Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins

And So It Begins

The Boston Bruins are on pace to win 82 games during the 2021-22 season.

Although that is an extremely dramatic rationale, it is—technically—not inaccurate. After this past Saturday night’s strong showing against the Dallas Stars, the Bruins look to build off the success that they had mounted from last year’s National Hockey League campaign.

The 3-1 victory in front of a geared-up TD Garden crowd in the season opener was a heck of a start.

Prior to that game, the Bruins endured a long offseason and an even longer training camp.

Even before the Black and Gold took the ice for organized activities during the summer, a plethora of changes struck the team in the form of some key departures:

  •  Kevan Miller – retirement
  •  Jeremy Lauzon – expansion draft
  • David Krejci – electing to play overseas
  • Tuukka Rask – offseason hip surgery; free agent

It is hard to overlook those above-mentioned negatives. Two of the core players that hoisted the Stanley Cup back in 2011 are gone, and two physical, shut-down defensemen are no longer here to anchor the back end. Tough blows all around.

However, B’s general manager Don Sweeny did his best to replenish the roster. Derek Forbort was brought in to solidify the top defensive pair with Charlie McAvoy. Speaking of the latter, McAvoy is now the new “76 Million Dollar Man” and will remain in Boston for another eight years. Clutch.

With Brandon Carlo and Taylor Hall also re-upping with the Bruins this offseason, a new, young core has been established.

Erik Haula, Nick Foligno, and Tomas Nosek inked deals with the Bruins as well. Although none of these guys will produce offensively like those on the top two lines, this trio adds to the depth of the team. With these additions, the Bruins have arguably one of the best bottom-six forward groups in the entire NHL. Case in point: Haula and Foligno both assisted on Jake DeBrusk’s game-winning goal this past Saturday against the Stars. That is a pretty auspicious debut.

To cap things off, we have the goaltender situation.

Jeremy Swayman ended Rask’s nine-year run as opening night starter. The 22-year-old rookie went 7-3-0 with a 1.50 goals against average and a .945 save percentage in 10 games last season. He got the nod over Linus Ullmark, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract in the offseason.

Swayman’s production in his brief stint with the Bruins last season combined with his performance in training camp made him the logical choice for this role. He embraced the position, faced the pressure, and knocked it out of the park…

…well, the rink in this case. Sorry, wrong sports metaphor.

Anyway, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy made it clear that the 10-day gap in between the conclusion of the preseason and the start of the regular season (the strangest scheduling anomaly to exist in quite some time) was not ideal. To be blunt, the Bruins were getting sick of dress rehearsals. They wanted to play real games in front of the fans.

Unlike the current wait for the Green Line Extension Project to finish, this wait proved to be worth it.

Yes, it was just one game and there was plenty of time to figure out the chemistry with the team over the course of the last three months, but Boston looked great against the Stars. We will see how they fare this coming Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The production will come all throughout the lineup this season in all three areas. Even beyond that, we have Jack Studnicka waiting in the wings. He proved to be one of the toughest roster cuts in recent memory due to his offseason workout regimen and stellar production in the preseason. It will not be long until we see him up with the big club.

With a defensive group that is eight players deep and a balanced goalie tandem, the wins should come in abundance. The Hub on Causeway will be the place to watch it all happen.

Maybe this is just the fan boy talking, but the Bruins are legitimate this season.