Perhaps no team enters the 2023 offseason with more uncertainty than the Boston Bruins, a rarity for a team coming off a President’s Trophy win, especially considering the records they set during the season.
After all, Bruins fans and Massachusetts sportsbooks were shocked when the Bruins lost in the first round to a suddenly hot Florida Panthers team.
Even with a hugely disappointing defeat, a team coming off such a huge season usually would be expected to continue to build on it.
The 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning were in a similar predicament, getting swept in the first round after a record setting season. That team bounced back to win the next two Stanley Cups, creating a mini-dynasty along the way.
Here is a comparison:
What Future Looks Like in Boston
That Lightning team was on the upswing and still learning how to win in the playoffs while the 2023 Bruins were a much more veteran team that already had several Stanley Cup winners on the roster.
Can Boston bounce back just like that Tampa Bay team, or was this incredible season the end of a strong string of success for the Bruins?
The early line from Massachusetts sports betting apps is erring on the side of caution.
Boston management and players went all in for this magical season, beginning with veteran centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci taking team-friendly deals to fit in under the salary cap and finishing with the trade deadline moves to bring in players like Dmitri Orlov and Tyler Bertuzzi.
The Bruins sacrificed future draft picks and future salary cap space to give this team the best chance to win, so coming up short was a massive blow.
The biggest question mark for Boston is with their captain. Patrice Bergeron contemplated retirement last season before coming back on a one-year deal and will once again take his time to decide what he does. The same is true of Krejci. If either player doesn’t come back, that takes a top line player out of the lineup, one that they won’t be able to replace given their position near the salary cap.
If they both come back, GM Don Sweeney undoubtedly will place all his chips in the middle of the table yet again for one final run.
DraftKings Sportsbook Massachusetts has the Bruins at +1000 to win the Cup, tied for third with the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers, but behind the Colorado Avalanche (+850) and Toronto Maple Leafs (+950). If Bergeron and Krejci return, those odds likely will improve, even if there is some more roster upheaval to keep the team under the salary cap.
If Bergeron doesn’t return, the Bruins still have a solid core led by superstar David Pastrnak, who is entering the first year of his new eight-year contract worth more than $11 million annually.
Pastrnak had an incredible season, being nominated for the Hart Trophy and despite the high salary is still a bargain for what he provides. Pastrnak is the fourth choice (+1000) to win next year’s Hart Trophy at FanDuel Sportsbook Massachusetts.
Along with stud defenseman Charlie McAvoy, a strong group of forwards that includes Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall and with goalies Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, this team will be expected to make the playoffs once again regardless of what happens with Bergeron
The 2022-23 season ultimately ended in playoff failure, despite the record-setting regular season. Duplicating the records they set will be nearly impossible, but Bruins fans, players and management would trade all that regular season success in if it meant a longer playoff run and a Stanley Cup Championship. Fans who maintain the faith will be looking for Massachusetts betting promos.