Can the Boston Bruins Still Rebound From Their Surprisingly Bad Start?

When Peter Chiarelli and his staff were constructing the 2014-2015 edition of the Boston Bruins roster, it’s safe to assume they expected more than what they’ve seen to date. Some might argue that the team didn’t expect to replicate their President’s Trophy campaign from last season, due in large part to the losses of Jarome Iginla and Johnny Boychuk, but the regression has been far worse than even the most critical observers could have anticipated.

Boston currently sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, one point out of a playoff spot. If you are looking for positives, the Bruins (along with the rest of the NHL) haven’t reached the halfway mark of the season yet, with just 37 games played. In that regard, there’s plenty of time to make up the gap separating the Bruins from a playoff spot.

Unfortunately, that’s really where the positivity and optimism ends. The Bruins have only had four winning streaks through 37 games, two of which lasted only two games. Their inconsistency has made it incredibly difficult to build any momentum in the early stages of this season. To make matters worse, the team has seen injuries up and down the lineup, a problem that has been largely avoided over the past five years. That’s not to discount the major injuries to Dennis Seidenberg, Marc Savard, or Nathan Horton, but rather to point out that these injuries were standalone injuries. This year, whenever someone has returned from an injury, someone else has gone down, making it more difficult to overcome their inconsistent play.

The Salary Cap

This is typically the point in the season where trade talks begin to pick up steam and deals start to become official. The Bruins have been active in recent years at the deadline, although their success rate has not been superb. This season, however, the Bruins are in a different situation. Instead of adding a piece to complete their roster, they appear to need a trade to shakeup their roster. The problem is that they are also in need of cap space. The cap space issue is twofold, as they need cap space to add a substantial player to their team, but also in the summer to re-sign a number of key pending free agents.

The Forwards

Boston Bruins Struggles Milan Lucic
Milan Lucic (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

Up front, the Bruins have struggled to replace Jarome Iginla’s goal scoring. They were the last team in the NHL to have a nine goal scorer, with Brad Marchand now leading the team with ten goals on the year. They are averaging just 2.60 goals per game, good enough (or bad enough) to be ranked 20th in the league. The duo of Milan Lucic and David Krejci have struggled, whether it be injuries (Krejci) or poor play (Lucic), the Bruins need more from them. To compound the lack of scoring, the Bruins, as a team, haven’t played strong defense, an area in which the team has excelled in recent years.

The Defensemen

Boston Bruins Struggles Dennis Seidenberg
Dennis Seidenberg

Defensively, the loss of Johnny Boychuk at the end of training camp definitely hurt. Unfortunately, that was only part of it. Dennis Seidenberg took longer to regain his pre-injury form, a setback that the team did not seem to anticipate. Shortly thereafter, the Bruins saw injuries to Adam McQuaid, Zdeno Chara, and Torey Krug. Shuffling a number of AHL defensemen through your roster is not a recipe for success, but when you’ve been one of the all-around strongest defensive teams in the league for a number of years, you’d hope that the drop-off would be somewhat mitigated. It was not, and the Bruins record has suffered. The Bruins are currently allowing 2.62 goals against per game, which is bad on its own, but worse when you consider that they are scoring fewer goals per game than they are allowing.

The Goalies

Boston Bruins Struggles Tuukka Rask
Tuukka Rask (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Tuukka Rask is in the midst of a down year, which has been magnified by the poor play in front of him. This is a season, perhaps more so than any in Rask’s career, where the Bruins need their goaltender(s) to steal a few wins. Thus far, that hasn’t happened, and there haven’t been any signs that it could. Niklas Svedberg has actually put together better numbers than Rask to date, but that might be a product of Rask’s poor play. If the rest of the team doesn’t turn it around fast, both goalies will need to improve their performance in a hurry, otherwise the Bruins might slip too far out of the playoff picture.

What do you think? Can the Bruins turn it around in 2015? Will they find themselves in the playoffs when the season comes to a close? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter.

8 thoughts on “Can the Boston Bruins Still Rebound From Their Surprisingly Bad Start?”

  1. I think if the offer is still on the table, the B’s should ink the deal for Oshie in exchange for Eriksson. Don’t let Oshie’s earlier injury and struggles this season so far in St. Louis bother you. The change of scenery will be good for both players and Oshie fits the system. With a bit of patience, the kid can get back to being that 20 goal scorer he has shown he can be, especially if matched with the right players. Oshie will also help make others on his line better. I also wouldn’t be so quick to deal Lucic. He is still young at 27 and if he can sort out his mental game, especially against teams like Montreal, he will be fine. You still have another year on his deal and if he isn’t producing and is demanding too much to stay with the team, then you can move on at that time. To free up cap space, you’ve got to dump players like Kelly. You might not get a lot back in return, but you might get a cheap prospect or two. In the meantime, you call up guys like Kochlachev.

  2. Bruins should trade RASK and try and resign Boychuk. The core of krejic Bergeron lucic Marchand and chara krug is solid. Hamilton miller and mcquaid are good dman. Subban is a good goalie prospect. I would trade Rask, Smith for Draft picks. Chara is on way down and has been a great player but I would see if he would Accept a trade.

  3. Storm
    The Bruins’s problem started way back after they won the Cup, they let go Ryder, he was a clutch player who would score when they needed it just like Horton and that was the beginning of negative trades, except for Iginla. The problem is Chiraelli, too much money to too many under performing players = no cap space. Letting go of Boychuck was the ultimate mistake, Rask is an OK goalie sure he got the Vezina but look at the defense he had in front, he’s no Thomas who could and would steel games when the team was having a bad game. Lucic is Bruins all over, give him a real rwing and watch the tranformation. Also the Bruins are playing nice, not like the REAL Bruins, in your face kind of playet,I guess Thornton was more to this team than they (administration) thought. The are now loaded with minuscule player that can squate but cannot through their weight around to much. They will maybe scratch their way into the playoff, but notjing more than a first round. In conclusion the Bruins are gone for a few years due to cap space and poor trading, imagine if they had been a little more tolerant of Seguin, the player play as if there pissed at management and should be. Get rid of PC and reduce the salary base so that there is breathing room in case of an emergency.

  4. Amazingly…the Bruins could EASILY start trending upwards…even go on a tear sooner than later. Chara seems the main concern among Bruins fans. Even before his injury, Chara was having a slow start. This MAY be one of two legitimate concerns about the Bruins. But until Chara works himself BACK to mid-season form…we just won’t know. Seidenberg’s been slowly regaining his skating…and is getting stronger on the puck every game. Miller too…while a lot of folks seem down on Miller, when he’s back in shape and doubling with McQuaid backing up Krug…he’s a pretty effective and ruggged dman. Then there’s Krug. NOBODY expected him to break a finger…and when he cam back no one expected the injury to affect his game so much.
    Krug’s starting to round into shape…
    Then there’s Krejci. Not only does the 1st line NOT have a right winger to replace Iginla…it hasn’t had a center most of the year. Whatever you might think of Lucic, he’s been playing with David Krejci most of his career…so it’s little surprise that without him he’s floundered…HUGELY. And the 4th line’s tires are COMPLETELY BARE…for some reason the Bruins’ braintrust figured they’d get thru the winter without changing them out…FAIL.
    So THIS is my recipe for Bruins success for the rest of the year:
    Be patient with Chara and Seidenberg. If we sneak into the playoffs…with both of those guys back on track and relatively fresh…the Bruins are already ahead of where they were last couple seasons. Call up Pastrnak. Keep Pastrnak. Install him on the 1st line with Looch and Krejch and muzzle Julien if you have to. Pasta brings too many elements this team desperately needs…NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH IS HIS INFECTIOUS LOVE OF THE GAME.
    Trade/DUMP the entire 4th line. Call up Khokhlochev, Spooner, and whoever plays best with those two. AGAIN…muzzle Julien when required.
    Dump Svedberg. Call up Subban. Show Rask what a goalie who can actually steal a game is like. If he simply can’t…then trade Rask…he’s a positional goalie that plays great in this system…but terribly if the system shows the slightest cracks. THIS distinguishes him not only from Tim Thomas…but EVERY OTHER VEZINA WINNER IN HISTORY.
    NEVER change the Soderberg, Eriksson, Kelly line…EVER.
    Once the Bruins start getting solid defense as Chara and Seids improve, and the forward balance of years past is restored and running on all spokes…just WATCH these Bruins soar!

  5. WE HAVE TO FACE IT , Bruins aren’t going no where lucky first round and there out they should trade Chara and Rask and get some good young players, top draft picks and be way under the cap so we can sign our good young ones and than we will bring the cup back home

  6. Spot on Rusty. I think they will put the “hard hats” on, go to work, and make the playoffs or bust. However, I think Rask is overpaid and under performing. 8 years at 7 million with a no-trade clause is going to really smell before its over. I can only imagine the RW, or D man, or both the Bruins could land without that up against the cap.

  7. I think the Bruins will get it together this year. My guess is a playoff spot somewhere 6-8 and maybe a second round appearance. Which might be considered a failure by some Boston sports fans, I would see it as a moderate victory for a club with a rough start to the season

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