With the announcement that Max Talbot has been placed on waivers, it appears that the Boston Bruins’ roster is finally taking shape. The 31-year-old winger was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche at last year’s trade deadline. While the seasoned veteran was popular amongst Bruins fans alike, he appears to have lost his roster spot to two young guns in Boston’s system (Joonas Kemppainen and Tyler Randell) and tough-guy Zac Rinaldo, who the Bruins acquired via trade this past off-season.
Joining Talbot on waivers is Jeremy Smith, who looks to have lost the battle for the backup goaltending spot to Jonas Gustavsson. Gustavsson was brought in on a professional tryout basis and signed a $700,000 contract with Boston on October 4.
It’s fair to assume that the Bruins’ top two lines will be unaffected by any further roster cuts. Their top line likely consisting of David Krejci at center with newcomer Matt Beleskey and 19-year-old David Pastrnak on the wings. The Bruins’ second line will probably look a little something like this: Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson.
With the majority of forward spots locked up for the team, a giant question mark still remains on the defensive end of the roster, as Zdeno Chara is day-to-day and Dennis Seidenberg will miss eight weeks after undergoing back surgery.
Tuukka Rask, once considered one of the top three goaltenders in the NHL, aims to have a bit of a bounceback season for Boston. Rask managed a goals-against average of 2.30 last season, which was the worst since the 2010-2011 season. Some attribute Rask’s subpar performance to the fact that he played 70 out of 82 regular season games, only nine short of the record for most regular season games played by a goalie set by Grant Fuhr in 1995-1996.
Matt Irwin, a defenseman who Boston questionably signed to a one-year deal this off-season, scored two goals in his first game with the Bruins and continued to impress for the duration of the preseason, securing his spot in the Bruins’ opening day starting lineup.
Arguably the most notable acquisition for the Bruins this off-season was forward Matt Beleskey. Beleskey had a successful campaign in 2014-2015 with the Anaheim Ducks, where he tallied 22 goals and 10 assists, and led the Ducks to the Western Conference Final where they lost in seven games to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Boston faithful are hoping that Beleskey will be that scoring threat that the black and gold have lacked in past years. If he can build upon his 22 goals from last season, he will surely be a legitimate threat on the wing, especially alongside the playmaking David Krejci.
After missing the playoffs last season for the first time since the 2006-2007 season, the Bruins are aiming to reassert themselves as a competitive squad coming out of the Eastern Conference, but an extremely youthful and inexperienced roster might hinder Boston from reaching the playoffs and making a run towards their seventh Stanley Cup championship.
Scott Burnside of ESPN.com writes that although the Bruins were eliminated from postseason play last year, they may benefit from the extra time off. Burnside agrees that the defensive end of the Bruins’ roster is a question mark, but still pegs Boston as a playoff team for the 2015-2016 season.
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