to be just a name, but Philadelphia in recent seasons has been too flamboyant for a full assessment of player potential.
In general, Boston is packed with players, mostly from the youth ranks. There was no trace of last year’s depth, Taylor Hall and a reborn Nick Foligno had to be given to Chicago for a pair of defenders with third-team potential. It would be ridiculous to go into a restructuring after the best season ever, and the club gave up the draft picks from the first three rounds in exchange.
However, the defense and goaltending duo make Boston a playoff-level team. Six seasons in a row, the Bears are among the top five low-passing teams in the league, and Boston suffered no losses on defense. The backbone of McAvoy’s defense, long signed Carlo and Lindholm, the help in the third pair should be Kevin Shattenkirk, who you might forget about while playing in modest Anaheim.
A Linus Ullmark-Jeremy Sveiman pair also remained in place. The Bears were looking at the option of trading the newly minted owner of Vezina, but even with that track record, it’s tough to trade the goaltender in July, and even on widespread payoff terms. However, the current situation should benefit Boston – in conditions of a clear crisis in the goalkeeper position in the NHL, they have a full 1A-1B duet, where both, if necessary, can play in one season and less than 60 matches. .
Boston is unlikely to be the same attacking machine it was last season. Jim Montgomery was praised last season for his attacking style and his confidence in the veterans who effectively controlled the locker room. In the playoffs, this translated into constant losses and the autocracy of veterans playing in a state where it was better to sit on the bench. Now the Bruins coach can look back on his experience in Dallas. It was more fun counting sheep than watching the Stars with Montgomery, but the team was second in defense in the league due to a rigid system and in 2019 stopped a Western finals puck.
Potentially losing depth in Boston is an opportunity for Georgy Merkulov. Since 2016, not a single Russian striker has worn a shirt with a black “B” on it. Merkulov has a non-standard career for our striker – he played in the USHL and NCAA, the first season in the Boston country club was very successful (55 points in 67 games). “In the AHL, the Boston farm has a lot of strong guys who have already played in the NHL. Even the AHL level is just a jerk. I did not expect this ”, Merkulov spoke briefly during last season. Before the start of the season, Georgiy is seen as 2nd or 3rd in the queue of players who can replace fallen forwards in the infirmary or reserve.
Gueorgui Merkulov (No. 10)
After all the turmoil against the backdrop of inflated Buffalo, Detroit and Ottawa, as well as slightly weakened Florida and Toronto, the standings for Montgomery’s team look paler. One thing is certain: this “Boston” will no longer break records. On the other hand, it seemed to almost everyone in the fall of 2022.
Brad Marchand – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk
James van Riemsdyk – Pavel Zaha – David Pastrnak
Trent Frederick – Morgan Geek – Jesper Bockvist
Milan Lucic – Patrick Brown – AJ Greer
Matt Gryzlik as Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm as Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Kevin Shattenkirk