Aging Boston Bruins are at a crossroads after early elimination

Boston has been a perennial Stanley Cup contender for the better part of a decade it seems. Just last season, they played in the Stanley Cup Final, ultimately losing to the St Louis Blues. Now questions are hitting this aging team and their window to win. Should the Boston Bruins rebuild now.

Boston Bruins rebuild and the future of Zdeno Chara

Upon being eliminated by Tampa in round two, rumors of Zdeno Chara retiring began to swirl. When asked right after the game Chara said, “I haven’t made a decision.” So what is to come for the 43 year-old veteran of 22 hard NHL seasons? “I’m going to be open minded,” he said added.

Chara is now an unrestricted free agent and there doesn’t appear to be a market for him but he wants to come back to Boston. “I’m positive and feel like I can still play and contribute to this team,” the hulking rearguard told NBC yesterday. “I want to be a Boston Bruin. That hasn’t changed.”

Boston Bruins rebuild
Zdeno Chara wants to play (NHLI/Getty Images)

The Bruins will need to decide if it makes sense to bring back the 43 year-old to a team growing longer in the tooth. My feeling is that he will return at least for one more season, and he may have Torey Krug to thank for that.

Boston Bruins rebuild will take a hit with Torey Krug

Torey Krug has had enough of taking short term deals. He feels that he’s bet on himself enough and will go to the market and get the money and term he is looking for.

When asked about possibly taking a one year deal to remain in Boston, Krug was truthful. “I’m very opposed to that,” he said firmly. “I’ve bet on myself and I’ve taken shorter-term deals and less amount of money my whole career now, so this is my time in terms of my value at its peak.”

This certainly hurts the Bruins losing a 28 year-old top four defenseman. But with limited cap space, it will be hard for them to keep him.

Boston Bruins rebuild needs to cut aging stars loose

The Bruins don’t necessarily believe their window to win is closing but a quick look at the lineup says differently.

On defense, Chara leads the entire team in age. At forward, Patrice Bergeron is 35 years-old, followed by David Krejci at 34 and Brad Marchand at 32. In goal both net minders are both up there with Halak at 35 and Rask at 33. These are not role players, these are the leaders and most important minute eaters on the team.

At some point, Boston is going to have to sell off these assets for picks and prospects. It could start this summer with Rask and Krejci, but in truth they could get a nice return on Marchand.

The Bruins have a lot of issues heading into next season. One thing is clear, David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy are who the B’s will be building the team around going forward. When that rebuild begins? Well, that is the question on everyone’s mind.