Monday, August 06, 2007

The Beantown Bears

Welcome to Boston. The new stylized "B" makes it on the jersey along with the patch with the bear on it. The Bruins acquired a bit more stability in net. There's a few new wingers for the talent down the middle to play with. It should be a year of renewal for the Bruins and possibly a playoff spot is in the cards as well.

Peter SchaeferMarc SavardGlen Murray
Marco SturmPatrice BergeronBrandon Bochenski
P.J. AxelssonPhil KesselChuck Kobasew
Shawn ThorntonMark MowersStanislav Chistov
Zdeno CharaDennis Wideman
Aaron WardAndrew Ference
Andrew AlbertsMatt Lashoff

Manny Fernandez

Tim Thomas

Let's start from the net and go out, shall we? When the Free Agent market opened up on July 1, the Bruins decided to make a trade, rather than make a splash with a signing. That was when they acquired Manny Fernandez from Minnesota to take the reigns as the number one goalie. For me, I don't know if Fernandez is the guy to be number one in Boston... Fernandez wasn't a great goalie when the Wild were poor defensively and well, Boston isn't terribly great in their own end. Saying that though, they will be better with some new faces, but I think Tim Thomas should end up being the main man before it's all said and done in Boston. Pool-wise, there is always a situation or two in the crease for teams that has some expectations of a goalie sticking around all season and ends up losing his job within 15 games. Boston could be one of them this year.

New faces from the trade deadline last February have transformed the Bruins blueline into something a little more formidable than the years previous. The acquisitions of Wideman, Ward and Ference at the deadline made for very little headlines last season, but if the Bruins are going to contend for a playoff spot, they'll be key pieces to that puzzle. Zdeno Chara obviously leads the charge for the blueline and still should have something in the tank that improves on his already back-to-back career years of 43 points. If Chara could hit the 60-point plateau, he would be very close to earning Norris Trophy honours and the Bruins could really push.

Up front, they've added some speed and grit. Schaefer and Thornton being added to the roster should make the Bruins a little harder to keep up with and a little harder a long the boards to play with. Already beaming with Savard, Bergeron and Kessel down the middle, the Bruins are not suffering for playmaking talent... they just need to find the perfect fits for each of them to put the biscuit in the basket. They have a great crop of wingers to play with the three pivots and it will be Claude Julien's job to find the perfect fits. I don't think it will be an overnight transformation, but Julien could put together a good program for this team that incorporates their speed in a transition game with a very responsible defensive program, which should help everyone succeed and notch a few more wins.

Cap-wise, they're a healthy $43.75 million (approx.) against the ceiling, which leaves them plenty of room to upgrade down the line. I don't think you should expect any more signings, unless it's within the system. The signing of Milan Lucic this past week should give them another winger that could jump into the main system soon or have a year or two worth of seasoning in the minors.

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