As the 2011-12 NEFHL regular season winds down on the Bruins, lets take a closer look at their current state and take a sneak peak into what should be a very important off season.
The season began with a bang, winning the first two games of the season, then a 4 game losing skid including a 9-5 drubbing at the hands of the Canes. The roster was scaled back somewhat in an effort to inject some youth into the team, but in hind sight the team lost too much too fast to have a chance. Once the losses started piling it, it became pretty obvious this team didn't have what it takes to play in the always competative NEFHL post season.
Then came the purge, Troy Brouwer sent to the Predators for futures, Samuel Pahlsson dished to the Oilers for Tatar, Zetterberg, Campoli and Eaves send to the Wings for Kovalchuk and Boychuk, then suddenly some hope, perhaps this was the chance to turn it around. But another long losing streak squashed any chance of sneaking in the talented Eastern Conference. So the trade kept on coming, Zajac to the Canucks for Marcus Johansson, Wideman to the Slugs for DSP and Smid, Johnny Boychuk to the Rags for Greg McKegg.
So now the Bruins look towards the off season, currently a top 5 draft pick, at the very least should be a top 10. The infussion of a top prospect will be much welcomed. All together the Bruins have 4 picks in the top 80, including 3 in the top 40, should be a good haul for a team that pushed all-in a season ago to try and win it all. What will free agency bring? Who will dress in a Bruins uni next season? The team seems commited to another season of build up, with James Neal and Ilya Kovalchuk as top rated players in the league they could be moved for a large futures bounty. Tomas Vokoun could see his days as a Bruins end if a contender needs a top tender. All possibilities in what promises to be an exciting off season that will shape the Bruins for years to come.