A new top dog in Boston sports
They are not quite on the same pace, record-wise, as last season, but the Boston Bruins are proving to be a perennial powerhouse in the NHL. Since the start of the 2017-18 season the team record is 157-65-37 which is a winning percentage of 60.62%. Since their loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs in the ‘17-’18 season the Bruins have dominated the regular season and they have a Presidents’ Trophy from last year to show for it.
With a solid mixture of both established veterans and promising young talent the Bruins are poised to compete with the Lightning and Capitals’ of the league. Thanks to General Manager Don Sweeney and President Cam Neely the roster is in a comfortable position. But, at the moment, that is all that can be said about the roster. Sure, they have possibly the best goalie tandem in the league and a legitimate top 5 forward in David Pastrnak, but if they wish to get past teams like Washington, Carolina or Tampa Bay in the playoffs they need line depth as well as a veteran presence within the defensemen pairings.
When Zdeno Chara signed a one-year contract with Washington the city of Boston let out a sigh of relief. ‘Big Z’ was the Captain and there is no disrespect meant to a legend, but it was time for the two sides to part ways. At 43 years old the 6’9” defensemen seemed to get in his own way more times than not last season. With that being said, the Bruins did not replace the body they lost. Veteran leadership would come in handy for Boston as the defensemen currently on the roster have an average age of 26. Steven Kampfer is the eldest of the group at 32 and has played in one game this season.
David Pastrnak tied with Alexander Ovechkin for leading the league in goals in 2020 (48) as well as holding the lead himself for powerplay goals (20) and tied with Leon Draisaitl for game-winning goals (10). The Bruins’ right-winger is a superstar. Every team in the National Hockey League needs a bonafide superstar like Pastrnak if they wish to hoist a Stanley cup.
The ‘perfection line’ refers to the Bruins’ first line which includes Pastrnak as well as team Captain Patrice Bergeron at center and Assistant Captain Brad Marchand at left wing. The team currently has 67 goals scored through the first 25 games. The ‘perfection line’ has accounted for 34 of those goals which is 51%. Essentially, the team is relying on its top three players to score half of the goals. That is not sustainable for any team wishing to make a deep playoff run.
The Bruins are in a position most teams in the NHL wish to be in. They are a player or two away from increasing their chances at a cup substantially. If they could add a forward like Kyle Palmieri, Taylor Hall or even Bobby Ryan then their line depth would be adding another goal scorer.
Scott McLaughlin of weei.com wrote an article on March 2 about additions the Bruins could make when it comes to defensemen. He listed off nine suitable targets for the team but the most interesting seems to be:
Mattias Ekholm (NSH)
Jordie Benn (VAN)
Alex Goligoski (ARI)
Each of these three are at least 30 years old and have the ability to contribute to the team points’ total. As well as the forwards that were mentioned, these three defensemen have established themselves in the NHL and could provide the Bruins with both a household name and on-ice production.