The Boston Bruins haven’t won a playoff series in three years, their longest streak since making it to the second round of the playoffs 5 of 6 years from 2008 to 2014. Two of those five were trips to the finals, including a Stanley Cup in 2011. Claiming Lord Stanley’s Cup while the Penguins and Blackhawks have been running rampant is no small task, yet the Bruins, along with the Los Angeles Kings are the only teams to have done it.
The era of Boston Bruins that won them that Cup back in 2011 has clearly passed, as the Bruins have been transitioning to a younger roster. The real question though, is: has that era of Bergeron-led offense truly expired forever?
The Buffalo Sabres undertook a full rebuild starting in 2012, and after 5 years of accumulating, developing, and establishing the next wave of Sabres, it looks like they’re finally rounding the last bend of the rebuild road.
For three straight seasons, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 they posted a pitiful 54 points or less. Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart represent the rewards for their futility. The last two seasons, however, have seen them climb into that bubble range; 81 and 78 points.
Which brings us to our next question:
The time is now.
Jim Nill has been building toward this moment for quite some time. In 2013 he acquired one of the best centers in the game in Tyler Seguin, put a former star in Jason Spezza behind him, and now he’s added a shutdown center in Hanzal, a top winger in Radulov, a fantastic goalie in Ben Bishop, and a solid complementary top-4 defenseman in Marc Methot.