As the crisp autumn air begins to appear across New England, Bruins fans begin to possess the most helpless feeling in all of sports: hope. With each coming year, the optimism within the TD Garden shrinks as this aging Bruins core, combined with its depleted prospect pipeline, begins to show signs of wear. To make matters worse, a new regime was hired by general manager Don Sweeney to propel this team for one more Stanley Cup run before the inevitable rebuilding process begins in Beantown. Sure Don, that’s been our problem for the past five years.
I could write a full dissertation on how Don Sweeney and the Bruins’ Front Office has stalled this franchise’s title hopes, but that would be beating a dead horse. However, I do have some support for the coaching change, as Jim Montgomery might be the answer to unlocking a few prospects’ full potentials (Trent Frederic being one of them). Although Montgomery does bring some baggage over from his previous stint as a bench boss, his ‘softer’ approach to the game might be a breath of fresh air considering Bruce Cassidy wasn't exactly the most well-liked among the players.
Speaking of new faces, long-time Bruin David Krejci returns to hopefully add more goals among this top-heavy forward group. According to CapFriendly, Krejci is slated to be the second line center, which is worrying considering he’s on the wrong side of 35 and hasn’t exactly been a prominent goal-scorer since his early 30s.
On a more negative note, the Bruins begin the season with four of their top players on injured reserve. Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, Taylor Hall and Matt Grzelcyk are all on the shelf to start the season, and it’s estimated that McAvoy and Marchand won’t return until New Year’s. By my count, the Bruins are losing 221 points combined, as well as two of their top three defensemen. I wouldn’t say that the lineup they’ll roll out next week against the Washington Capitals will be frightening to play against.
While their playoff exit to the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes was disheartening, their chances to advance were slim to begin with. This team does not have enough depth to compete with the likes of Tampa, Carolina and other Eastern Conference juggernauts. Sure, the goaltending tandem of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark was stellar, with both having a save percentage above .910. However, goaltending can only take you so far on a playoff run; depth among the forward lines is the key to raising the Stanley Cup in June.
As I continue to glance at the composition of the 2022–23 Bruins, the season seems more like a high school reunion than anything else. Everyone just seems happy to be back with their old peers after a brief hiatus, but it’s more of a remembrance than a celebration. As of right now, I do not see this team as a playoff squad come April; they do not have enough reinforcements to compete in the Eastern Conference this season. It would not be shocking if they do sneak into the playoff picture, but no one in their right minds is looking at this team as playoff-caliber. Join me in remembrance this season of the 2010s Bruins dynasty because this Bruins season will break some hearts.