Last season, the Boston Bruins were lead by their youth movement. Next season will be no different as the Bruins system is stacked for years to come. Last season saw the debuts of Ryan Donato, Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, and Matt Gryzelcyk. All four players showed that they could play at the NHL level, which is partly why the Bruins have not been active on the trade front this offseason.
Returning to the playoffs next year will be no easy task. The Maple Leafs have improved, Tampa Bay is still very good, and the Florida Panthers could be a sleeper playoff team. The Bruins still have the one of the best young cores in the NHL, ready to lead them again next season.
Stanley Cup Core
The Bruins Stanley Cup core from 2011 still remains. They are not in their primes but have meshed perfectly with the Bruins young players. The Bruins top line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron is one of the best lines in hockey. Bergeron battled injuries last season, but he is still one of the best centers in the league. Zdeno Chara is not the player he once was but he is the perfect mentor for young players, such as Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy. David Krejci battled injuries last year, but played well with Jake DeBrusk when healthy. What made the Bruins so good last season was how the veterans and young players came together.
Bruins Youth Movement
The 2018-2019 season could see the debuts of more Bruins top prospects. That list includes Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jakub Zboril, and Zach Senyshyn. All three players are on the Bruins roster and will be looking to make their case in camp. The Bruins will have Trent Frederic, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jack Studnicka, and Jeremy Lauzon in Providence. They still need more experience, but could be contributors at the NHL level in the near future.
The Bruins are not only set for years to come due to their depth in Providence. They have David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand under club control for the next five years on team friendly deals as well. They re-signed center Sean Kuraly this offseason to a three year deal worth $1.2 million per year. It will be hard for the Bruins to re-sign everyone especially starting next offseason. Both McAvoy and Brandon Carlo will be free agents. The McAvoy deal will be more expensive than Carlo, as no one else on the Bruins roster affects the game like McAvoy does. Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato who will also be restricted free agents at the end of next season.
Donato and Heinen will not be as expensive to resign as McAvoy. Donato will most likely receive a “prove it” deal, similar to that of Matt Grzelcyk, as he will only have one full season of NHL experience. Jake DeBrusk won’t be a free agent until the 2020-2021 offseason, but he is already key to this team.
The Bruins will have to be creative to keep their young core together. Although it will not be easy, the Bruins have the advantage. Not every prospect will pan out and some could be used as trade chips. Don Sweeney has the one problem every GM only dreams of.