Boston Bruins: NHL 2018/19 season preview

The Boston Bruins fell in the second round of the playoffs, but with lots of playoff experience and a great defensive core, they are primed for a playoff push.

Boston Bruins: NHL 2018/19 season preview
Boston Bruins season preview 2018-19 | Photo: hockeypngs.com/Ty Fisher vavel.com

The Boston Bruins had a good season in 2017/18. They had great seasons from Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Rookie Charlie McAvoy also made tremendous strides playing with captain Zdeno Chara for most of the season. They finished second in the Atlantic Division.

They defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round outlasting them in seven games. They went on to lose in the next round to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They won Game 1 on the road but lost the next four games.

They lost sophomore defenseman Brandon Carlo to injury during the series and also Torey Krug had an injury. They have a team that has playoff experience and could be primed for a run at the Stanley Cup.

Offseason additions

The Bruins had a few minor moves but did nothing to affect the long-term core of their franchise. They re-signed captain Zdeno Chara for one-year at $5 million. He is the leader of the team and also helps the growth of their young defense core.

They signed John Moore from the New Jersey Devils for $13.75 million over five years. Anton Khudobin left the team and they signed Jaroslav Halak as the new backup goaltender. He played for the New York Islanders last season and split time as the team's starter. Chris Wagner was also signed to a one-year contract from the Anaheim Ducks.

Sean Kuraly was re-signed with a three-year deal and he should occupy the third-line center role for the team. Boston also lost Rick Nash whom they acquired at the trade deadline. He is still a free agent and is undecided on his future hockey plans.

The majority of the moves were for depth purposes. The top tier players are big producers and they still have many players from their 2011 Stanley Cup victory.

Projected lineup

Forwards:

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake Debrusk - David Krejci - David Backes

Anders Bjork - Noel Acciari - Danton Heinen

Ryan Donato - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner

Extra forward: Joakim Nordstrom

Defenseman:

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Brandon Carlo - Torey Krug

John Moore - Kevan Miller

Extra defensemen: Adam Mcquaid, Matt Grzelcyk

Goaltenders:

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Best case scenario:

- Patrice Bergeron has another Selke Trophy type season and remains the best two-way center in hockey.

- David Pastrnak eclipses 40 goals for the first time and becomes a power play specialist.

- Tuukka Rask continues his solid play and gives the team a chance to win every night.

- Charlie Mcavoy takes another step forward and becomes a leader of the team and has a great plus/minus rating.

Worst case scenario:

- Patrice Bergeron's many injuries catch up to him and he has a down season, or a new injury keeps him off the ice.

- Zdeno Chara (40) has no gas left in the tank and becomes a liability for the Boston Bruins.

- The young kids for the Bruins do not produce like last season and the depth of the team is exposed.

Prediction

The Bruins are one of the best teams in the NHL. They have the best line in hockey and their depth pieces fit in well.

They have Bergeron and Marchand at a very good price and it frees them to spend elsewhere. They have about $3 million in cap space which will make it difficult to go after a big name at the trade deadline to load up for the playoffs.

I see them finishing second in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay has a loaded roster, and they will compete with them all season long. The Toronto Maple Leafs have also improved and it will make for an entertaining division.

This team fell in the second round last season and I'm sure they are looking for more. The team will be motivated to win another Cup for Zdeno Chara in possibly his last season in the NHL. It is going to be good!

Do you agree with my prediction and where do you see the Bruins finishing in the East? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to give us a follow on Twitter by searching (VAVELNHL_ENG).