The Boston Bruins have not made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs since the 2013-14 season. They don’t have the worst NHL betting odds to win the 2016-17 championship trophy:
Boston Bruins +3050 to win 2016-2017 Stanley Cup
But those aren’t the best odds either, and that for a simple reason; you can’t win the Cup if you don’t reach the playoffs. Thus, in order to give the team that necessary boost to go the extra mile, the Bruins signed center/right winger David Backes to a five-year $30 million contract. Backes is expected to fill the void left by unrestricted free agent Loui Eriksson, who left for the Vancouver Canucks. Backs recorded 21 goals, 24 assists, and 45 points in 79 regular season games, and 7 goals, 7 assists, and 14 points in 20 postseason games with the St. Louis Blues in 2015-16. Furthermore, the 32 year old is very versatile on the ice and is a natural leader, as he proved in ten years with the Blues.
In the bid to improve their NHL betting odds, the Bruins have also added goaltender Anton Khudobin, and forward Riley Nash. Boston has a more than capable net-minder in Tuukka Rask, but Rask’s days off in the last couple of seasons were usually off days for backups Niklas Svedberg and Jonas Gustavsson. General Manager Don Sweney knows that Khudobin is the perfect sub for Rask, because he was the perfect sub for Rask in 2012-13, and that’s why Sweeney brought him back to compete with Malcolm Subban. Nash had 9 goals, 13 assists, and 22 points in 64 regular season games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season, and his flexibility – he can play center and wing – should add depth on the penalty kill.
While the Bruins have taken measure to cover the gaps in defense left by the departures of Eriksson and Chris Kelly, they still need to work on defense. Boston resigned John Michael Liles but failed to nab Alex Goligoski, Keith Yandle, or Jason Demers in the free agency market. In addition to that, Dennis Seidenberg never quite gelled with the team, mostly due to nagging injuries, and was cut loose. That leaves the Bruins with two alternatives; shop David Krejci or Ryan Spooner around in hopes of getting a defenseman, or grooming a defenseman of their own, such as Colin Miller, Joe Morrow, or Brandon Carlo.
Bruins fans who bet on hockey will have to be patient, though. As patient as president Cam Neely has been with Coach Claude Julien, who has been with Boston since 2007 and led them to Stanley Cup victory in 2011, but has been in a bit of a slump as of late – as has the team in general. GM Peter Chiarelli was fired last year after being with the Bruins longer than Julien, so that coach knows no one is untouchable. Well, maybe Bergeron. So Julien better hope he can deliver the Boston Bruins winning season that NHL betting fans demand.