Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask all have their names inscribed on the Stanley Cup as 2011 champions. Those five players are still on the team today, although they are aging and closer to the ends of their storied careers.
Many of the other current members of the Bruins roster were not even out of high school yet when that group hoisted the cup. David Pastrnak was barely 15. Charlie McAvoy was even younger than that.
Last season the team, veterans and young guns alike, and its legion of fans could practically taste the first Stanley Cup victory in eight years. That is, until those dreams were dashed in a bitter, stinging game-seven loss in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Looking to the Future
The current version of the Bruins started the 2019-2020 campaign like gangbusters. In addition, McAvoy and fellow young defenseman Brandon Carlo took team-friendly deals to re-sign with the Bruins not long after training camp began.
Charlie Coyle, who was a key piece of the 2019 playoff success, cemented an extension last month that will keep him in the Spoked-B for three more seasons. In addition, Danton Heinen and Connor Clifton signed new contracts in the offseason, and fan-favorite Chris Wagner also agreed to a multi-year extension in November.
Boston has a stockpile of young talent on the roster and even more developing in Providence and elsewhere. Still, many fans seem to think that if the Bruins do not win it all while Bergeron and his veteran teammates are still around, all hope will be lost for the foreseeable future. Looking at the drivers of the team’s recent success, that simply is not the case.
The team’s 2019 playoff run is an excellent example of what the younger players can bring to the table. Bergeron and Marchand struggled in most of the postseason, as did Pastrnak. Krejci and his linemates failed to make a significant impact as well.
Yes Rask was stellar, and probably the main reason the team went so deep into the postseason. However, the third and fourth lines, and the play of young defensemen, especially Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk, carried the team when the top stars were struggling. In fact, Charlie Coyle and Sean Kuraly were arguably the Bruins top offensive players through all four series.
This season, Anders Bjork has finally been healthy and is showing the team that he is indeed the rising star that everyone expected. Jake DeBrusk, who struggled during the postseason, seems to be returning to form as well.
The important thing is, these young players have all bought in to what the Bruins are trying to do. They say they want to stay together and win, and it starting to look like that is more than just lip service. They have benefited tremendously from the leadership of the veteran core and, of course, would love to win a cup alongside those beloved mentors.
If that can happen this season, before free agency and possible retirements will likely change the composition of the roster a bit, that would be the best-case scenario. However, there is no reason to believe that the changing of the guard sure to happen in the next few years will mean a decline in success.
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