Next year's Boston Bruins team is going to look a little bit different than the skaters that hit the ice in 2013. And just when I was starting to get attached to these guys... you know, now that I'm a die hard hockey fan once again. *cough* pink hat *cough* Next year I'm going to try and watch more than just the playoffs, I promise.
Andrew Ference has no choice. The hard-hitting defenseman came to the Bruins from Calgary in February of 2007. In his six seasons, he amassed 104 points in 373 regular-season games, and 21 points in 69 playoff games. Ference brought his professionalism, competitiveness and fierce loyalty to the Bruins locker room making him a valuable member of the club. And let's just say he excelled at retaliation and protecting his teammates. Click here for the Bleacher Report's tribute to Ference.
Jaromir Jagr didn't have a say in his future with Boston either. The 41-year-old future hall-of-famer was brought in mid-season at the trade deadline deal after the Jerome Iginla deal fell through. He scored no goals during the Playoffs and often looked exhausted. He suffered both hip and back injuries in the finals and is most likely looking for a big payday—something the Bruins are in no position to offer. I made fun of the decision to sign Jagr when it first happened, but he proved to be valuable at times in the playoffs.
The real surprise for me is definitely Nathan Horton's departure from the team. While his point production has been on a steady decline since he arrived in Boston, the winger generally kicked ass in the post season. The line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Horton was said by some to be one of the best lines in hockey—a line that combined for 23 goals and 41 assists in the 2013 postseason. During this past shortened regular season, Horton scored 22 total point but made up for it by piling up 19 points in the playoffs. That's a tough good-bye.
It's understandable that teams need to be sensitive to the salary cap, but it doesn't make losing great players any easier. Imagine if baseball had a cap...what would teams like the Yankees and Red Sox look like? Would we no longer see $100 million contracts? If so, I'm all for it!