Boston Bruins: Plans for a Huge 2008-09 Season, and Big Changes

Jeremy Krantz@@JeremyKrantzCorrespondent IMay 19, 2008

It was announced just a few days ago that the Boston Bruins have resigned one of their players, Chuck Kobasew to a new, multi-year contract, enabling them to secure the 26-year-old right wing.

Along with that, they have also started to work on some new contracts for players like Ward, Wideman, Metropolit and Stuart. In addition to securing their talent like they have, a few tweaks could hopefully enable the Bruins to pull off another playoff stunt.

The team had a great year despite a few shakes here and there, and after slipping into the playoffs using their eighth position, they nearly took out the top-seeded Montreal Canadiens. They took them to seven games before getting crushed and shutout 5-0 in the Game 7.

No one could have excepted the Bruins to get that far in the series, and this has enabled people to get a closer look at the hidden potential that they have.

First off is Chuck Kobasew, who had a career-best season, featuring a total of 22 goals and 17 assists for a total of 39 points. Not bad, considering it was his first full season with the team—he's due for another exceptional year, which could be made even better with the return of center and leader Patrice Bergeron.

Speaking of which, Patrice Bergeron, who only played 10 games last season before suffering a third degree concussion, will be returning in full strength next season. He'll hopefully be able to put on the weight he lost during his recovery process.

Rumors were he had lost a good 20 pounds, but, being the person that he is, putting them back on won't be too much of a problem for.

Another key player who really shined before and during the playoffs, and who had the entire town of Boston on their feet in excitement was none other than Milan Lucic. The 19-year-old winger really stepped it up before and through the playoffs, helping cycle the puck, kill the penalties, hit when needed, and protect some key plays and turnovers.

He was one of the reasons the team performed at a much higher level and has developed quite a following despite his young age.

But enough about the offense, let's talk turkey. Huh...I mean defense.

Zdeno Chara has been, as most of you know, the main actor on stage when it came to the defense, but also did have a devastating slap-shot which came in handy at times.

Expect to see the same amount of ice-time for the Norry Trophy contestant next season, as the tallest player in the NHL continues to help prevent opponents to score.

Helped by Wideman, Hnidy, Stuart, and Ward, the team did a great job with killing penalties, but seemed to often get intimidated by their opponents (who outhit them in games and scored first many times, making the team having to come back from behind).

One of the anticipated changes that most fans should except to see will affect Glen Murray, who will either be brought down to Providence or won't start on the main line. He had a horrible season and shouldn't have started as many times as he did through the season's waning days.

Players like Ference will need to play a lot smarter, and despite Manny Fernandez being a bust, Tim Thomas will have to step it up a notch if he doesn't want to be replaced by the upcoming prospect, Tuuka Rask from Finland.

Rask is, according to many scouts, the best goalie prospect in the league and Thomas has been quite shaky, mostly playing on emotions. He has proven to be quite shaky in many situations despite the defense's best efforts.

Then comes a critical change which the Bruins must perform and which they started to do, in the late season, much too late—that is to score more.

As most followers have noticed, the team doesn't have too many games with two or more goals scored, and, this being an ongoing problem, they will hopefully find a remedy to this issue.

One possible rumor was for Marion Hossa from the Pittsburgh Penguins to be traded over to Boston to take on the sniper role, but that's unlikely now as the Penguins head into a possible Stanley Cup championship.

Regardless of what they do, coach Claude Julien will have a plan, and the young, developing players now have very valuable experience, which should make for a great, exciting season.

Time will tell.


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