Falling two wins shy of their second Stanley Cup win in three seasons, the Boston Bruins have taken an aggressive approach in reloading their team for 2013-14.
After several years of minimal changes, general manager Peter Chiarelli decided a substantial overhaul was in order. Goodbye Tyler Seguin, traded to the Dallas Stars in a blockbuster deal that brought Loui Eriksson to town. Goodbye Nathan Horton, lost to Columbus in free agency. Goodbye Jaromir Jagr, who Chiarelli decided not to retain. All three moves depleted the Bruins on the right wing.
To compensate, Chiarelli brought in Jarome Iginla as a free agent, ironic considering the drama between Boston and Iggy at the 2013 trade deadline. The manager also decided to let a youth movement take over on defense, which meant the end of Andrew Ference's time with the club.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask won't be going anywhere, as he agreed to a massive eight-year extension on Wednesday evening. His backup, Anton Khudobin, moved further south and will try his hand as Cam Ward's understudy in Carolina. In addition to Rask, the Bruins also locked up Patrice Bergeron to an eight-year extension on Friday, keeping him in Boston until 2022.
It's quite an overhaul, but much of the core is still in tact. Will the Bruins still be contenders for another Final run in 2013-14? Let's look closely at Chiarelli's draft and the rest of his offseason moves.
A first-roundless draft
Boston had six selections in the draft, which included the No. 60, 90, 120, 150, 180 and 210 overall picks. The team's first-round selection at No. 29 overall was traded to the Dallas Stars as compensation in the Jagr trade (the conditional pick became a first-rounder after the Bruins advanced to the Eastern Conference Final).
Here's a complete look at the Bruins' draft class:
* Linus Arnesson, defense
* Peter Cehlarik, forward
* Ryan Fitzgerald, forward
* Wiley Sherman, defense
* Anton Blidh, forward
* Mitchell Dempsey, forward
Immaturity breeds contempt
The trade of Seguin was the marquee event of this offseason. The 21-year-old, former No. 2 overall pick is projected to be an elite-level talent and was expected to be a core piece for the Bruins moving into the future. Chiarelli publicly stated that he wasn't pleased with Seguin's work ethic, and rumored off-ice conduct didn't help his reputation in Boston. Chiarelli said flatlly that he needed to become "a better pro."
Entering the draft, rumors circulated that Seguin was being shopped. Some speculated it might have been a calculated maneuver to give Seguin a "scare" of sorts to get his act together, but four days later, Chiarelli pulled the trigger and sent Seguin to Dallas with Rich Peverley and prospect Ryan Button.
In exchange, the Bruins acquired Eriksson, perhaps one of the NHL's best-kept secrets, prospect Joe Morrow and young right wingers Matt Fraser and Reilly Smith. Smith and Fraser both have NHL experience, but can they fill the B's hole on the right side immediately?
Only time will tell whether the move was the right one or if the Bruins gave up too early on a rising star.
Youth movement on D
Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug all displayed the ability to play at the NHL level for stretches last season, and it's clear that Chiarelli has decided to give them increased responsibility in 2013-14. Andrew Ference walked away in free agency, and the Bruins will rely more heavily on their young defensemen next season.
Iginla finally joins the Bruins
After a false-start the first go-around, Iginla will be playing home games in Boston next season. The Bruins needed to address right wing this offseason after losing Horton, Jagr and Seguin. Having failed to lure Daniel Alfredsson away from the Ottawa Senators and deciding not to retain Jagr, the club eventually came to terms on a one-year agreement with Iginla.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic plays out and who head coach Claude Julien decides to pair him with.
Change for the better?
Boston's minimal alterations over the years generated two Eastern Conference Championships and a Stanley Cup. Now, the club faces it's first substantial makeover in sometime. The club still has several core players on the roster, which could help offset the changes. How it will all shake out in the standings is yet to be seen.