The Boston Bruins have been given the best odds to win the Stanley Cup this year, and it’s no surprise. They’ve got one of the deepest rosters in the NHL with top players at all positions, they won the Cup as recently as 2011, and they were the finalist last season.
With big contributors like hulking defenceman Zdeno Chara, shifty forward Patrice Bergeron and newly crowned number one goaltender Tuukka Rask all locked up long term, there’s no reason to believe the Bruins will be struggling any time soon.
What are the keys for the Bruins as they make another run at the Cup this year?
Odds To Win Stanley Cup: 5/1
Key #1: Franchise cornerstones must prove their worth
During the off season the Bruins signed both Rask and Bergeron to eight year contracts that tie them both to Boston for their hockey playing primes, if not for the remainder of their careers. Bergeron has certainly been a valuable scorer for the Bruins over the last few years, having emerged as one of the league’s top offensive threats, despite some injury concerns. He is the engine of the Bruins offense, despite the fact that he has never eclipsed his career high of 73 points from 2006.
Rask is younger and just starting out in his career, last year being his first campaign as the team’s starter. But it was quite the debut, as his goaltending performance was a big reason why the Bruins made it to the final.
That said, though he has a Cup ring from 2011, he was the backup to Tim Thomas that year and didn’t see any ice time in the playoffs. He needs to prove that can win on his own.
The Bruins have bet heavily on their two franchise players, and need them to earn every penny of their contracts.
Key #2: Zdeno Chara must continue to dominate
Few defensemen in recent NHL history have made an impact like Chara. His imposing stature and booming slapshot make him a constant threat at both ends of the ice, and he has proven to be a competent leader as captain of the Bruins. But he’s not getting any younger, and it stands to reason that he will start slowing down sooner rather than later. The Bruins need the dominant Chara if they want to win another Cup this year.
Key #3: A big season from Jarome Iginla
The Bruins made a splash when they signed veteran forward Jarome Iginla in the off season, but it’s not the blockbuster move it would have been ten years ago. Everyone knows Iginla is nearing the end of his remarkable career, and the Bruins don’t need him to be the go-to guy. But they do need him to show he’s still got the fierce competitiveness and scoring touch that made him famous. If he does, he could get that elusive Stanley Cup.
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