Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask will be the face of the Bruins for the next 8 years
Since the Bruins lost Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Blackhawks, the team has gone through quite a bit of roster changes. Changes that normally do not happen for a team who has a championship and two finals appearances in the last 3 seasons. Gone are veterans Nathan Horton and Andrew Ference via free agency, and gone is Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley in a blockbuster deal to Dallas.
Enter Jarome Iginla, goal scoring wizard, and Loui Eriksson, main piece returning in the Seguin trade, and the Bruins top two lines could be Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Iginla and Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Eriksson. Those top two lines can be rolled out with the best of them, as there is scoring, veteran presence, and two-way threats among both lines.
With Bergeron and goalie Tuukka Rask both signed to 8 year contract extensions, the leaders of the Bruins are locked up for years to come. Although I bashed the Seguin trade, in retrospect it may have been the right move for Boston to create cap space in order to sign Bergeron and Rask to long deals.
Once Bergeron's deal expires he will have 18 years of professional hockey, all with Boston. He may end up being a lifetime Bruin, and he epitomizes what the Bruins have been all about during their recent run of success. After leading the comeback in Game 7 against the Leafs and gritting through multiple injuries in Game 6 of the finals, Bergeron proved he is the heart and soul of Bruins hockey.
Along with Bergeron, the main core of the team (Rask, Chara, Krejci, Lucic, Marchand, Eriksson) are all locked up for the next 3 seasons aside from Krejci. He will be 29 when his contract expires in two years, and could still be looking at a 3-4 year extension in the near future. The Bruins have all of those players in or near their prime of their careers, and they should be able to hold their status as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference for the near future.
Depending on the development of younger prospects, Boston's long-term prospects look bright as well. The Bruins are loaded with young defensemen Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, and Matt Bartkowski, along with the 3 prospects they received in the Seguin, Peverley trade.
Head coach Claude Julien has multiple weapons at his disposal, and could roll out a variety of lines in the preseason to see which ones are most successful. With the contract extensions to Rask and Bergeron, the Bruins are lined up to succeed for years to come.