5 Burning Questions for Boston Bruins' 2013-14 Season
The offseason brought a tweaked roster and a new division. Two franchise players (Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask) were signed to long-term deals.
Here are five burning questions heading into the 2013-14 season.
Will the Trade of Tyler Seguin Prove to Be Smart?
On Independence Day, the Bruins shipped oft-maligned youngster Tyler Seguin to Dallas for Loui Eriksson in a multiplayer deal.
The shocking trade came only weeks after Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said the center wing had to become more of a professional.
The No. 2 overall draftee in 2010, Seguin had signed a six-year contract with the team last September. But the Stars are now signing Seguin's checks, and the Bruins are signing Eriksson's.
The next few months will give a glimpse into the future of both Seguin and Eriksson. Will Seguin thrive in a smaller market with less pressure? Can Eriksson turn into a point-per-game player with loaded teammates around him?
Seguin will make his return to TD Garden on Nov. 5, 2013. How many times will the TV cameras pan up to Chiarelli's box?
How Will Tim Thomas Be Received in His Return to Boston?
Tim Thomas inked a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers and is now playing in the same division as the team he helped lead to the Stanley Cup in 2011.
After taking a year off from hockey, the 39-year-old former Vermont Catamount will be between the pipes on Nov. 7, 2013, when the Panthers make their first of three trips to Boston this season.
Will there be cheers for the Conn Smythe winner who brought Beantown its first Stanley Cup in 39 years? Or will it jeer the man who walked away from the fans who were crazy about him?
Will the Young Defensemen Continue to Grow?
Last season, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski all showed just how valuable they can be to the franchise.
While Hamilton lost his spot in the rotation in the playoffs, he had a great regular season, playing in 42 games. Krug had a record-setting start for a rookie with four goals in his first five playoff games. Bartkowski was solid and scored a goal in Game 7 against Toronto.
Bartkowski looks like he will start the season in Providence, with Hamilton and Krug staying in Boston.
Hamilton will get a top-four spot, and Krug will most likely be on the third defensive pairing. It will be interesting to see if Hamilton can get back to his form of last year's regular season and if Krug can continue to be an offensive spark plug from the bottom of the rotation.
Will Detroit Turn into a Rival?
The most logical choice to become a rival for the Bruins is another Original Six franchise.
Detroit has just as many stars as the the Bruins—Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard and Daniel Alfredsson to name a few. Its coach, Mike Babcock, has a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal. The Red Wings are one of hockey's most storied teams, and it would be great for the game if the Wings and B's could develop a rivalry in the new Atlantic Division.
Detroit and Boston played each other in the Stanley Cup Final twice in the 1940s, with each team winning once. Of course, that can't happen again, but could six meetings a season bring back some old-time hockey?
Fans should hope so.
Will the "Second" Time Be a Charm for Jarome Iginla?
He came so close to being a Bruin that this almost feels like the second time he has joined the club.
Chasing his first career Stanley Cup, the 16-year veteran believed Boston has the best chance to win. He has played well in the preseason on the first line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, and that should continue in the regular season.
If the Bruins advance past the Pens in the Eastern Conference playoffs, Iggy made the right choice. If not, then perhaps he should've spurned Beantown for a second time.