Extracting Value From the Rebuilding Boston Bruins

With the Patriots success without Tom Brady and the Red Sox on their way to the match, expectations for New England’s hockey team will be extremely high — and unless they overachieve, Bruins backers will more than likely be disappointed with the merchandise Cam Neely has built for the upcoming season. Expect head coach Claude Julien’s buttocks to be implanted firmly in the hot seat this year because his job safety may be in question when the Bruins fail to make the playoffs for the third straight year.
Boston missed the playoffs by only three points a year after finishing a respectable 93 points but made a few improvements into a roster with more than its share of rust. Zdeno Chara is far from the Norris winner that he was as he’s now on the wrong side of 40 and Tuukka Rask made serious regressions at a 2015-16 effort that saw him finish outside the top 20 in save percentage.
If this team is to succeed, it will have to score and score a lot, something I’m not sure it’s capable of. Past the first line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes — who had a combined 90 goals and 173 points in 2015-16 — there is not a ton of goal-scoring experience on this roster. The projected second and third lines for Boston combined to score only 73 goals for their respective teams last season.
Stanley Cup +2500
The main question here is really this — can a group with a single strong line, no protection and a struggling Tuukka Rask make the playoffs and win four straight seven-game series? I have some serious doubts and unless Rask yields to Vezina form, this still-rebuilding team has essentially no chance to win a second Cup this year.
Another hit to the Bruins’ Stanley Cup chances is that only one team in the past twenty years has missed the playoffs and then proceeded on to win the Cup the next year.
Eastern Conference +1200
For almost a decade, if you wanted to gauge how your team piled up at the Eastern Conference, you used the Bruins as a benchmark. They earned conference titles in 2010-11 and 2012-13 and maintained stacking their system by trading celebrities like Joe Thornton, Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin. This paradigm, however, has changed as Boston is currently rebuilding and attempting to shed some of their dead weight now holding down the team.
Making the Stanley Cup final and winning a third conference title in the last seven years will have a miraculous run that I am not sure this group is up for.
Atlantic Division +650
The Tampa Bay Lightning will be the complete class of the Atlantic Division right now and it’s going to be a hard task for any team — let alone the Bruins — to finish the season ahead of Steven Stamkos and the Bolts.
Boston’s final division title came back in the 2013-14 season when the Bruins finished atop the Atlantic in the first year of the most recent division realignment that saw that the Detroit Red Wings join the Eastern Conference. The Bruins also finished the season with the most points in the league this year, earning the Presidents’ Trophy — that’s something this team will not be doing.
Point complete OVER/UNDER 93.5
BetOnline appears to be directly on the ball with those OVER/UNDER point totals and I haven’t really found any that I really love or see much value gambling. As previously mentioned, Boston had just 93 points annually and didn’t find much tangibly worse or better in almost any category. If you put a gun to my head, I would say UNDER due to the parity I feel will exist one of the teams fighting for the wild-card playoff places this season.
Brad Marchand to Fight the League in Goal Scoring +2500
Boston will somehow need to make up for the 30 goals they lost if Loui Eriksson signed with the Vancouver Canucks in the offseason and Brad Marchand could be the beneficiary. It’s a clear long shot with guys like Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin still in their primes, but Marchand ended sixth in the Maurice”Rocket” Richard Trophy race last season with his career-high 37 goals just 13 back of Ovi’s league-leading 50 and he’s still playing alongside elite playmaker Patrice Bergeron, who appears to improve every year.
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