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Bruins’ February Slump: Cause for Concern, or a ‘Necessary Evil’?

The Boston Bruins’ February slumps have been concerning, but can things be fixed ahead of the trade deadline?

The Boston Bruins’ woes after the All-Star break have been surprising, to say the least. Their record since the break is 3-3-5, only accumulating 11 points during this stretch. To some, these issues were always an accident waiting to happen. But as the old logic entails: Winning covers up a lot of things. Such was the case during a record-setting 2022 season. But could this slump end up leading to more success?

The Bruins’ Problems Started Long Before the Break

Boston is one of only three teams in the NHL that has suffered 10 or more OT losses. This ties for league-worst at 14 with the Islanders. It’s no secret that this goes hand in hand with the team’s most jarring issues; their lackluster special teams play and serious defensive depth problems. These have been problems since the beginning of the season.

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Since the All-Star break, Boston’s power-play is an abysmal 4-35, while their PK has gone up to 8-30. The lack of trust that the front lines have in their defensive side is obvious. This sort of inconsistency is costing the team a staggering amount of close, winnable games. To boot, a down year for 2023 Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark is overshadowing the cohesive offense that’s been built post-Bergeron.

Don’t Panic: Bruins Can Look Inward to Solve Slump

With little cap space and few assets to play with, the Bruins have limited options. They can ride the waves of their successes and hope for the best, as they did in 2023. Or, they can look inward to finally face these issues.

Matt Grzelcyk returning from injury is a positive, but the consistency between himself and other defensemen will be crucial as they push toward the playoffs. Missing team meetings and taking unnecessary suspensions have to stop. For The Men in the Back, the focus needs to be two things: killing the penalty and helping out the goalies. In particular, Ullmark.

Bruins’ Prospects Worth a Look

If the Bruins aren’t active on the trade front, they have plenty of promising prospects in Providence who deserve an opportunity. Fabian Lysell has been on a hot streak and can provide extra depth. Georgii Merkulov is another prospect who has already had some reps with the first team this year. He has shown glimpses of great prominence in Providence all year long.

Should the organization position these two (and others) as valuable trade assets for some veteran players on defense? Or can they set these youngsters up for success and a massive Stanley Cup push? These are the questions that Jim Montgomery must answer, and answer fast.

Next: The Alleged Oilers’ Locker Room Turmoil.

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