After falling just short of winning the Stanley Cup in 2019, the Boston Bruins went home a little earlier than they hoped for this season, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. However, much of the criticism in Boston falls to the team’s lack of physicality against the Lightning’s bigger forwards, who really took advantage of the Bruins, especially against their smaller defenseman, Torey Krug and Matt Grzelcyk.
The Bruins saw this issue coming and traded for Nick Ritchie at the trade deadline to give the team a little added size, but Ritchie had some issues adjusting to the team immediately after the trade as the league was shutdown shortly thereafter and still didn’t fully adjust in the bubble during the playoffs.
With the need to get bigger and stronger this offseason, NBC Sports Joe Haggerty writes that the Bruins may be already thinking that it might make more sense to let the undersized Krug walk via free agency this year and take the money to invest in a blueliner who can provide more size and physicality rather than invest $7-8MM on bringing Krug back.
- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point remains an unknown before Game 4 today. Head coach Jon Cooper refused to give an update on Point, saying “You’ll see in a couple hours,” Cooper said (via NHL.com’s Bryan Burns). Point sat out Game 3 with an undisclosed injury, although he has been practicing. Point has picked up 23 points in 15 playoff games so far and would be a big boost for the team if he returns.
- Assuming the Montreal Canadiens are able to sign defenseman Joel Edmundson after acquiring the blueliner in a trade with Carolina Saturday evening, The Athletic’s Arpon Basu (subscription required) writes that could be bad news for defensemen Brett Kulak and Victor Mete. With Ben Chiarot, rookie defenseman Alexander Romanov and potentially Edmundson playing on the left side, both Kulak and Mete will either have to fight for the seventh spot or the team could move one of the blueliners over to the right side. The scribe notes that Kulak, who was impressive in the playoffs, might be a potential trade candidate. He has averaged more than 17 minutes of ATOI over the past two years with the Canadiens. General manager Marc Bergevin wasn’t that posiitve on Kulak’s outlook, however, pointing out after the playoffs that while he could be a solid defender if he continues to play like he did, his inconsistency over the regular season has to be kept in mind as well.
- While the Florida Panthers eventually hired Bill Zito to be their new general manager, it did do an extensive search for candidates, looking at former Islanders GM Garth Snow to NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday, also added another former candidate in Hall of Fame and Olympic gold medalist Angela Ruggiero. “During their search, the Panthers contacted four-time U.S. Olympian and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame Angela Ruggiero and asked her if she wanted to interview,” Friedman reported during Saturday’s Headlines. Ruggiero, 40, is the current CEO and co-founder of Sports Innovation Lab and asked the Panthers for a few days to consider whether she wanted to interview. By the time she got back to Florida, they had already hired Zito. Ruggiero has some experience in the front office with the New York Islanders years ago before going to Harvard for her MBA, but she could be a future candidate for other GM positions.