The Bruins Are at a Crossroads; Rebuild or Reload?

Photo: Nick Wass

This off-season could be a pivotal time for the success of the Boston Bruins moving forward. The Bruins are fresh off their 3rd straight playoff exit, and 2nd in a row to the extremely unlikeable but undeniably talented Florida Panthers (*eh, Florida Dive Team). As Florida prepares for their 2nd straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final the Bruins prepare for a summer without a deep playoff run since 2019 and with many many questions.

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Are the centers in Boston good enough to be a Cup Contender? The short answer is no. Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle are nice pieces, and ideally, you’d be very happy if they were the 2nd and 3rd line centers, respectively, on the Bruins. Something is missing though, is it the 200-foot game that Patrice Bergeron was known for, or is it the slick passing and underrated play of David Krejci? Or is it the faceoffs? My god, the faceoffs! It’s a combination of all of those things, players like that are rare on the free-agent market, and even more scarce where the Bruins have been picking in the draft in recent years. Should the Bruins tank to get to the top of the draft in the hopes of getting a McDavid, Matthews, or MacKinnon?

It’s unlikely the Bruins will be bad enough unless General Manager Don Sweeney is willing to trade all of the talent off his team, but even that is no guarantee. Generational talent isn’t available in most drafts. Boston would be better off sticking with their core group and trying to build around the impact pieces they have.

Mornings w/ Matty: Free Agent Target #7 Tyler Bertuzzi
Mornings w/ Matty: Free Agent Target #8 Matt Duchene

There’s been a lot of talk flying around on the internet in the past few weeks about where McAvoy is as a player. There’s no question that he has regressed under Montgomery. He went from a perennial top-5 contender for the Norris Trophy his last 2 seasons under Bruce Cassidy to a top-20 defender the last 2 seasons with Montgomery at the helm. McAvoy is still only 26 years old and has shown flashes of promise that lead me to believe that he can regain the form that he showed under Cassidy a few years ago. He needs to simplify his game, play more within himself, and pick his moments to be more aggressive offensively. He is part of the core, a young leadership voice, and unless another GM gets stupid and offers a trade the Bruins simply cannot turn down, he’ll be a Bruin for a long time.

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A defenseman that may turn into Robin to McAvoy’s Batman is Mason Lohrei (or maybe in time, Lohrei is Batman). The 23-year-old 6’5″ 211lb left shot from Baton Rouge, Louisiana had a good first season with Boston. In 41 games with the Bruins Lohrei totaled 4 goals, 9 assists for 13 points, and a minus 2 in 16:57 TOI/G. Lohrei took his game to another level in the playoffs, in 11 games the Louisiana native had 1 goal and 3 assists for 4 points and a plus/minus of 0 in 17:11 TOI/G. His offensive instincts and playmaking from the back end could take some of the burden off of McAvoy and allow both defensemen to flourish, which would go a long way toward the Bruins contending for a Stanley Cup in the future.

Mason Lohrei Player Profile

The main piece and backbone of any great team is their goaltending, and the Bruins have one of the top 5 goalies in the league in Jeremy Swayman. Swayman is an RFA this summer and will get PAID. Preliminary reports about the specifics of Swayman’s contract were around 7 million for 7 years. I suspect with Swayman’s Vezina-level play in the playoffs those numbers will go up. The Alaska native deserves a large pay raise from the Bruins after he bet on himself in arbitration and exceeded expectations. He will be a cornerstone of the Boston Bruins going forward.

Related Post: Boston Bruins Showing Renewed Interest in Kings’ Defenseman

Bruins superstar David Pastrnak is coming off a personal high of scoring the winning goal in the gold medal game for Chechia at the IIHF Men’s World Championships. He is the offense for the Bruins, and he needs help. For all he does for the Bruins, he catches far too much crap. 40+ goal scorers don’t grow on trees, and the Bruins should feel fortunate they got Pastrnak in the late 1st round of the 2014 draft. In a re-draft, he’s a top 3 pick. He’s a better playoff player than fans and some media give him credit for, with 87 points in 90 games. He’s 28, a stud, in his prime, and needs help.

Mornings w/ Matty: Free Agent Target #10 Sean Monahan

The Bruins need to build around this core of Pastrnak, Swayman, McAvoy, and Lohrei. With great goaltending, a young Norris-level top pair on defense, and a superstar goal scorer the Bruins have the pieces to contend, if you can fill in the rest of the roster smartly. Boston has over 21 million in salary cap space this off-season to add to this core. With smart moves (Ullmark trade?), and signings (Hello Guentzel, Marchessault, and Monahan?!) the Bruins could be right in the thick of things when the season opens next fall. No Bruins fan wants to see the team at the bottom of the league. With no guarantees that Boston could get their generational talent in the draft, the smarter play is to build around the burgeoning young talent on the roster and try not to waste the prime of David Pastrnak.

Season 3. Episode 48. Arbitration Deadline Bruins Benders Podcast

Matty and Smitty from the Bruins Benders Podcast cover the HOTTEST topics in the Boston Bruins market, along with… – Bruins Dev Camp Updates- Zadorov Comments & Number- Jeremy Swayman Arbitration- Brandon Carlo Trade Rumors& Much More!For more from us, visit: Bruins Trade Rumors, Boston Bruins News, Boston Bruins, 2024 NHL Free Agency, Elias Lindholm, Nikita Zadorov, Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Derek Forbort, Jeremy Swayman, Vancouver Canucks, Restricted Free Agent, Max Jones, Riley Tufte, Brandon Carlo, Matt RempeThank you for tuning in, we appreciate your support. If you'd like to support the show, please head over to our merch shop and grab some Bruins Benders merch with our new logo!Not interested in throwing money at another podcast? NO PROBLEMHit the subscribe button, like and follow us on social media, and leave a comment of your thoughts! IT IS FREE to interact with our show and it helps other people find us! And beginning in July, ITR is giving away an NHL Jersey of your choice from Fanatics. All you have to do to win is be a subscriber. DraftKings Sportsbook – Boston’s hometown Sportsbook is LIVE right here in Massachusetts! Bet local on all your favorite sports from the comfort of your own home with DraftKings. To celebrate, ALL new customers will receive up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets when you sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook using code ITR! You can now bet local on money lines, spreads, props, and more with one of America’s top-rated Sportsbooks – DraftKings Sportsbook!  Download the DraftKings Sportsbook app and sign up with code ITR to get up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets to use now that mobile sports betting is live in Massachusetts. That’s code ITR only at DraftKings Sportsbook. If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 800 327-5050 or visit to speak with a trained specialist, free and confidentially, twenty four seven. 21+. Physically present in MA. Eligibility restrictions apply. Subject to regulatory licensing requirements. Eligibility and deposit restrictions apply. Opt in required. Bonus issued aree bets. Terms at
  1. Season 3. Episode 48. Arbitration Deadline
  2. Season 3. Episode 47. Free Agency Begins
  3. Season 3. Episode 46. Draft Night
  4. Season 3. Episode 45. After the Hugs Are Gone
  5. Season 3. Episode 44. Yay Or Nay

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