In June of 2011, it appeared another Boston sports dynasty was in the making when the Bruins broke a three-decade Stanley Cup drought.
The Bruins had hordes of young talent in guys like Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuck and Brad Marchand built around established veterans like Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask had a fantastic mentor in Stanley Cup hero Tim Thomas.
But as is sometimes the case in professional sports, thing don’t always appear to be so rosy.
In the years that followed, crushing postseason losses to Washington and the hated Montreal Canadiens were sandwiched around a six-game Stanley Cup Finals defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks, and management made some questionable decisions in jettisoning some of that talent out of town.
Of the aforementioned young trio, only Marchand remains in black and gold. Boychuck is a New York Islander, and Seguin is alongside former University of Maine stars Devin Shore and Ben Bishop in Dallas.
It’s quite possible that David Pastrnak could be next.
The young sniper from the Czech Republic has been in a contract dispute all summer, and frankly, I don’t know what the heck team president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney are waiting for. According to a WEEI report, Pastrnak won’t report to training camp until a deal is reached.
Multiple reports have also indicated he may play in the KHL this season. The man known as “Pasta” to B’s fans racked up 34 goals and 36 assists (70 points) last season, and the line of Pastrnak, David Krejci and Marchand is one of the best in the NHL when healthy.
If Pastrnak stays in Europe, the Bruins will have nobody to blame but themselves, and Sweeney will draw the ire of hockey fans throughout New England.
The Bruins took a major step last season in their rebuild in making the playoffs, and pushing the Ottawa Senators to six games in the opening round before bowing out.
Some of the moves that former GM Peter Chiarelli and now Neely and Sweeney have made haven’t sat too well with Bruins fans over the last few years, and letting a young stud like Pastrnak walk will be a huge detriment in the long run.
Chara has been an outstanding captain and a staple of consistency on the blue line, but he’s not getting any younger, However, guys like Bergeron, Marchand, Rask and Krecji are all in the primes of their careers, and young defenseman Charlie McAvoy proved he was NHL ready late last season and into the playoffs.
If the Bruins want to take another step forward, Pastrnak must be a piece of the puzzle. If he’s not, the team’s brass is once again poking the bear, and the Bruins will take a Boston back seat to the revamped Celtics, the pennant-chasing Red Sox and that long-standing NFL dynasty down I-95 in Foxboro.
Don Sweeney, do all of Bruins fans a favor and get something done with Pastrnak.
Oh, and Bruins’ fans, enjoy watching the team’s fourth-round draft selection, goaltender Jeremy Swayman, at UMaine over the next few years.