(Image Via @Sportscenter Twitter)
When you search the hash tag “Bruins” on Twitter or Facebook, or go into a local bar or pub around the city of Boston, you’ll hear and read a lot of Bruins fans saying the same thing, “it’s time for the Bruins to blow it all up, to trade away everyone and to start over.”
I’m not one who is for light rebuilds, I have always been of the mindset you either go full tank mode, or go all in and make a run at the Cup. There is no worse spot to be in in the NHL then a bubble team, no lottery draft pick, maybe you’ll make the playoffs, maybe you wont, you certainly won’t win the Stanley Cup (Unless you are the LA Kings). That is the position the Bruins are in today, they are a bubble team with a future that doesn’t look to0 promising.
A light rebuild may be exactly what this team needs though.
The Bruins currently sit in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division with 66 points, if the season ended today, they would in fact be a playoff team. Facing off against the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs.
The Eastern Conference is very week this season, despite a powerhouse in Washington, no team really stands a chance of coming out of the east against the Capitals.
Could the Bruins squeak into the playoffs and potentially win a round of two? Absolutely. But this is Boston, we don’t play to win a round or two, we play to win Stanley Cups.
So the Bruins need to start over, because if Tuesday night’s 9-2 loss to the Kings showed us anything, it’s that the Bruins are far, far away for competing for a Stanley Cup.
By saying the team should “start over” I’m not saying the team should make very player on the roster available, I think Cam Neely, Don Sweeney and Co. need to identify who they want to rebuild this team around going forward and what assets they want to give up in return to do so.
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask. There is your core. When building a team it starts from the crease, out. Goaltending is tough to come by in this league, trading Rask could get you a haul, but keeping him until you have someone in the pipeline ready-to-go seems like the more logical thing to do.
37 and 63 are producing at an unbelievable rate, the team has waited for Marchand to break out and have his 30-goal season ever since he put up 28 in 11-12’, I can’t see the team parting ways from the dynamic duo, that is Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, especially after their product of work this season.
David Krejci is the only questionable “Core” player Don Sweeney needs to make a decision on. While in order to make a Stanley Cup run, a team needs at least two good centers. The Bruins have that in Bergeron and Krejci, but lets face it, David Krejci can’t stay on the ice and Ryan Spooner has done a damn good job filling his roll while Krejci has missed time. I think if someone blows you away on an offer, you have to listen and consider anything and everything. But for now, 46 is safe on this roster.
You might notice I didn’t mention Zdeno Chara as a core player or an untouchable. Chara, the corner stone of this team for the past decade, play is not what it used to be, the former Norris Trophy winner can stilll eat minutes for any team, but he is far from a number one defensemen anymore. The 39-year-old Chara is scheduled to make 6.9m next season, followed by a drop to 4m in 17-18, which may make him appealing to some teams. Zdeno Chara at 4 million bucks a year is a good deal no matter how old the guy is.
I don’t believe the Bruins should look to trade Chara at this seasons February 29th trade deadline, and should wait until the Summer to deal their captain.
Without Chara, this team would go into full tank mode, and while some fans may think that is the answer, I don’t believe it is. A package that includes Zdeno Chara, that brings back atleast a first round pick and maybe a prospect could benefit the franchise much more then a 40-year-old Chara at 6.9 million. You already have two first round picks in the upcoming draft, along with three first rounders from last season, adding more just increases your assets and gives you the ability to make a trade for an all star defensemen, in which the Bruins very much need.
Staying on the trade topic, Loui Eriksson is one who the Bruins absolutely have to trade at this years February 29th deadline. An Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of the season, Eriksson is will be looking for 5-7 years in the 5-7 million price range, a price the Bruins should not pay for the former center piece in a deal that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas.
A team will overspend for Eriksson at the deadline, it is a common theme in the NHL. Years past have seen Antoine Vermette dealt for a first rounder and Andrej Sekera for a first as well.
Package Eriksson at the deadline and either stock pile more assets, or get acquire a top 4 defensemen.
Don Sweeney and Cam Neely need to be creative at this year’s deadline and going forward. The team doesn’t have to completely buy or completely sell at the deadline, they need to stock pile assets and build for the future, whether that is with or without some of the corner stones of this franchise.
The Bruins need a light rebuild to turn this franchise around. The front office needs to build from the goalie out, and they need to start by building a defense like the one they had in 2011 that brought Boston a Stanley Cup.