Late in the 2016 campaign, the Boston Bruins looked like they were going to collapse down the stretch as they had done in recent seasons. However, the firing of coach Claude Julien and the hiring of assistant coach Bruce Cassidy lit a fire under this team. The Bruins finished the season 18-8-1 under Cassidy and found themselves back in the playoffs.
However, the Bruins could not overcome the rash of injuries, especially on the defensive end. The Bruins fell to the Ottawa Senators in six games, in a winnable series.
Despite the short postseason run, there were a lot of positives for the Bruins. The emergence of young stars such as Charlie McCavoy paints a positive future for the Bruins in 2017 and the years to come. With $10,468,332 in cap space, the Bruins have some room to make some deals in order to keep this team moving in the right direction.
Resign David Pastrnak
Pastrnak enjoyed a career year in 2016. The 25th overall pick in 2014 notched 34 goals and 36 assists. Pastrnak was lethal on the powerplay, scoring 10 goals with the man advantage. However, he will become a restricted free agent on July 1st and it is imperative that Don Sweeney and the Bruins management lock him up long term.
The Czech right winger is a bonafide superstar, giving the Bruins two elite goal scorers on the team. Brad Marchand being the other scorer. With the hiring of Bruce Cassidy, it’s reasonable to expect that the gifted offensive players on this team will flourish as they move away from Claude Julien’s defensive-first approach.
The aforementioned McAvoy, 14th overall pick in 2016, joins an already young group which includes Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug. Both of which missed the entire postseason. Carlo enjoyed a surprising rookie season alongside Zdeno Chara for the most the year. Unfortunately, he was unable to play in the postseason, but expect him to be on the top pairing with Chara next season.
It will be interesting to see who Coach Cassidy pairs with McAvoy next