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yave1964

Bruins offseason primer

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FINAL RECORD 2017-18 50-20-12 112 points 2nd in Division 4th best in NHL. Defeated Leafs in first round, lost in second round to Lightning.

 

  Truthfully not much was expected of Boston entering the season, they were viewed as bunched with a group of teams expected to struggle for a lower end playoff spot. Instead they battled the Lightning for the division all year finishing only 1 point out of first.

  They actually started slow with Rask struggling then getting injured on December 16th they sat at 15-10-5 but then they caught fire. They went on a three month tear going 28-5-3 into early March. They slowed a bit down the stretch but had a very solid season.

 

 Brad Marchand continues to build his legend as a super pest as well as an incredible player with 85 points in only 68 games but what everyone will remember is his damn licking opponents in the playoffs. WTF???? Pastrnak proved last season was no fluke with 35 goals and 80 points. Bergeron continues to miss games (19 this year) but was a point a game player and continues to be one of the games great two way players. Kids Heinen and Debrusk continue to establish themselves as solid top nine forwards. Rick Nash and Backes as well as Riley Nash and Krejci are all solid veteran two way players who along with the rest contest every single inch of ice and never quit. Coach Cassidy seems to have come to the realization that the defense is the teams weak area and plays forwards who play hard at both ends of the ice to make up for it. 

  Defensively Krug is solid as a two way player with 59 points, Charlie McAvoy was brilliant and oldster Chara continues to amaze, his offense is pretty well gone but he led all Bruins in ice time and was a solid leader on defense having a nice bounce back campaign. Kevan Miller makes up for lack of talent with lots of snarl.  In net Rask overcame a slow start to have a brilliant year with 34 wins and Khubodin came back from the dead to win 16. Goaltending was a clear strength.

  Not all of course was great news, Brandon Carlo did not develop, indeed he took a pretty large step back. Anders Bjork is thought to be a future top six winger but was pretty bad most of the year. Matt Belesky continued to prove his signing was a big mistake, dispatched first to Providence and then to the Rangers in the Nash deal. Frank Vatrano who looked like a real prospect a few years ago looks like AHL fodder and emergency callup at best. The Bruins traded for Nash, Wingels and Gionta at the deadline all of whom play solid both ways on the forward lines but none produced, in 49 combined games they only produced 7 goals. 

 

TOP PROSPECTS

Ryan Donato has to be first on the list with 9 points in his first 12 games and unbridled enthusiasm, he is already a fan favorite and will be given every chance to play on the second line and second power play. Forsbacka Karlsson is considered a lock to make the team either as the 4C or they hope the 3C he is a defensive wizard with a great vision for finding the open man. Some people are in love with Zach Senyshin as a winger but I doubt his offense will develop, lots of speed but a weak shot. Jakub Zboril is a talented defenseman who will make the team and improve the quality of the defense and can pushthe puck. So as usual for the Bruins they have lots of kids who are ready to step in. I forgot to mention Trent Frederic who is (stop me if you have heard this) a two way center who plays hard at both ends of the ice and can score a bit. 

 

FREE AGENTS

Rick Nash is the big name although he is more reputation than actual substance at this point. The Bruins want to resign him. Wingels and Schaller are 4th liners who can play a bit but probably will not be back as there are a bunch of kids pushing them. One forward who IMHO they absolutely should make the biggest effort to resign is Swiss Army knife forward Riley Nash who can play either wing and center on any of the four lines. His play was an underrated part of the teams success. Nick Holden who came from the Rags beforethe deadline for defensive depth likely wont be back, Khubodin will want a raise and Boston would be foolish to let him go. They only have about 8 million in cap space so most of the above are goners.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS

 

MARCHAND- IS TH EJUICE WORTH THE SQUEEZE?

 I love Marchand about as much as many in here hate him. He has a non stop motor, he pushes his teammates to be better, he continues to get better every year but at some point you have to wonder if he is a caricature of himself. He is reminding me more and more of Tiger Williams, a scoring pest who annoys opponents but is exhausting to have on your team. He is signed to a long term very cap friendly deal so he is tradeable and with Pastrnak and other kids developing the day may be coming when his antics start to tip the scales in favor of finding out what the market will bear. 

 

SHOULD THE B's RESIGN NASH?

 Rick, meh, maybe, short term team friendly deal, why not. He has always been a great two way player which fits the way the Bruins play, but his 30 goal days are over. Riley, as noted was one of the teams best players because of his versatility and ability to do a lot of things well, you gotta bring him back.

 

ARE THE BRUINS CUP CONTENDERS? 

 like a lot of teams who made it this far, a hot goalie can carry the day. Rask had a 21 game streak last year (19-0-2) and any goalie who can do that can carry the day. They are solidly built with a defense that knows it role, Carlo will be better and kid Zboril is a real deal blueline prospect so the defense will be better and more two way kids are on their way among the forwards. I would rate them third in the division right now behind Tampa and Toronto but certainly capable of going on a run and winning it all if everything breaks right.

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