Free washer | The future remains bright in Boston

The Bruins have never failed to amaze us in recent years. Despite the departures of their stars Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Torey Krug, they have been able to regenerate and have just experienced seasons of 135 and 109 points in the regular season.

Posted at 11:03 a.m.

But another early elimination this spring, again at the hands of the Florida Panthers, but this time in the second round, will force management to take important steps to improve the team.

The Bruins have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Jeremy Swayman and Brandon Carlo are still in their prime, but captain Brad Marchand just turned 36.

There is obviously no panic here, but Boston finished twelfth out of sixteen teams in the playoffs in terms of goals scored, with an average of 2.38. Their efficiency rate on the power play was not bad at 21.2%, but far from the leading clubs in this regard.

The Bruins were more opportunistic in the regular season with an average of 3.21 goals scored per game, for fourteenth place overall. But they will not be able to aspire to the Stanley Cup with Morgan Geekie as the first center and Charlie Coyle behind him. Before getting 39 points this winter, Geekie had never amassed more than 28 points in a season.

Boston owes its success to its collective play. We work in a pack. We obstruct the neutral zone and when the opponent manages to penetrate his zone, we withdraw as a group and take advantage of the slightest weakness to quickly counterattack… as a pack. We should call them wolves, not bears. This exemplary way of playing has its limits. Especially when you count the number of gifted players on the fingers of one hand. Does she mortgage the group once the playoffs arrive? Let’s see if management comes to this conclusion.

CEO Charlie Jacobs, President Cam Neely, GM Don Sweeney and Head Coach Jim Montgomery will present their findings to the media Wednesday afternoon. Sweeney had time to reveal on Friday after his team’s elimination that he was satisfied with the season, given the changes to his roster the previous summer with the departures of Bergeron and Krejci, but that it was now necessary to move on in the second stage of the plan.

The Bruins have some interesting young candidates up front. Center Matthew Poitras, second-round pick in 2022, surprised by deserving a position at just 19 years old. However, he was loaned to the Canadian junior team for the World Championship and saw his season end due to a shoulder injury. 2021 first-round pick Fabian Lysell, 21, has 50 points in 56 games with the Providence farm club. However, this is another attacker under six feet, like Poitras.

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Jake DeBrusk

After a modest 40-point season, Jake DeBrusk was the Bruins’ top scorer in the playoffs with 11 points in 13 games. But he will be entitled to complete autonomy from 1er July. DeBrusk wants to stay in Boston and the Bruins would like to keep him, but Sweeney would rather lose him than overpay him. Veterans James Van Riemsdyk and Patrick Maroon likely played their last game with the Bruins.

Sweeney can turn to the uncompensated free agent market. Elias Lindholm, no relation to Bruins defenseman Hampus, regained his splendor in the second round against the Oilers. This forward obtained by the Canucks this winter for a first round pick and prospects would constitute a solution at center. Steven Stamkos and Sam Reinhart will also be entitled to autonomy, but it would be surprising to see them leave their respective Florida teams.

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Linus Ullmark

The Bruins general manager nevertheless has a major asset for a potential transaction: goaltender Linus Ullmark, one of the best in his profession. Jeremy Swayman has taken the lead in the playoffs and we will probably no longer share the net as in the past starting next season.

Ullmark, 30, the winner of the Vezina Trophy awarded to the goaltender par excellence in 2022-2023, nevertheless has a partial no-trade clause. He can submit a list of sixteen clubs for which he will not want to be traded. He has one year of contract left at an annual salary of 5 million.

There is no shortage of top teams looking for a goalie: Colorado, Los Angeles, Toronto, Edmonton. Others like Columbus, Detroit and New Jersey will want a quality goaltender if they want to advance.

Boston still has a solid defense with McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo and the emergence of young Mason Lohrei.

It will be one or two wise decisions to allow this team to dream of another successful season and progression in the playoffs. And the Bruins have accustomed us to wise decisions…

The Oilers do the CH a favor

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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman, Leon Draisaitl, Evan Bouchard and Connor McDavid

It’s not a huge progression, but the Oilers’ victory on Monday night at the expense of the Canucks allows the Canadian to move up one place in the standings at the end of the first round of the 2024 draft. Montreal will draft 26e with the pick obtained from the Winnipeg Jets for Sean Monahan.

The four teams in the final four de facto obtain the last draft picks, between the 29e and the 32e rank, according to the final results. The Oilers finished behind the Jets in the overall standings, but the Canucks, by virtue of their first place in the Pacific Division, were better positioned than Winnipeg.

With its elimination, Vancouver therefore slips to 27e rank and allows Winnipeg to move up one rank. If the Canucks had won, they would have been allocated one of the final four picks and Edmonton would have gotten one pick after Winnipeg.

These three teams are now out of their draft picks anyway. The 28the The Canucks’ total choice belongs to the Calgary Flames (Elias Lindholm) and that of the Oilers to the Anaheim Ducks (Adam Henrique, Sam Carrick).

The Senators will draft at 25e rank, in front of the CH, with the choice of the Bruins. Boston had given up its first round choice in 2024 for Tyler Bertuzzi of the Red Wings in 2023. Detroit passed this choice on to Ottawa for Alex DeBrincat.

The Senators therefore sacrificed a seventh overall pick, an early second-round pick in 2022 (39e in total) and third round in 2024 for a single (modest) year of DeBrincat, a 25e overall pick and a fourth-round pick in 2024…



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