Ever since the Boston Bruins lost to the big, rugged, and upstart St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, there has been an outcry for the Bruins to go back to being the Big, Bad Bruins. They haven’t exactly been a small team since then but this coming season, at least on paper, the Bruins will be a lot bigger up front.
The Boston Bruins brought back 6-foot-3, 240-pound winger Milan Lucic, signed 6-foot-3, 200-pound center Morgan Geekie, and 6-foot-3, 208-pound winger James van Riemsdyk. Combine them with 6-foot-3, 223-pound center Charlie Coyle, 6-foot-3, 208-pound winger A.J. Greer, 6-foot-3, 214-pound forward Trent Frederic (if he’s signed), and 6-foot-4, 200-pound forward Pavel Zacha, and that’s seven forwards at 6-foot-3, and 200 pounds or more for the 2023-24 Boston Bruins.
Back at the start of free agency on July 1, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney acknowledged a focus on getting bigger at the forward position. Still, he wondered how that would affect the overall speed of his team, which seemed to fit well with head coach Jim Montgomery’s high-tempo system.
“You know, if you look at the size of our lineup, it’s pretty big,” Sweeney said when discussing the flurry of signings he made on July 1. “So, you know, can we play with the pace that Monty would like to play with? And are we possession-based as opposed to rush-based… those are the things Monty will work through; I’m sure we had a lot of discussions about each of the individual players that were hypotheticals, and now that, you know, the players have been signed, and the pieces are somewhat coming together, how he’s going to play around with them?
That’s up to the coaching staff. We had multiple conversations leading up and then again [July 1], and [Montgomery] looks at it and says this addresses a lot of the needs, and he noticed right away, you know, Zacha is six-three, Coyle is six-three, Freddy is six-two, Brown six-one, Beecher six-three. We are big again. There’s a question about what our transition games will look like when you’re talking about bringing new players in.”