Can Boston Bruins Remain On Top of NHL Odds Without Iginla?

David Lawrence

Monday, July 21, 2014 7:20 PM GMT

The Boston Bruins looked like a Stanley Cup contender last season and the hope was that if they could keep the team together, things might go their way in 2014-15. Instead, the team lost 30-goal scorer Jarome Iginla and seems to have moved further away from their goal. It hasn’t really effected their odds as they are still 10/1 to win the Stanley Cup.

Not Enough Money To Keep Iginla
The Bruins knew that they’d be tight up against the salary cap entering the offseason and the hope was that Jarome Iginla would offer a hometown discount in order to have another shot at a Stanley Cup. After all, the 37-year-old is looking for that first ring and Boston presented him with a good opportunity. But Iginla decided to try his chances with the Colorado Avalanche, who ponied up $5.5 million per year for three years. Considering the Bruins are still about $210,000 over the salary cap, it’s pretty clear they didn’t have room for Iggy.

 

How To Bet The News
The Bruins have seen a number of their veteran wingers depart via free agency over the last few seasons. Nathan Horton left and then Jaromir Jagr replaced him. Then Jagr left and Iginla came in. Now Iginla’s gone too. There’s no question the team will miss his 30 goals and 61 points but he is 37-years-old. His role on the top line was probably going to be in question to begin with, so it shouldn’t be a huge deal.

The first hope is that Loui Eriksson takes Iginla’s spot alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci and performs like the player they thought they were getting when they traded away Tyler Seguin. Eriksson had averaged 69.5 points per season between 2008 and 2012, so he’s surely capable. What makes Bruins fans nervous is that he’s totaled just 66 points over the last two years. If he can step up, after a rough couple of seasons, the Bruins will be just fine.

Even if he doesn’t, the Bruins should still be ok. This is a team that’s been fantastic from a defensive perspective over the last few seasons, being among the league leaders in that category. They have a 27-year-old goaltender who won the Vezina Trophy last year and is in his prime. Their blue line is still among the best in the league. Although last year their offense took off and scored the most goals in the Eastern Conference, this is a team that’s more than capable of grinding out close games too. They won a Stanley Cup with an offense that was eighth in scoring. The Bruins were third last season, so if they still remain in the top 10, they’ll be fine.

If you’re looking to bet on some NHL picks, taking them to win the Eastern Conference makes plenty of sense. This team is the soundest at the back end. They have a lot of consistency in their roster and a lot of experience. They’re not going to fall off. Other than the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are still trying to put it all together, and maybe the Montreal Canadiens or Pittsburgh Penguins, both of whom took some serious hits to the roster in the offseason, nobody in the East should threaten this team. The conference, as a whole, is weak and the Bruins – even without Iginla – should be top dogs.