Brewin Flames Posted September 20, 2022 Share Posted September 20, 2022 Bruins season preview: Need fast start to overcome injuries Montgomery era to begin with Marchand, McAvoy, Grzelcyk sidelined by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer September 12, 2022 The 2022-23 NHL season starts Oct. 7. With training camps opening soon, NHL.com is taking a look at the three keys, inside scoop on roster questions, and projected lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today, the Boston Bruins. Coach: Jim Montgomery (first season) Last season: 51-26-5, fourth place in Atlantic Division; lost to Carolina Hurricanes in Eastern Conference First Round 3 KEYS 1. Responding to new coach Montgomery The Bruins opted for a coaching change after six seasons, welcoming Jim Montgomery for his second chance at an NHL coaching job. The former Dallas Stars coach vowed to improve Boston's offense, partially by getting more from its defense, in addition to improving the communication with players. But to make the change from Bruce Cassidy as coach mean something, the Bruins need to respond to a new voice and a new approach while the roster remains largely the same. 2. Starting strong The Bruins will begin the season already behind with injuries to three crucial players: forward Brad Marchand (both hips) and defensemen Charlie McAvoy (left shoulder) and Matt Grzelcyk (right shoulder). Grzelcyk is slated to return in November, with Marchand and McAvoy back in December. The hope for the Bruins is that they remain competitive while also getting a look at prospects before Grzelcyk, McAvoy and Marchand return. 3. Finding offense The Bruins ranked in the middle of the pack offensively last season (15th in the NHL, 3.09 goals per game) and without leading scorer Marchand (80 points) they'll have to find scoring somewhere else to start the season. Will Jake DeBrusk keep up the pace he found last season when he got a chance to skate with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron and scored 25 goals? Will David Krejci step right back into the NHL where he left off after a year playing in his native Czech Republic? Will Pavel Zacha find a home in Boston and improve on the numbers he put up with the New Jersey Devils? At least one of those options will have to hit for them to stay near the top of the Atlantic. ROSTER RUNDOWN Making the cut With the key injuries to start the season, the Bruins have some spots up for grabs. Instead of the usual Marchand-Bergeron pairing, Montgomery could opt to pair Bergeron with someone like prospect Fabian Lysell to give them the best possible shot to impress at the outset. They'll also need someone to fill McAvoy's spot with Hampus Lindholm (likely Brandon Carlo), presenting an opportunity for Jakub Zboril. There's no question that to start the season, the Bruins lineup will be in flux. Most intriguing addition Zacha has never quite played up to his draft slot after being taken with the No. 6 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Devils, so a fresh start might be good for the forward. Zacha, who is one of five Czech players on the Bruins, was acquired in a trade for center Erik Haula on July 14 and signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract as a restricted free agent on Aug. 8. He's coming off an NHL career high in points with 36 (15 goals, 21 assists) and could get a chance to play in the top six with a high-skill center, potentially as an audition to replace either Bergeron or Krejci down the line. Biggest potential surprise It would be asking a lot for Lysell to make the jump from Vancouver of the Western Hockey League to the NHL at 19, but the Bruins have liked what they've seen out of the forward in his brief time in North America. He had 62 points (22 goals, 40 assists) in 53 games and has shown flashes of being a dynamic offensive player, which the Bruins could use. Could he make the jump like Pastrnak did in 2014-15 despite needing to gain some strength and bulk? It's on the table. Ready to break through This could be the chance for Zboril to prove the doubters wrong. Before he tore his ACL in December, ending his season, he had started to show flashes of the ability that caused the Bruins to pick him at No. 13 in the 2015 NHL Draft. With McAvoy and Grzelcyk out, there will be plenty of minutes at defenseman at the start of the season and Zboril should be called upon frequently. Fantasy sleeper Lindholm, D (fantasy average draft position: 145.8) -- He will likely bring at least short-term exposure to Boston's elite forwards David Pastrnak and Bergeron on the first power play and should benefit from the eventual return of McAvoy (shoulder surgery) on the top defense pair, making Lindholm a fantasy sleeper who could shatter his previous NHL career high in points (34 with Anaheim Ducks in 2014-15). -- Pete Jensen PROJECTED LINEUP Taylor Hall -- David Krejci -- David Pastrnak Pavel Zacha -- Patrice Bergeron -- Jake DeBrusk Trent Frederic -- Charlie Coyle -- Craig Smith Nick Foligno -- Tomas Nosek -- Marc McLaughlin Hampus Lindholm -- Brandon Carlo Mike Reilly -- Jakub Zboril Derek Forbort -- Connor Clifton Jeremy Swayman Linus Ullmark Injured: Brad Marchand (hip), Charlie McAvoy (shoulder), Matt Grzelcyk (shoulder) Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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