When the Boston Bruins made the playoffs last year, fans could have not been more satisfied.
Prior to the season, the chances of the Bruins gaining a playoff berth were slim to none. Making their opening-round series against Montreal stretch to seven games was also unexpected.
As the offseason comes around, the goal for NHL teams is not only to review the scouting reports come Draft Day, but also to see what players are available in free agency in order to make their team better in the neutral zone, the defensive zone and on the attack.
For the Bruins, the focus was on attacking and scoring.
This season, the Bruins have increased their offensive game by adding former Montreal Veteran Michael Ryder and Calgary star Stephane Yelle. Both of these players have explosive speed, and some of the best hockey sense there is in the new NHL today.
Throughout Ryder’s career, he has amassed a total of 102 goals, 113 assists, and a total of 235 points. Yelle has career totals of 96 goals and 174 assists for a total of 270 points.
With these additions to the Bruins offense, look for them to improve not only in five-on-five situations, but also on the power play and penalty kill.
Last season, Patrice Bergeron was not in the lineup due to a hit he took from the Flyers Randy Jones. This deflated the Bruins, because they had to call up guys from Providence and teach them the system Bergeron already had a grasp of.
I see the Bruins having a great regular season and advancing the playoffs past the first round with Ryder and Yelle added to the roster, and with Bergeron staying at 100 percent.
In the beginning, Bergeron could be a little out of it—but as soon as he finds his stride and regains his game I see the Bruins as one of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference this season.