And so an offseason of question marks is off and running in Boston, as the Bruins look to keep their solid nucleus in town while also plotting for the future.
Forward Nathan Horton will become a free agent next month, and in a class that’s regarded as weak and doesn’t feature a lot of star power, he is easily one of the most marketable, skilled players available.
“I have enjoyed my time here obviously. Two out of three years, I’ve been here we’ve been in the Stanley Cup and we’ve won one time and I said a million times, the guys in the room are amazing,” Horton said. “It’s been a lot of fun and I really enjoy everyone and every player on the team.”
One potential drawback to Horton, is he will require offseason shoulder surgery.
“When you make a decision to try and bring back guys that are on the eve of free agency, you’d like to think that you can make the right decision before the last possible moment. Usually, that’s what I try and do,” Chiarelli said. “I try to be proactive and try to get ahead of stuff, and this year it was too hard. Specifically on Nathan, I put him in with the rest of the group. They’ve been moving targets and I’m going to try to push through it now.
“It’s not the ideal way, but I’m going to try to push through it now.”
One part of the team that became even stronger in the postseason was defensive depth. With injuries to several defensemen, Chiarelli was able to flex some organizational numbers on the blue line that will allow the Bruins to let some higher-priced, older players walk away.