In the last 20 years, the Boston Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and New England Patriots, combined, have competed in 12 championships. However, each of these teams looks much different now, and most aren’t at the top of their respective leagues. Here, I’ll take a look at each team and make a prediction on what needs to happen to get back to contending for championships.
First, the Boston Celtics. Led by wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the team hasn’t been able to take the next step to become a true contender despite surrounding those two with an ever-changing cast of rotation players. The prediction here is that the Celtics will sign a forward such as Jerami Grant or Kristaps Porzingis that can provide spacing or playmaking on the offensive end, which the team sorely lacks. A forward like that wouldn’t compromise the team’s solid defensive identity and would allow for a more balanced creative attack, which would benefit the team greatly in its quest for Banner 18.
Next, the Boston Bruins. With the current core of players such as Patrice Bergeron (36), Brad Marchand (33), and Tuukka Rask (34), growing older, the team simply doesn’t have enough firepower to compete at the highest level. With exciting prospects such as forward Fabian Lysell and goalie Jeremy Swayman soon making their debuts, I think the Bruins’ next Finals appearance will depend not on their current core, but on the development of its current prospects. Going into a minor rebuild, as a full-blown rebuild isn’t necessary with the talent that’s already with the team will allow for a longer and well-sustained title window, and that’s the direction I believe the team will head in instead of investing heavily in the present.
Third, the Boston Red Sox. An unexpected finish just two wins shy of a World Series appearance in a season where it wasn’t even a lock to make the playoffs, the emergence of young aces Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock has been the storyline of the team. Both just 25 years old, how far the team will be able to go next season will depend largely on whether they can keep up their stellar play. The prediction here is that Houck and Whitlock will keep up their development and combine for 250+ innings each season and at least four All-Star appearances in the next five seasons. This kind of volume from two pitchers who have mostly pitched from the bullpen can be overambitious, but as both have experience starting and the rotation filled with question marks, I think both of these very talented pitchers will find their way there sooner rather than later.
Finally, the New England Patriots. Now in its second year of the post-Brady era, it’s clear that this team will not dominate like the past two decades, but that doesn’t mean it can’t find success. There are many holes the team can look to fill on both offense and defense, like a true top receiver or more solid cornerbacks, and this lack of talent will keep it out of the top tier of the league. I believe the Patriots will go after a receiver in the draft after seeing the success of other first or second-year receivers around the league and invest heavily in defense after spending on the offense last offseason. Since there are no signs that the team is looking to go into a rebuild, adding as much talent as possible will be the goal for this upcoming offseason.