(Disclaimer: The season being over still hasn't hit me, please forgive my rambling)
If you told me in October when I wrote my Bruin's season preview that the Bruins would not make the playoffs come April, I would have laughed in your face. I thought the Bruins were destined to do great things, instead all they did was disappoint. I got a bad taste in my mouth as soon as they shipped off Boychuk, why is Chiarelli sending away a key player and great defenseman? I know it was because of cap space, but come on, there must have been someone else they could have dealt (cough cough Seidenberg). As soon as Chiarelli did that, I could tell that he wasn't worried about worrying anytime soon. Krejci spent a large portion of the season on the sidelines with multiple injuries. That hurts a team when one of your most gifted scorers/players can't play. The already declining Chara also suffered an injury which sidelined him for quite a bit. Although Chara's play has declined greatly, it got even worse when he came back from the injury that probably should have been fixed with surgery. As soon as the Bruins lost Chara their blue line got quite a bit thinner (maybe Boychuk could have helped this). There were lots of young guys back there that had to step up and play an even bigger role. You had guys like McQuaid and Seidenberg playing a lot of minutes. After Jarome Iginla left Boston the last off season, there were a lot of questions about who would replace him as the first line right winger, I hung my hat on the hopes that Loui Eriksson would finally step up and be the 65+ point scorer that he was in Dallas and stop being an absolute bum. I think he never bounced back from those concussions. It's a shame because I had really high hopes for him when he came over in the Tyler Seguin (gently weeps) deal. The part that drives me the craziest about this season is that Claude Julien stuck with Gregory Campbell and Danielle Paille for so long, yes I realize that they used to be some of the 4th line grinders in the league but those days are long gone. As it was announced today, neither player will be returning to Boston. I think these two guys should have been sat along time ago for some younger fresher guys, maybe I wouldn't be writing a season recap blog on April 13th if that was the case. For some reason the Bruins have this awful habit of not giving younger guys a chance (See: Matt Fraser, Craig Cunningham) and sticking with these old dudes who weren't doing anything. I suppose a silver lining to this season was the rise of Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak towards the end of the season. They were on a line with Lucic which I think added a little grit to the line and proved to be quite effective. Spooner had 18 points in 29 games and Pastrnak had 27 points in 46 games. Pasta didn't really hit his stride until he was paired up with Spoons and Looch. Watching 88 play was 100% the highlight of the season for me, every time he was on the ice for a goal he absolutely lit up and was like a child. I think the Bruins could have used some more of that, most guys look like they've seen a dead body when they score. Hockey is supposed to be fun, right? Speaking of Lucic, he was absolutely TERRIBLE this year, god awful. Registering only 44 points in 81 games, what are you doing bro? That's a 15pt drop off from last season. There are A LOT of rumors of exploring trade options for Lucic which I don't agree with. I think you give him another year and then maybe then see what you can get for him. I think he still has a lot of great hockey left in him if he starts to play 110% again. Towards the end of the season Kevan Miller also got hurt which was another blow to the blue line. Miller is a super solid stay at home defenseman that plays a gritty tough game.
Some guys that I think the Bruins need to get rid of are Reilly Smith, who was so god damn bad this year. He scored 40pts in 81 games and could never catch his stride. Maybe he wouldn't be bad on the third or fourth line but by no means is he a first or second liner. I would love to see the Bruins get rid of him. Carl Soderberg is another guy that I would like to see the Bruins not bring back. He's a free agent this summer and I see absolutely no reason for them to bring him back. He was another unbelievably mediocre player for the Bruins this season. I hope the Bruins don't bring back for 2015-2016 season is Dennis Seidenberg, god damn I hate him. He contributed basically nothing to the Bruins this year and just constantly messed everything up. Not only does Seidenberg suck on defense but he's also awful at offense too, he got only 14pts in 82 games. The last guy I want the Bruins to get rid of is Chris Kelly. I absolutely HATE Chris Kelly. He put up 28 points in 80 games this year and 18pts in 57 games last year. That's so god damn bad. How do you keep a guy like that around and none the less let him be an assistant captain. If the Bruins didn't announce today that Gregory Campbell and Danielle Paille were leaving they would be on this list too. Hopefully the Bruins get rid of these guys and can replace them with some players that will actually make an impact.
Some other free agents this summer are Dougie Hamilton which they absolutely need to resign. If Dougie can add some grit to his game I think he'll become an even better player, he's already awesome and that will just add another element. Hamilton is becoming more and more of a key player for the Bruins and I have loved seeing him progress. Adam McQuaid is another free agent this year that I would like to see the Bruins bring back. McQuaid isn't an all star player by any means but he brings a good tough/ defensive aspect to the game that they definitely need. McQuaid is never afraid to drop the mitts and do whatever it takes to help his team. Ryan Spooner will also be a free agent this summer and after his successful season I expect the Bruins to bring him back. He's young, quick and has a knack for scoring goals. Matt Bartowski will also be a free agent this summer who I could see going either way, he could be a good depth guy but by no means should he be in the top 6. Brett Connolly will also be a free agent who I know the Bruins will resign since they just acquired him in a trade with the Lightning.
Looking forward I hope that the Bruins make some trades and acquire some free agents to make their team younger and more offensively gifted. It will be interesting to see what Charlie Jacobs does about Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli, earlier in the season Jacobs stated that not making the playoffs was "absolutely unacceptable" and "incredible failure" so I'm not sure what's going to happen. I wouldn't be too surprised if they each got another season to see if they can straighten things out. I would be pretty disappointed to see Julien go but I would not mind one bit if Jacobs got rid of Chiarelli. I for one am sick of him and would love to get a new GM in there. Thinking about what he's messed up makes me angry every single time. Hopefully Charlie Jacobs gets rid of Peter Chiarelli and keeps Claude Julien. If Claude can tweak the system a little so they're a little more offensive I think the Bruins could be great again. While this is a step back for the Bruins, I don't think it's a huge step back. It could end up helping them in the long run. I think it's time for the Bruins to let Patrice Bergeron wear the "C". I could live with them trading Chara and I think Bergeron needs to take over the leadership role.