Why Bergeron is confident Bruins will be tough to beat despite his exit

Why Bergeron is confident Bruins will be tough to beat despite his exit originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Patrice Bergeron was an enormously important player for many excellent Boston Bruins teams over his 19-year NHL career, including last season’s record-breaking squad that won 65 regular-season games and accumulated 135 points — more than any franchise in history.

Bergeron retired last month, ending a career that will one day be recognized in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He’s not the only notable player from last season’s B’s roster to depart this offseason. Far from it, actually. That list includes Taylor Hall, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dmitry Orlov and several others. David Krejci could soon join that list, too.

Despite all of the roster turnover, Bergeron is confident the Bruins will still be a very good team.

“I still expect the same thing from them,” Bergeron recently told NHL.com’s Hugues Marcil. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in the players who are on the team at the moment. There’s a good mix. Some guys have been in Boston for several years now, and they know how to run things and get the new guys to get on the same page as them and to play the Bruins’ style. I’m expecting a good season from them.”

Bergeron added: “They’re hard to play against because they give up nothing defensively, and offensively, everyone contributes.”

The Bruins still have arguably the best goaltending tandem in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark and backup Jeremy Swayman. These netminders helped the Bruins finish No. 1 in goals against and penalty killing last season.

Losing a six-time Selke Trophy winner like Bergeron is obviously a setback to Boston’s defensive abilities, but this group will still play with the same structure and attention to detail in its own end that we’ve seen for over a decade.

It’s unreasonable to expect the Bruins to finish No. 2 in goals scored again next season. They’ve lost a lot of goals with the departures of Bergeron, Hall, Bertuzzi, etc. But there’s still plenty of offensive talent on this roster. David Pastrnak just scored 61 goals and Jake DeBrusk should hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in 2023-24 if he doesn’t miss significant time due to injury. A few talented prospects, including right wing Fabian Lysell, could provide some goals and speed to the lineup as well.

The Bruins won’t win 60-plus games next season, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if another team — like the Toronto Maple Leafs — won the Atlantic Division. But the Bruins won’t be an easy team to play against, they’ll be well coached, and their goaltending should be elite. Those factors, and others, will help them be competitive despite Bergeron’s retirement.

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