Bruins

NHL Notebook: How Bruce Cassidy plans on sparking Bruins’ lagging 5v5 offense in 2021

(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The Bruins' roster might look pretty different by the time the 2020-21 season commences, but the same (hopefully) won't be said about Boston's coaching staff.

Speaking during his annual end-of-season press conference on Wednesday, Cassidy noted that all of his assistant coaches — Jay Pandolfo, Joe Sacco and Kevin Dean — are all under contract next season, barring any job opportunities elsewhere. That continuity is a good sign for an organization looking to make the most of this dwindling Cup window, but each year is not always the same routine as far as what areas each coach is tasked with overseeing.

In past years, Cassidy — a playmaking defenseman during his playing career — has often had a major hand in shaping one of the top power-play units in the league. But next season, Cassidy might hand the keys to the man advantage over to Pandolfo — opting instead to get more involved with Boston's D corps in 2020.

"We try to every summer, tweak a little bit of assignments so guys don’t get stale," Cassidy said. "We’ll have discussions. … I need to get more involved with the D. It’s where my roots are in terms of the offensive side of things. I think there is more to give there. So that’ll be an adjustment. Is it time to hand over the power play to Jay, who's been involved in it for two years, and work on another area?  We’re going to have those discussions.”

Granted, the defense is usually Dean's bread and butter when it comes to coaching responsibilities, but Cassidy plans on focusing on a very specific angle with his blue line — their offensive output.

For a Bruins team that has struggled for years now in terms of consistent offensive generation during 5v5 play, finding talented forwards capable of finishing plays next to David Krejci and Charlie Coyle will go a long way toward complementing the expected contributions from Patrice Bergeron's line and Boston's power play. But generating more offense from the blue line — even more shot volume — stands as another logical step toward giving this offense a much-needed shot in the arm.