The Boston Bruins didn't have a great offseason.
They lost Torey Krug in free agency without replacing him with a comparable top-four defenseman. Longtime defenseman and team captain Zdeno Chara remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent. One of the team's biggest weaknesses, secondary scoring, was not properly addressed in the free agent market or with trades.
However, the B's did make a few good moves. Signing veteran forward Craig Smith to a team-friendly three-year contract was a nice addition. He provides experience, depth scoring and versatility. Finding common ground with second-line left winger Jake DeBrusk on a team-friendly two-year deal was a nice result for the Bruins, too.
Overall, the Bruins have a worse roster now than they did after being eliminated from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But that doesn't mean the Bruins are going to be a bad team going forward. Not even close, actually. The B's still have one of the league's best rosters and more experience than most teams.
What can we expect from the Bruins when the 2020-21 NHL season begins Jan. 13? Will they be good enough to compete for a championship?
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Oddsmakers are pretty confident the Bruins will again be in the mix come playoff time, judging by the Stanley Cup title odds. Here are the latest betting lines for the 2021 Stanley Cup winner -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.
- Colorado Avalanche: +650
- Vegas Golden Knights: +775
- Tampa Bay Lightning: +825
- Boston Bruins: +1200
- Toronto Maple Leafs: +1500
- Philadelphia Flyers: +1600
- St. Louis Blues: +1800
- Carolina Hurricanes: +2000
- Pittsburgh Penguins: +2000
- Washington Capitals: +2000
The Bruins underachieved in last season's playoffs, but they also were missing their No. 1 goalie in Tuukka Rask. Rask is back and ready to go for the upcoming campaign, and he should be plenty motivated to have another Vezina Trophy-caliber season entering the final year of his contract.
Boston ranked No. 11 in goals scored, No. 1 in goals against average, No. 1 in shots against per game, No. 2 on the power play and No. 3 on the penalty kill last season. The Bruins have a well-rounded roster capable of earning a first or second place finish in the newly formed East division.
The question for the Bruins is do they have enough secondary scoring to carry them on a long playoff run. Right now, the answer is no, they don't. But it's entirely possible the team could make a move (or two) before the trade deadline, and it's also possible that a few prospects, including forward Jack Studnicka, could provide much-needed depth in the lineup.
The Bruins' odds to win the Stanley Cup are justified, and barring any significant injuries, they should be one of the top teams in the league and among the few left standing deep in the 2021 playoffs.