After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the Boston Bruins:
2020-21 season: 33-16-7, third in MassMutual East Division; lost in second round of Stanley Cup Playoffs
Linus Ullmark, G: The 28-year-old was 9-6-3 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 20 games for the Buffalo Sabres last season, missing time with a lower-body injury. He will team with rookie Jeremy Swayman in net after signing a four-year contract July 28. … Nick Foligno, F: The 33-year-old scored 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 49 games last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs. He signed a two-year contract July 28. … Erik Haula, F: The 30-year-old scored 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 51 games for the Nashville Predators last season. He signed a two-year contract July 28. … Tomas Nosek, F: The 30-year-old also signed a two-year contract July 28 after scoring an NHL career-high 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 38 games for the Vegas Golden Knights last season. … Derek Forbort, D: The 29-year-old scored 12 points (two goals, 10 assist) in 56 games for the Winnipeg Jets last season. Forbort will be a key addition to the penalty kill, helping to replace defensemen Kevan Miller (retirement) and Jeremy Lauzon (selected by Seattle Kraken in 2021 NHL Expansion Draft), after signing a three-year contract July 28.
Tuukka Rask, G: Rask, who has the most wins in Bruins history (306), remains an unrestricted free agent. Although there’s still a chance he could re-sign with Boston after going 15-5-2 last season, he will be out until at least January because of a torn labrum in his hip that required surgery. … David Krejci, F: One of the few holdovers from the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup championship team, Krejci announced July 30 that he would be leaving the NHL to play in his native Czech Republic, later joining HC Olomouc. Krejci scored 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists) in 51 games last season and 730 points (215 goals, 515 assist) in 962 games over 15 seasons with Boston. … Kevan Miller, D: He retired from the NHL on July 14 because of injury concerns. In seven NHL seasons, all with the Bruins, Miller scored 71 points (13 goals, 58 assists) in 352 games. … Jaroslav Halak, G: He signed a one-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks on July 28 after he was Rask’s backup the past three seasons. He was 9-6-4 with a 2.53 GAA, .905 save percentage and two shutouts in 19 games last season, missing time while in NHL COVID-19 protocol. … Sean Kuraly, F: The Dublin, Ohio, native signed a four-year contract with the Blue Jackets on July 28. Kuraly played his first five NHL seasons for the Bruins and scored nine points (four goals, five assists) in 47 games last season.
On the cusp
Jack Studnicka, F: The 22-year-old had seven assists in 11 games for Providence of the American Hockey League last season and three points (one goal, two assists) in 20 games with the Bruins.
What they still need
A second- or third-line center. Because of Krejci’s decision to return to the Czech Republic, what was once a strength of the Bruins has become a weakness. They will try Charlie Coyle between Taylor Hall and Craig Smith on the second line to start, but Coyle didn’t have his best season in 2020-21, scoring 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 51 games, so Boston may need to upgrade if it wants to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup.
They said it
“We’ve seen it over the years when guys move on that have been here a long time, the [Torey] Krugs, the [Zdeno] Charas, the next guy has to come up and deliver and keep the ball rolling. Not only at center, but at the goaltender position we’re going to have that ask. That’s the exciting part of this year, we’re going to have some new people we’re relying on. We feel they’re up to the task. Time will tell.” — coach Bruce Cassidy
One of five teams with two goalies ranked among NHL.com’s fantasy top 25 (along with the New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs), Boston’s goaltending team of Ullmark and Swayman carries collective fantasy sleeper upside with Rask recovering from hip surgery. Swayman (led NHL rookies with .945 save percentage in 10 games last season) and Ullmark each was extremely efficient and should be attainable in fantasy outside the top 100 overall. — Pete Jensen
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall — Charlie Coyle — Craig Smith
Jake DeBrusk — Erik Haula — Nick Foligno
Curtis Lazar — Tomas Nosek — Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly — Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort — Connor Clifton