Missing playoffs could force Bruins to implode roster

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The Boston Bruins might look like a completely different team next season, and it all depends on when the first domino falls.

With the Pittsburgh Penguins clinching the final Wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins will miss the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

There are many uncertainties casting a shadow over the team’s future heading into the off-season, but there is the possibility the team will implode starting with the upper management.

If general manager Peter Chiarelli or coach Claude Julien are fired, it will send the Bruins in a new direction. Julien told NESN’s Jack Edwards after the game, “Obviously we have to take this as a group, and I don’t think anybody should not be involved in that blame.”

At the end-of-the-season press conference on Monday, Chiarelli announced to the media that Gregory Campbell and Daniel Pallie would not return to the team, according to NESN. Both players are on expiring contracts and are expected to hit the free agent market.

Both players were x-factors during the Bruins championship runs in the past few years, but now the Bruins need to explore other options for the fourth line. As much as the two were household favorites, both had mediocre years, and since they are on the fourth line, it cannot be considered a “major loss.”

The fascinating part about this announcement is that it would appear Chiarelli and Julien are treating business as usual like they are both returning next season. Both have been key to winning a Stanley Cup and staying relevant in the NHL, but the rumors will still continue to circulate until team president Cam Neely makes their returns official.

Even if both do return, it is apparent the organization is already planning to retool the team. If they avoid a possible “team self-destruction,” the Bruins will have some salary cap space to make a few more moves. They will also have to decide if they want to bring back other expiring contracts like center Carl Soderberg and defensemen Adam McQuaid and Matt Bartkowski.

The other elephant in the room is trade possibilities.

The Bruins have large contracts between captain Zdeno Chara, forward Milan Lucic, and goalie Tuukka Rask. Whether it is Chara’s old age or Lucic’s final year coming up, there is a good chance one of these $6 million-plus players will be on the trading block

The Bruins have been to two Stanley Cup Finals under the guidance of head coach Claude Julien. (By Flickr User Dan4th Nicholas)

With a lot invested into the future of Rask, he is an unlikely a trade option. And after this disappointing year for the Bruins, it might be time to part ways with the 7-foot captain. Chara was the original piece to the kick-start of the contending Bruins, but his decline in play might be enough for the Bruins to explore trading the Slovakian.

The other option many fans believe in is to do nothing. Walk away from this season like it was a bad dream and make no major changes. This is actually a likely scenario, but the end result could be a repeat of this season.

Whatever happens to the Bruins, odds are the front office will make decisions they think will make the team better, no matter who stays and who goes.

 

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