Boston Bruins Championship Window Shrinking

Boston Bruins Championship

The Boston Bruins have been one of the most successful teams over the last 10 years. The core group of players has won a Stanley Cup and brought them to two other finals. With the core getting older, the Boston Bruins championship window is shrinking.

Boston Bruins Championship Window is Shrinking

The Bruins have been able to keep an elite group of players together for a long time. The group of Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask have been together since the 2009-10 season.

While that has brought sustained success to Boston, the Bruins average age of 27.84-years-old is the ninth oldest in the league.

Chara, 43, is the oldest player in the entire league. His contract expires after this season, however, he may not be ready to call it a career just yet. The captain has given no inclination of his intentions to retire, and if this season is unable to resume, it would be hard to believe Chara would be content with ending his career on that note.

Despite the possibility of Chara playing another year or two, he certainly is not the player he once was. He’s a serviceable defenceman and has an important role on the penalty kill, but he’s not the Norris Trophy winner of the past.

Krejci and Rask are both 33-years-old and will become unrestricted free agents after the 2020-21 season. Krejci will be 35-years-old when free agency begins in 2021. He currently has the biggest cap hit of any Bruin. He will have to take a sizeable pay cut if he wants to stay in Boston.

Rask has hinted at retirement after his contract expires in 2021. He will be 34-years-old when free agency begins in 2021. Rask has been one of the best goaltenders in the league since becoming the starter in 2013. If he retires or signs elsewhere when his contract expires it will crush the Bruins championship window.

Bergeron and Marchand are in similar situations. They’re both playing high-level hockey right now but will be on the back end of their careers when their current contracts expire (after 2021-22 for Bergeron and 2024-25 for Marchand). Both of them have played a lot of hockey over the years and it’s safe to assume their best years are under their current deals.

Future Core of the Boston Bruins

While the current core of the Bruins is ageing, the future Bruin core is bright. Young players like David Pastrnak, Charlie Coyle, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo look to become the group to usher in the next era in Boston.

Pastrnak, the current league leader in goals, is just 23-years-old and under contract through the 2022-23 season. Pastrnak figures to be the face of the franchise in a few years. Coyle, 28, signed an extension to keep him in Boston through the 2025-26 season. This all but assures him the second-line centre role once Krejci is no longer with the team.

The Bruins have two of the best young defensemen in the league with McAvoy and Carlo. At 22 and 23-years-old, respectively, the Bruins will hope to lock both of them up long term. Carlo will become a restricted free agent after the 2020-21 season and McAvoy after the 2021-22 season.

Currently, the Bruins have a top winger in Pastrnak, a future second-line centre in Coyle, and a top defensive pair in Carlo and McAvoy. If newly-signed Jeremy Swayman can develop into a strong goalie, the Bruins have a chance at reloading with another strong core group.

What Does This Mean for a Potential Boston Bruins Championship?

All in all, the current Bruins core has just a few years left to win another Stanley Cup. While the core of Rask, Marchand, Bergeron, Chara and Krejci may be near the end, the organization might not be gearing up for a total rebuild once they leave.

The Bruins have the early pieces of their next core in Pastrnak, Coyle, Carlo and McAvoy. Inking Carlo and McAvoy to long-term deals will solidify that group as the next core in Boston.

As for the current core group, if Rask retires after next season the Bruins are handcuffed at the goalie position. With no top NHL-ready talent in the organization, they’d have to make a trade for a goaltender or rely on an unproven player. If Rask decides to continue playing, the Bruins would likely do nearly anything to keep him.

At the same time, Chara will likely be retiring after the 2020-21 season at 44-years-old and Krejci’s contract expires. By then Bergeron and Marchand will be on the back end of their careers.

If the current core group in Boston wants another championship, they have to do it this year or next. This Bruins team has two more cracks at a title before the organization sees a major transformation.

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