The Boston Bruins were among the busiest NHL teams in the offseason, with several changes being made at every position.
An aggressive approach to free agency saw the B's land forwards Nick Foligno, Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek, while adding defenseman Derek Forbort as well. The goalie position was overhauled with the addition of Linus Ullmark, who projects to be the starter with Jeremy Swayman serving as the backup. Last year's tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak is no more, although Rask could return during the season.
The most notable departure, however, was second-line center David Krejci leaving as a free agent and returning to the Czech Republic to finish his career.
What should we make of all these impactful roster moves? Brad Marchand is pretty excited about the group that management has assembled ahead of the 2021-22 season.
"This is a little bit different than where we've been in the past," Marchand said during a Zoom call with reporters Friday. "We always have turnover and every year it's part of the business, guys come and go. But to have some of the guys leave out of our core group that we've had here for a long time, it's a bit of a different feeling.
"But there's a lot of excitement around our team. We know we're very deep and we have a great opportunity this year. I think there's a lot of excitement around the guys coming in and the opportunity they're going to have."
If the Bruins avoid prolonged injuries to key players, they should be right in the mix for the Eastern Conference title next season. Why? They added lots of depth, especially at forward, in free agency. Scoring depth was a major issue for Boston in recent playoff runs, but the additions up front could write a different script this season. It's been a while since the B's have had a bottom-six with as much offensive talent as the one currently.
The blue line still needs another top-four defenseman, but it's not a subpar group by any means. The goaltending is the biggest unknown. Ullmark has never appeared in a playoff game and Swayman has 10 games of regular season experience.
Still, few teams in the league have a more complete roster or more experience than the Bruins, so it's no surprise oddsmakers have given Boston the fifth-best odds to win the Stanley Cup next season.