Over the course over the next week or so, we’ll be chatting with a few different writers around the division to gauge how the team they cover has been performing since the end of the season.
How would you grade the Bruins’ offseason?
Depends if it’s over or not. If Boston was a little vacuum of a city I’d give it a B-. Even if Rick Nash doesn’t retire and ends up signing with the Bruins, there’s still something to be desired at 2RW. With a bunch of young talent that issue — and the hole Riley Nash left at 3C — might get resolved internally. There’s just a lot of “maybe” around both of those situations that isn’t the end of the world, but in a perfect world would’ve been resolved via trade or free agency. I like the Jaro Halak signing — he’ll be a good backup for Tuukka Rask. I also am okay with the John Moore acquisition on defense — I think he’s an upgrade from previous depth guy Nick Holden. It just leaves two 5-foot-9 left side defensemen in Torey Krug and Matt Grzelcyk. Again, it’s not the end of the world to have one of the most productive defensemen and a budding talent on your team, but there was an impression a trade would get done that would send a more…Victor Hedman-esque? defenseman over. But Victor Hedmans don’t just fall from the sky, and Krug and Grzelcyk are both great at what they do.
The Bruins didn’t do any harm, but speaking of Hedman…Boston isn’t a little vacuum of a city. The Lightning and the Maple Leafs made moves that bring my Bruins offseason grade down to a C by association.
How would you grade the Leafs’ offseason?
I give the Leafs an A-. All hail John Tavares, etc. etc. etc. It’s a scary acquisition come postseason — remember Round 1 when Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy almost held Auston Matthews without a goal? Tavares at 2C sounds like as good a solution as any. Even with giving up van Riemsdyk and Bozak, the Leafs easily had a Top 3 offseason in the league.
But…uhh…what about the defense? I’m partial to the “win every game 11-10” method anyway, so I don’t really care.
How much longer do you think the Bruins’ “window” is open?
Until Patrice Bergeron says it’s not.
If these two teams come up against each other in the playoffs, what do you figure is the biggest deciding factor/ how different is it from this past series?
I’d say another year of playoff experience under the ole belt for the Leafs’ youth movement, but the Bruins got that, too. Although I think the Tavares hype was just a little extreme, considering the matchups on defense and what happened last time, Toronto’s scoring depth strikes me as the biggest difference right now.
Is the Atlantic still a three horse race in your eyes?
Don’t sleep on Buffalo. For real, this time.
(Editor’s note: the comment was made before the Skinner trade. Take that as you will).