For the past month, the Bruins have significantly plateaued. They went from having multiple five-plus games, winning streaks to losing just about every other game. They have been blowing leads by making undisciplined mistakes in front of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Along with having major defensive breakdowns against teams they should be outplaying by miles. And furthermore, they’re not producing enough offense.
After dropping the last 60 minutes of the Stanley Cup Finals to the St. Louis Blues back in June, the Bruins management got to work by signing some great deals. Brandon Carlo was resigned as a restricted free agent for 2 years at $2.85 million a year. Charlie McAvoy signed a 3 year deal at $4.9 million a year. Zdeno Chara was also re-signed before the postseason for $2 million a year, with $1.75 million performance-based incentives.
Both Chara and Carlo have been worth every penny of their new contracts. Brandon Carlo has significantly stepped up his game this season. He is truly living up to his hype of being a complete shutdown defenseman. Zdeno Chara is 42 years old and in better shape than most of us will ever be. But Charlie McAvoy has had a challenging season, hardly producing any points.
After the 2019-2020 season concludes, the free agent list will consist of Jake Debrusk, Torey Krug, Joakim Nordstrom, Brett Ritchie, Jaro Halak, Matt Grzelyck. Ritchie is a rental and most likely will not be back next season. Halak, Grzelyck, Krug, and Coyle will probably all be re-signed. Jake Debrusk has had a tough last few games, earning himself a front-row seat in Bruce Cassidy’s dog house. Another player that has been in and out of the dog house is Danton Heinen.
The question still remains; What is Cassidy going to do? The Bruins have been on the market for a second-line right-winger since 2013. Rick Nash stepped in for a little bit as well as Marcus Johansson. Charlie Coyle has also stepped up to the position when needed, but he is not naturally a winger. He doesn’t blend well with David Krejci. Anders Bjork has also tried his hand to the right of Krejci, but it is his off-wing. So what will happen at the trade deadline? Will Bruce Cassidy request the management to make a few massive changes or move around smaller pieces?
There is always the option to bench Debrusk until further notice or demote him to the third line. Bjork could quickly fill his shoes in the second line left winger position. Other than that, that is all Cassidy will be able to do unless Don Sweeney makes a couple of trades. Sweeney could always package Debrusk in a trade if he has a sudden burst of energy in the next week or so. Heinen could also be packaged, too, for that matter. If Sweeney were to package both of them plus a second and third-round draft pick, they might be able to get something big for them. That might be giving away a bit much, but the Bruins really need to start thinking about the future. Rental right-wingers clearly aren’t working anymore, and there needs to be a permanent solution. Only then can we expect to see the Bruins make a push for the postseason.