Bruins look to remain Stanley Cup contenders after adding Smith


The Bruins (44-14-12, 0.714 percentage points), eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the Eastern Conference second-round best-of-7, have yet to make up for the start. of the defender. Torey krug, who signed a seven-year contract with the St. Louis Blues on October 9, and possibly the loss of the captain Zdeno Chara. The 43-year-old defenseman, who has played for Boston the past 14 seasons, is an unrestricted free agent, but the door has not been closed to return him to a more limited role.“No, we’ve communicated consistently with Zdeno and (Agent) Matt Keator again,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said on Oct. 17. “We’re just waiting for him to initiate what he would like to do to move forward. I feel very comfortable in allowing that to take the necessary time and let Zdeno… make the decisions along this road. ”

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The Bruins improved their depth up front by signing Craig Smith as a free agent. He’ll likely add points and solid two-way play on the third row, but Boston hasn’t made any other major moves. Although Sweeney has said he is always looking to add experience, he also said he expects young players and prospects to compete for ice time, especially at the start of the season. when the frontline attackers Brad Marchand (sports hernia) and David pastrnak (shoulder) everyone is still expected to recover from off-season surgery.

“As I mentioned before, we have a number of players knocking on the door and we would like them to keep pushing, both in our front and back group,” Sweeney said. “A little opportunity to grow in – we still have to figure out how the season is going, but we’re comfortable at some point, we’re going to be up and running, and our guys will be good to go. We always felt that we were going to need some internal growth. ”

Here’s what the Bruins look like today:

Key arrivals

Craig Smith, F: The 31-year-old signed a three-year contract on October 10 to provide an in-depth scoring. He scored at least 21 goals five times in nine seasons with the Nashville Predators and scored 31 points (18 goals, 13 assists) in 69 games last season. … Greg McKegg, F: The 28-year-old signed a one-year two-way contract on October 14. He played 185 NHL games with six teams. With the New York Rangers last season, he scored nine points (five goals, four assists) in 58 games.

Video: STL @ NSH: Smith buries a rebound to kick the score

Key departure

Torey Krug, D: Scored 49 points (nine goals, 40 assists) in 61 games to lead Bruins defensemen to fourth in Boston. He averages 20:29 regular season ice time, tied with Brandon Carlo third on the Bruins behind the defenseman Charlie McAvoy (23:10) and Chara (21:01), and had six assists in 13 playoff games.

At dawn

Trent Frédéric, F: The 22-year-old center has played 17 games for Boston over the past two seasons and is still chasing his first point in the NHL. He scored 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) in 59 games for Providence in the American Hockey League last season. … Jack Studnicka, F: The 21-year-old led Providence in goals with 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) in 60 games during his rookie season. He played five games with the Bruins in the playoffs and didn’t look out of place. … Urho Vaakanainen, RE: The 21-year-old was called up for five games with the Bruins last season, but didn’t score a point. He will be among those who will attempt to be part of regular roster after Krug leaves and Chara’s possible loss. … Jakub Zboril, F: The 23-year-old has been re-signed as a restricted free agent and is a candidate to be one of the last six forwards. He played the last three seasons at Providence, scoring 19 points in each of them.

What they still need

A power-play quarterback. That role was taken on by Krug, who scored 28 power-play points last season, including 26 assists for the Bruins. Pastrnak played the role at times last season, including during the playoffs, but he is out until February after undergoing right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on September 16, so the Bruins may look to go out of the organization to meet the need.

Fantastic focus

With two top 10 fantasy players, Pastrnak and Marchand, set to miss the start of the season, the forward Jake DeBrusk should take the next step for the Bruins. Featured as a fantastic sleeper contender in each of the past two seasons, DeBrusk can finally break through with elite center exposure. Patrice Bergeron. With a leading even-matched role and on the power play for a sure-fire fantasy team, DeBrusk is an obvious end-of-turn target. – Pete Jensen

Projected programming

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David KrejciOndrej Kase

Anders BjorkCharlie Coyle – Craig Smith

Nick RitchieSean KuralyChris Wagner

Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy

Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo

John MooreConnor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak


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