On paper, Bruce Cassidy had an inkling of what to expect going into the 2018-19 season.
With regulars like Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak all in tow, the Bruins were set to roll out one of the top lines in all of hockey, while David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk had the firepower to give Boston a potent top-six corps.
Add in a promising defense with young skaters like Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk all expected to make major strides— and a tantalizing duo in net in Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak — and the Bruins had the pieces in place to orchestrate another Cup run.
But off the ice, Cassidy realistically didn’t know what to expect.
Even with stalwarts such as Bergeron and Zdeno Chara anchoring opposite sides of the locker room, every team varies when it comes to finding chemistry, even when only a few new faces are added to the mix.
The additions in the offseason — Halak, Chris Wagner, John Moore and Steven Kampfer — coupled with deadline pickups of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson, have certainly changed the complexion of the B’s room, while rolling out a roster that opened the year with 10 players under the age of 26 also creates a unique dynamic on a franchise anchored by an established veteran group.
It was a unique concoction of players placed in the same locker room — but one that, for whatever reason, has just seemed to gel for this Bruins team.
This marks the 23rd year of coaching pro hockey for Cassidy, and the B’s bench boss would be the first to acknowledge that there’s really no rhyme or reason when it comes to determining how players are going to mesh away from the ice.