Cam Neely discusses the potential for a Bruins rebuild

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Are the Bruins headed for a rebuild? Cam Neely provides insight originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

For the better part of the last 15 seasons, the window has remained open for Boston Bruins to compete for Stanley Cup championships.

After 13 postseason berths since 2008, three appearances in a Cup Final and one championship in 2011, is that window about to close and give way to a rebuild?

At his season-ending media availability on Thursday, Bruins president Cam Neely acknowledged that keeping the window open for that long does eventually catch up to you. However, he gave no indication that was the direction the team was heading in, even as questions linger about the future of captain Patrice Bergeron.

2022 NHL offseason: Full list of Bruins free agents, contracts to watch

"I don't think anybody wants to watch losing hockey, that's not the plan, is to start losing," Neely said. "You look at teams across the league that have lost a lot of hockey games over a number of years, they get better draft picks and ultimately better players. But I think we've done a pretty good job the last 10, 11 years of staying in that window to win."

Aside from two picks in the top 10 thanks to the Phil Kessel trade (Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton), Boston hasn't drafted any higher than 13th overall with its own picks since 2007.

Many of the players who've helped the Bruins remain so competitive over the last 15 seasons were drafted outside of the first round, however, including Bergeron (second round, 45th overall, 2003), David Krejci (second round, 63rd overall, 2004), Milan Lucic (second round, 50th overall, 2006) and Brad Marchand (third round, 71st overall, 2006). Even David Pastrnak (25th overall, 2014) and Charlie McAvoy (14th overall, 2016) weren't exactly selected in prime spots in the first round.

Retaining Bergeron is a priority, of course, but the Bruins remain far too talented to drop down to the bottom of the league and hope to strike gold with a Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid type of generational talent that becomes available once a decade.

As it is, the Bruins have too many long-term contracts to high end players to justify a rebuild right now. Defensemen McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm are both signed through the 2029-30 season and forwards Marchand and Taylor Hall -- a former No. 1 overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers, for what it's worth -- are signed through 2024-25. Center Charlie Coyle and defenseman Brandon Carlo, nice pieces but not necessarily core players, are signed through 2025-26 and 2026-27, respectively.

In addition to Bergeron, the Bruins also have an extension for Pastrnak -- a free agent following next season -- on their to-do list.

How those situations play out in the weeks months ahead could be a tell as to what the front office has in mind, but regardless, rebuilding shouldn't be in the cards. As Neely himself noted, the Bruins have some other young players in the pipeline -- namely, Fabian Lysell, who tore up the junior ranks this season -- who'll hopefully for the Bruins' sake be ready sooner rather than later to help keep the window ajar.

"We do have some good young players is this lineup that hopefully we can build around in the next couple of years so we don't have to do a complete rebuild," he said.