2014-15 NHL team previews: Boston Bruins

2014-15 NHL team previews: Boston Bruins
August 26, 2014, 2:30 pm
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(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

As part of our summer series previewing the 2014-15 NHL season, CSNwashington.com is analyzing all 30 NHL teams, division by division. Today we continue with the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.

Today: BOSTON BRUINS

2013-14 record: 54-19-9 (117 points)

Where they finished: 1st in the Atlantic; 1st in the East; 1st in the NHL

Coach: Claude Julien (8th season)

Key additions: LW: Simon Gagne

Key subtractions: RW Jarome Iginla, RW Shawn Thornton, D Andrej Meszaros, G Chad Johnson

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Carl Soderberg - Chris Kelly - Jordan Caron

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Ryan Spooner

Extras: Alex Khokhlachev, Matt Fraser, Simon Gagne

Defense

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg

Dougie Hamilton - Johnny Boychuk

Torrey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Extras: Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller

Goaltenders

Tuukka Rask - Niklas Svedberg

Our take:  The Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in 24 years last season, but ultimately fell in a seven-game series against the Montreal Canadiens in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The good news for the Bruins is that much of the same roster returns from last season, including Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask, six-time Norris Trophy finalist Zdeno Chara, plus their entire second line (one of the best in the NHL) in Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith.

The bad news for Boston is that there are two notable exceptions who won't be returning, as right wingers Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton signed with Colorado and Florida with the Bruins up against the salary cap.

Iginla was tied with Bergeron with a team-high 30 goals last season and led the Bruins with eight game-winning goals. That productivity isn't easily replaceable, but Loui Eriksson [10 goals and 37 points in 61 games] will be counted on to help fill the void.

Eriksson is expected to replace Iginla as the club's No.1 right winger alongside top-line mainstays Milan Lucic [24 goals, 59 points in 80 games] and David Krejci [19 goals and 69 points in 80 games].

Thornton will also be a difficult act to follow as he spent years teaming with Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell to form one of the NHL's toughest fourth lines.

Veteran Simon Gagne could see time among Boston's bottom-six forwards should the 34-year-old make the team out of training camp.

Even with the [potential] addition of Gagne, the Bruins are reportedly still in the market for a veteran right winger, and could use a defenseman as a trading chip.

General Manager Peter Chiarelli has suggested that the Bruins could begin training camp with as many as nine NHL caliber blueliners [eight will be signed to one-way contracts]- a group that includes Dennis Seidenberg who is reportedly fully recovered from major knee surgery

Seidenberg has been mentioned as potential trade bait but the 33-year-old has a no movement clause.

Defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid are both slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Rask likely won't be going anywhere for a while, as enters the second season of an eight-year, $56M deal he signed in 2013.

The 27-year-old was a career-best 36-15-6 last season and led the NHL with seven shutouts.

The Bruins may also miss the services of backup goalie Chad Johnson [17-4-3, 2.10GAA, .925SV%] who signed a free agent deal with the Islanders. The Bruins will instead look to rookie Niklas Svedberg for spot starts.

Will they make the playoffs in 2014-15? Yes, the Bruins will make the playoffs for an eighth straight season.

Milestone watch: Patrice Bergeron is five points shy of 500 for his NHL career, which has been spent entirely with the Bruins.

Against the Capitals: Sat. Oct.11 at Boston; ; Sun. Mar.15 at Washington; Wed. Apr.8 at Washington