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Team Reset

Bruins bolster depth for another run at Stanley Cup

Add Ritchie, Lindholm after reaching Final

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Boston Bruins:

The Boston Bruins strengthened their organizational depth by signing seven players July 1, including forwards Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm, hoping for another run at the Stanley Cup after losing Game 7 of the Cup Final to the St. Louis Blues.

When announcing the signings, general manager Don Sweeney indicated the Bruins were probably done adding unrestricted free agents, content with giving a veteran core that also lost the Final in 2013 another chance at Boston's first Cup title since 2011.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

"I would suspect that we're out, but you never say never because the phone's been ringing," Sweeney said. "We're having conversations.

"We fell one game short, and I still think we have a really good core coming back. I've always said all along, we need to infuse internal competition, bring in some players that can fill some gaps and holes. We lost a couple good players, but I also want excitement generated as a result of the players who should recognize opportunity."

Ritchie is expected to compete for a bottom-six role after seven seasons in the Dallas Stars organization. His best season in the NHL was 2016-17, when he had 24 points (16 goals, eight assists) in 78 games.

"Do we expect him to reach that [again]? We hope," Sweeney said. "Put him back in some situations that [are beneficial] … we went through all the metrics in terms of where he can help us with puck possession … he's got some net-front, to be able to recover pucks … obviously he's a big body there (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), and he can shoot the puck."

Video: How much will Bruins miss Johansson next season?

 

Here is what the Bruins look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Brett Ritchie, F: The 26-year-old was chosen by Dallas in the second round (No. 44) of the 2011 NHL Draft. He has 54 points (33 goals, 21 assists) in 241 NHL games. … Par Lindholm, F: The undrafted 27-year-old completed his first NHL season in 2018-19 with 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in 65 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets.

 

Key departures

Marcus Johansson, F: The 28-year-old, who signed a two-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres on July 6, elevated his game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 22 games after he had 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 58 regular-season games with the New Jersey Devils and Bruins. … Noel Acciari, F: The 27-year-old, who signed a three-year contract with the Florida Panthers on July 1, had an NHL career-high 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 72 regular-season games and four points (two goals, two assists) in 19 playoff games.

 

On the cusp

Urho Vaakanainen, D: The 20-year-old, selected with the No. 18 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, played two games for the Bruins last season, had 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 30 games for Providence of the American Hockey League, and helped Finland win the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship with four assists in seven games. … Jack Studnicka, F: The 20-year-old has climbed Boston's prospect pipeline and may get a chance to compete for a place on the third or fourth line. Chosen in the second round (No. 53) of the 2017 draft, Studnicka finished his junior career with 83 points (36 goals, 47 assists) in 60 games for Oshawa and Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League last season and had 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 11 playoff games for Niagara. He also had two points (one goal, one assist) in four playoff games for Providence. … Karson Kuhlman, F: The 23-year-old undrafted free agent had three points (one goal, two assists) in eight playoff games, often skating on the second line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, after he had five points (three goals, two assists) in 11 regular-season games. He scored to help the Bruins force Game 7 in the Cup Final against the Blues after not playing since April 30.

 

What they still need

To re-sign restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. Replacements for Johansson and Acciari are likely to come internally with Studnicka, Kuhlman and Trent Frederic among the candidates. The Bruins could also use a power forward to provide a physical presence often missed against St. Louis.

 

Fantasy focus

DeBrusk scored an NHL career-high 27 goals in 68 regular-season games and had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 24 playoff games. He should continue to build upon his success this season after solidifying a second-line role with Krejci, who had 73 points (20 goals, 53 assists) in 81 games last season. DeBrusk (11 power-play points last season) should take more advantage of a top power-play role with exposure to elite forwards Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak and defenseman Torey Krug. -- Rob Reese

 

Projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Karson Kuhlman

Danton Heinen -- Charlie Coyle -- Brett Ritchie

Joakim Nordstrom -- Sean Kuraly -- Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

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