This is part of Boston Bruins day at PHT…
The Boston Bruins were able to add a quality veteran this off-season, as they signed David Backes to a long-term contract.
The addition of Backes gives the Bruins another quality forward on their depth chart, but it didn’t solve their biggest need.
Since the end of the 2015-16 season, Boston’s front office has been openly talking about the need to add a transitional defenseman. Unfortunately, the off-season plans fell through.
“We know that it’s an area that we need to improve upon,” team president Cam Neely said in April. “That’s probably at the top of the list.”
St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk was reportedly available via trade, but the Blues haven’t parted ways with him. Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski, who were both scheduled to become free agents, never hit the market and signed elsewhere.
So, where do the Bruins go from here?
Unless they can swing a deal soon, they’ll have to ride with the players they have.
Zdeno Chara isn’t the player he once was.
The 39-year-old is still effective and can contribute, but the heavy workload he’s accustomed to might be too much for him to handle.
Torey Krug, who signed a four-year, $21 million extension with Boston earlier this off-season, will be the team’s go-to puck mover. The 25-year-old scored four goals and 44 points last season and the B’s will either need him to replicate those numbers or improve them.
The Bruins have missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. On both occasions, they were knocked out in the final weekend of the regular season. If they want to take the next step and make the playoffs (and maybe go a round or two), they’ll need to address their defense.
Most of the teams in the Atlantic Division have a puck-moving defenseman that can provide offense from the back end. The Bruins have Krug and Chara, but where do those players stack up against some of the defenseman in the division?
The Lightning have Victor Hedman, the Panthers have Aaron Ekblad, the Canadiens have Shea Weber, the Ottawa Senators have Erik Karlsson, the Red Wings have Mike Green, the Sabres have Rasmus Ristolainen and the Maple Leafs have Morgan Rielly.
Yea, the Bruins need some work.