Another recent winner of Stanley Cup has been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, with the Washington Capitals defeating the Boston Bruins in game 7 overtime. Ultimately over the course of seven games, rookie Braden Holtby outplayed Vezina/Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas, the anarchist who loathes Washington. It seems like a twisted fate that he should be knocked out in the first round by Washington after declining a trip with his team visiting the White House to celebrate their Cup victory. Boston had a strong season and will remain in the league's top tier for a few more years at least. It cannot be understated the physical toll that their Cup victory took on the roster in 2011, and how difficult it is to repeat that feat. They have the right building blocks in place, and some young future stars ready to carry the future.
Boston will continue to be a contending team next season, with the biggest question mark being in net. Tuukka Rask is ready to be a #1 goaltender, but is a RFA this summer. Tim Thomas has one more year left on his deal at $5M. Who will play more games for the Bruins next season? Unless he's traded, that will probably be Tim Thomas. Zdeno Chara continues to be among the most dominant defensemen in the league, though at some point age should start to slow the big man down. Generally giants tend to wear down younger than normal sized people, though I expect Zdeno to have another dominant season in 2012/13 (but it is unlikely he'll hold up until the end of his contract in 2018). Boychuck, Seidenberg, McQuaid , Ference will all be back for under $3.3M.
Lucic, Bergeron, Seguin, Marchand, are all coming back at reasonable price tags. David Krejci will get bumped up to $5.25M, which is neither a bargain or too expensive. Chris Kelly, Dan Paille and Gregory Campbell are the UFA priorities for the Bruins to re-sign. There is no major overhaul required, just simple tinkering. The championship pieces are already in place, hence how they won the big trophy last year. They have a strong chance at winning the trophy again next year. The future is bright in Boston.