Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the Vegas Golden Knights should aspire to the blueprint laid out by the Boston Bruins.
Only in their third year as an NHL expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights have already established themselves as a Stanley Cup contender, in addition to a legitimate powerhouse both on and off the ice.
However, they are still new to this business and they would be wise to study the work laid out by some of their peers.
Step forward the Boston Bruins.
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An Original Six franchise, the Bruins have always dined at the top table of the NHL and they are currently in the middle of a lengthy Stanley Cup window.
They won the greatest prize in all of sports in 2011 before making the Stanley Cup Final in 2013, while they reached the dance again in 2018-19.
In a nutshell, the Bruins have been relevant for a considerable amount of time and they are a model franchise in terms of how they build and construct a Stanley Cup contender year in and year out.
And that’s why the Golden Knights would be wise to really take a closer look at how Boston conduct their business.
Going back to their last Stanley Cup triumph in 2011, the B’s have maybe done as good a job as any when it comes to rebuilding on the fly without blowing things up and starting over.
They’ve built around an incredibly strong core featuring stars in the ilk of Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron and have consistently added weapons in and around those franchise pillars.
Take the current vintage of Bruins for instance, with the likes of Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak, who led the NHL in goals with 48 prior to the current hiatus, becoming key cogs and extending their team’s Stanley Cup window as a result.
It also goes to show just how well Boston have utilized the Entry Draft, with Pastrnak a 25th overall pick in 2014 and now on his way to morphing into one of the most exciting and productive forwards in the NHL.
A lot of credit has to go to General Manager Don Sweeney who has strived to keep Boston competitive while the likes of Chara, Marchand and Bergeron are still on the roster.
He’s drafted incredibly well and he has also done an outstanding job of ensuring the Bruins are rich in depth every single year.
And you also have to give Sweeney an A+ when it comes to managing the salary cap, with the GM signing the likes of Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak to team-friendly deals with others then following suite.
In doing so, he’s kept an ultra-competitive roster together while still having the freedom to improve the team each off-season and at the Trade Deadline.
As a result, that has allowed the Bruins to remain an elite contender and that was proven last year when they reached the Stanley Cup Final, only to lose to eventual champions the St. Louis Blues.
Also, Boston was, by both the eye test and the cold-hard stats, the best team in the NHL prior to the lockdown and many experts felt they could have embarked on another deep run.
Furthermore, with Chara resembling a terminator in that he never ages or slows down, Marchand playing the best hockey of his career, Bergeron still having some gas left in the tank, Pastrnak entering the upper-echelons of true elite players and a crop of high-end prospects led by stud forward Jack Studnicka on the way, both the present and the future looks incredibly bright for this storied franchise too.
They have retooled on the fly to perfection, squeezing every ounce of talent out of a core group of stars to maximise their Stanley Cup window, while laying down impressive groundwork for the future in Beantown.
In a nutshell, the Boston Bruins are a model franchise in the National Hockey League and there are plenty of similarities with the Golden Knights from a roster construction point of view.
For starters, they have an elite core locked down for the foreseeable future and they have started to add some valuable role players in and around their main cast of stars.
Plus, despite only being an NHL franchise for three years, the Golden Knights have done an exceptional job in the Draft and, while they have leveraged some key pieces of their future in two blockbuster trades, the front office have drafted smart and they’ve done a nice job of replenishing the farm system.
Navigating the salary cap and keeping the crew together will be key given Vegas’ current cap constraints, but they are certainly on the right path to establishing themselves as a long-term powerhouse in the NHL.
Granted, the Golden Knights have already rewritten the blueprint for expansion teams, but there is no doubt that they would be wise to take a close look at the Boston Bruins when it comes to remaining competitive year in and year out.
Making the postseason in all but two of the last 12 seasons dating back to 2007-08, 13 if you include this year, tells you all you need to know about the Boston Bruins blueprint and the Vegas Golden Knights would be thrilled with a similar resume.