Above Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com
By: Mark Allred Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
The Boston Bruins are currently on a four-game losing streak with a loss on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paint Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania earlier this evening and looking at the next two games ahead, it certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to be any better. This week’s games will have the Detroit Red Wing visiting Boston on Tuesday night and the Penguins who beat up on an effortless B’s team today coming to the TD Garden on Thursday night.
#NHLBruins fall 5-1 to the Penguins.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 22, 2017
Now I’m not one for writing articles about trashing my beloved team, but I have serious concerns about our beloved Bruins and their efforts on home ice and in front of hard working paying fans/season ticket holders. The B’s are currently on a two-game winless streak at home but what’s more frightening is when you look at the games left in the 2016-17 NHL regular season campaign and see the Bruins will be playing 19 of the remaining 32 games at the TD in Boston. As all Bruins fans know this organization in the past few seasons has had a tough time when returning home.
The Bruins and their home woes seemed to trend downward after going 31-7-3 in 2013-14 which would be the last time this franchise has been involved in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Following that year the B’s went a respectable 24-10-7 in 2014-15, then hit a brick wall in 2015-16 when the team had a pathetic under .500 record (17-18-6). This season the team is 10-12-0 on home ice and on the path to be even worse than last year.
With the lack of motivation to make changes that many seem necessary, Don Sweeney and other members of management seemingly want to stand firm and ride out the year to not push the panic button and risk key members of this team’s future. The Bruins prospects in the lower levels of development are mere years away from breaking out as many of them will be operating on low-risk entry-level deals creating valuable cap space to have the flexibility to afford a decent player as this franchise continues the rebuild.
Additions By Subtractions Approach In The Future?
With the Bruin likely walking away from defensemen like John-Michael Liles and Joe Morrow at the end of this season and keeping the team’s obligation with Captain Zdeno Chara for another year, this organization could make some impressive additions with younger talent. This would be a great time to promote defensemen currently with the AHL’s Providence such as Matt Grzelcyk or Rob O’Gara or blueliners that are eligible for the AHL or NHL next season, like Jeremy Lauzon or Jakub Zboril. These young defensemen that are knocking on the door of the NHL are going to put General Manager Don Sweeney and organization in a tough spot with the extensions given to vets Adam McQuiad and Kevan Miller. Let’s not forget about 2016 Bruins draft pick Charlie McAvoy and where he could end up as he’s in his sophomore season close by at Boston Universtiy.
Now the offense in the future is certainly going to be interesting as the team will most definitely say good-bye to forward Jimmy Hayes as he’s got one more year left on his deal but can be bought out after this season fro a mere $816,000. Do you resign Dominic Moore whos’s added a nice touch to the fourth line? Has Tim Schaller and Austin Czarnik earned more time in the NHL? What do you do with Ryan Spooner as the pending extensions of young forward David Pastrnak is set to begin contract negotiation at the end of this season? Is Riley Nash deserving of a buyout at the end of the year over Jimmy Hayes at his walking number could be under a million? All questions that will be addressed in the coming time but the future is something to be noticed now.
Looking at the forward depth players such as Peter Cehlarik, Sean Kuraly, Anton Blidh, Danton Heinen, and even Jake deBrusk who’s been playing decent lately all have shots at an NHL roster spot during the team’s annual training camp every September. Not to mention forward prospects Jesse Gabrielle and Zach Senyshyn who are officially eligible for the AHL and NHL next season as both are currently playing their last seasons of Canadian Junior Hockey.
Relax My Friends………. Easier Than Said Than Done
With all this being said, Yes I understand the fans and the passion to win now, but I think this Bruins organization is going to need 3-5 years to build a solid team like the one that brought the team the Stanley Cup in 2011. Embrace the youth coming into the system and have patients as these young men develop the skills needed to be ultimate professionals in the world’s best league.