NESN analyst Barry Pederson, in an interview on the Dennis & Callahan show, identified a number of roster decisions that now face the Bruins following their elimination in a Game 6 loss to the Blackhawks. Still, Pederson suggested that the team’s long-term outlook remains excellent.
With a number of young, still-improving talents like Tyler Seguin, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton, Pederson suggested that if Boston can re-sign restricted free agent Tuukka Rask and lock up Patrice Bergeron — who now has one year left in his contract — to an extension, the team has the core to continue to build upon its run of two Stanley Cup Finals and one championship in the last three years.
He emphasized the need for players like Tyler Seguin, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron to get stronger to help carry the Bruins through a 2013-14 season that starts in 13 weeks, but overall, Pederson pointed to a sunny outlook for a team that just endured a devastating defeat.
“[Bergeron] has got one year left on his contract. They’re going to have to get him signed up. Get Rask, of course, re-signed. And then they’ve got a couple of really big decisions, to me, with some warriors that have been with them for a long time. And it may be time for the organization to instill some youth,” said Pederson. “They’ve got a big decision with Nathan Horton. He had a tremendous playoffs, especially early on. He’s going to be an unrestricted free agent. He’s got a concussion history so you wonder if someone else is going to come in and throw him one of those crazy offers. I would doubt it, so there may be a chance there.
“Andrew Ference to me, who’s been a tremendous warrior and one of those guys you could really count on … he may be one of those guys you may have to miss. You may have to move [Rich] Peverley, because you’ve got to make some room for the young D. … Guys like [Torey] Krug and Bartkowski and Hamilton showed you what they could do. I think you need that youth next year.”
Pederson suggested that the combination of talented players in their prime and a young wave of talent behind them gives the Bruins a very promising long-term outlook.
“I think [team president Cam Neely] and [GM Peter Chiarelli] have done a tremendous job,” said Pederson. “They have their core. They have their identity. You get Rask sign up, maybe take a look at Horton, you get that youth implemented into your system and your lineup, and this is going to be a good team for a long time barring any injuries.”
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