A promising 2020-21 season ended at the hands of the New York Islanders. Bruins fans looked to General Manager Don Sweeney knowing the holes Boston had. This offseason, it was his duty to fill them. With the 2021-22 NHL season within our grasp, the Bruins are one of the favorites to hoist the cup. How? They have one of the best teams on paper as Don Sweeney had gone all out and spent almost every last dollar they had on free agents to fill holes that needed filling. With the players they got, it’s boom or bust.
Let’s talk about the losses and what filled them. Most notable loss was David Krejci returning to the Czech Republic. An experienced second-line center that made players around him better, he will be missed. To fill his leadership role; enter Nick Foligno. The former captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets secured the bag from Sweeney and will be a perfect locker room presence to help Patrice Bergeron rally the boys.
Along with Krejci gone, Forwards Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase went into free agency without qualifying offers. Great move by Boston. Although Ritchie was awarded the Bruins seventh Man of the Year, he couldn’t keep his foot on the gas come playoff time. As for Kase, he’s just…not a producer. Have fun in Toronto, boys! Their replacements are by the likes of Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek. I liked these signings, both are producers who will most definitely maximize the depth scoring. As well as Stanley Cup finalists from the misfit Vegas Golden Knights of 2017. The offense needed a new look. These guys will bring it.
As for defense, Boston didn’t upgrade much. With the loss of Jeremy Lauzon to the Seattle Kraken, they quickly took Derek Forbort off the market. In a nutshell Forbort is known to be a shot-blocker, tallying over 100 blocks in an full season averaging 20 minutes a game. I asked Jets fans what Forbort was like and the reply was mostly the same; “bad offensively, but good defensively.” Here’s an in-depth description of Derek from a respected Jets mind in the hockey community; Jetscentric.
At Goaltender, The Bruins had traded Dan Vladar for a 3rd round pick to Calgary. There’s a mixed opinion about Vladar but I would’ve preferred to keep him. Take care of him, Calgary. More importantly, beloved Tuukka Rask’s condition is still uncertain. Sweeney acted fast and filled the possibility that Rask may never be his old self yet still open to his return. He said, “I think we’ve always left the door open for Tuukka to return.”. In the meantime enter 27 year old Linus Ullmark. The former Buffalo Sabres starter wasn’t exactly in the best situation. Although having 2 GAA (Goals Against Average) he held a consistent save average above .900 which is good. At backup, Jeremy Swayman will warm the bench and definitely help in back to back games. I don’t need to explain about Swayman, with the few games he played for Boston he led the league in GAA with 1.50.
Boston’s been considered a Stanley Cup Contender for majority of a decades span, but these recent teams especially have not had the firepower. We didn’t make a change, Sweeney has done that this year. It’s hard for a team to let go of some of it’s beloved, but it’s all for that glorious 35 lb cup of silver that Boston has a chance to hoist in 2022. This is….The Redeem Team.