COACH: Jim Montgomery (125-55-15 over three seasons, 65-12-5 in Boston).
SEASON OPENER: Oct. 11 vs. Chicago.
DEPARTURES: F Patrice Bergeron, F David Krejci, F Taylor Hall, F Tyler Bertuzzi, F Garnett Hathaway, D Dmitry Orlov.
Columbus Blue Jackets will try to look past a disastrous, injury-plagued season and coaching dramaLessons from last season could shape how the NHL’s top contenders vie for the Stanley Cup in 2024New Anaheim Ducks forward Alex Killorn is out 4-6 weeks with a broken finger
ADDITIONS: F Milan Lucic, F James van Riemsdyk, F Morgan Geekie, F Patrick Brown, D Kevin Shattenkirk, D Reilly Walsh.
GOALIES: Linus Ullmark (40-6-1, 1.89 GAA, .938 save percentage) and Jeremy Swayman (24-6-4, 2.27, .920).
LAST SEASON: The Bruins set NHL regular-season records with 65 wins and 135 points to win the Presidents Trophy before losing in the first round of the playoffs to eventual Eastern Conference champion Florida. (The Panthers lost in the Stanley Cup Final to Vegas, coached by Bruce Cassidy, who was fired by the Bruins the previous year.)
STRENGTHS: The Bruins have a superstar top end, with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak at forward, Charlie McAvoy on defense and Vezina Trophy-winning Linus Ullmark in goal. They return six defensemen from last year’s team, led by McAvoy, and have added the veteran Shattenkirk.
WEAKNESSES: The retirement of captain Patrice Bergeron could leave a leadership vacuum. He was replaced by Marchand, who doesn’t carry the same cachet as the six-time Selke Trophy winner – in the locker room or around the league.
WHAT TO EXPECT: The Bruins have won the Presidents Trophy twice in four seasons and figure to have another successful regular season. But they’ve won only two playoff series in that span, and that’s the problem. Boston fans will wait out the regular season to see if this team can deliver in the playoffs.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Marchand has taken on what he called a “full-time job” by replacing the universally respected Bergeron as captain. But we will see if he is able to manage the gravitas of leadership with the passion that has gotten him in trouble on the ice, especially earlier in his career.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL