By the end of the 2013-14 regular season, the Boston Bruins had emerged as the clear favorite in the Eastern Conference, and a path to making their third Stanley Cup Final in four years seemed clear.
It did not turn out that way because a long-time nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens, upset the Bruins in dramatic fashion in the second round. Boston did not have a lot of salary-cap flexibility this summer, and it showed.
Jarome Iginla left for the Colorado Avalanche, and his offense will be missed. Shawn Thornton left for the Florida Panthers, but breaking up the popular "Merlot Line" will be a positive for the Bruins moving forward.
Otherwise, it is more of the same for the Bruins. Time is catching up to a few guys, and Boston needs young players to emerge in larger roles this season. The Bruins are probably still the best team in the East, but the gap is not likely to be as wide.
Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Bruins: