10/11/23 by Nick Antonakas
The 2023-24 Bruins aren’t the same team as last year, and a slew of questions surround their upcoming season.
The team is coming off one of their most disappointing ends to a season ever. After being crowned Presidents Trophy winners, they blew a 3-1 series lead to the bottom seeded Florida Panthers in the first round of the NHL playoffs.
To add to a frenzy of questions the squad faced in the off-season, two Bruins legends, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci hung up their skates.
The Bruins offense is where questions start to arise. With two well established centers in Bergeron and Krejci now retired, players within the system need to step up. With Pavel Zacha shifting from the wing to center and Charlie Coyle being propelled up from his third line role, the question stands if they’ll be able to perform. Beneath them are rookies Matt Poitras and John Beecher, two guys who made their mark in the preseason.
Now led by new captain Brad Marchand, the winger core in Boston remains solid. Playmakers like David Pastrnak and Jake Debrusk continue to make their presence known on top lines and a familiar face in Milan Lucic will slot into a fourth line checking role.
The Bruins’ defense –– a unit that fell apart in the playoffs last year –– look to bounce back this season. Led by Norris Trophy candidate Charlie McAvoy, Boston’s defensive lines look to reassert themselves as some of the NHL’s best.
While the personnel on the back end is extremely similar to last year, we could see changes throughout the season. Rookie Mason Lohrei had an outstanding preseason before being sent back down to Providence. With defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbot in the final years of their respective contracts, a trade could be made if standards aren’t met by the starters.
The Boston Bruins face off for the first time this season tonight against Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks, who upset the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on opening night. The puck drop at TD Garden is at 7:30 p.m.