2014 Boston Bruins Predictions and NHL Futures Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 9/24/2014
The Bruins won the President's Trophy last year for having the best record in the NHL, but not a single fan of the team cares. All they care about is that the team lost in the second round of the playoffs - and to their hated rivals from Montreal. It was a brutally-disappointing end to a season that should have seen them win the East - at least. Now they have to regroup and attempt to move further - and thanks to a very tight salary cap situation they have to do it with a team that is similar to last year's but arguably not quite as good.
Despite the success of the regular season last year, it had to really hurt the team to see Tyler Seguin succeed like he did in Dallas. The Bruins gave up on the young talent they drafted second overall because of attitude issues, but he bloomed into an elite offensive force with the Stars. The primary player they got in exchange, Loui Eriksson, had only 10 goals in 61 games and missed a lot of action due to a concussion. Given the team's struggles to score in the playoffs, the absence of Seguin was particularly significant. They need to get more production from Eriksson and elsewhere if they want to be able to take the next step forward.
Boston Bruins Offseason Moves
Jarome Iginla saw his career revitalized last year in his lone year in Boston, tying for the team lead in goals with 30. Cap space issues meant that the Bruins couldn't compete with the offer he got from Colorado, though, and he moved on. That's a big hole in the offense. Desperate to find production they can afford, the team has brought in two players off the scrap heap - Simon Gagne and Ville Leino for tryouts. Both guys have put up big offensive numbers in the past, but Leino was bought out by the Sabres after failing to score a single goal in 58 games last year, and Gagne couldn't even find a team to play for last season after his offensive output fell off a cliff. It would be a great story if either could make an impact, but real life is rarely a Disney movie.
Aside from Iginla, the departure of a couple of role players is a concern. Tuukka Rask is perhaps the best goalie in the league, so his backup is not particularly busy, but Chad Johnson was solid and now is with the Islanders. Johnson was good enough that Rask had to play only 58 regular season games. Now the team will be forced to rely on Niklas Svedberg, who has only one NHL game to his credit. Shawn Thornton was gritty and afraid of no one, and he will be missed as well.
David Pastrnak, a rookie in desperate need of a vowel, was the first-round pick in this year's draft. He was a long shot to make the team anyway, but a shoulder injury has limited his time in camp and made it unlikely that he will see the ice this year.
Boston Bruins NHL Outlook
This team is good. There is no doubting that. Their goalie is as good as there is. Defensively they are very sound - especially if Dennis Seidenberg can return strong from a torn ACL suffered last year. The loss of Iginla is a concern, but if Eriksson is healthy he will have more room to thrive. I never really like it when a team stands pat, but when the team is built as well as this one is it is not particularly a concern. This team was designed to succeed, and they will again thrive in the regular season - as long as Rask stays healthy.
Boston Bruins Schedule
Circle the sixth game of the season. That's when they travel to Montreal to play the Habs for the first time. That will be a nasty, hate-filled contest. Boston plays the night before in Detroit, so we will get a good sense of how tough and hungry this team is from how they respond to that challenge.
If things are tight at the end of the season then the schedule is not designed in Boston's favor. Ten of their final 15 games are on the road, and all of those road games are against conference rivals.
Boston Bruins NHL Futures Odds (from Bovada)
The Bruins are heavily favored to win the Atlantic Division - 8/5 compared to 4/1 for Tampa Bay - and the Eastern Conference - 3/1 versus 5/1 for the Penguins. They are not, however, favored to win the Stanley Cup - they are the co-second choice with the Kings at 10/1 but fall well behind the Blackhawks at 13/2.
2014-15 Boston Bruins Predictions
It's not hard to make a prediction here. The Bruins are very likely to win their division, have a good chance to win their conference, and will be a major Stanley Cup contender again. I am not convinced that any team in the East can beat the prime contenders from the West in a seven-game series, but Boston has the best chance of any unless Pittsburgh can finally find their stride again after years of frustration. This is a very legitimate team.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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