Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fringe Signings (Aug 17)

The Buffalo Sabres re-signed their last remaining restricted free agent, forward Zemgus Girgensons, offering up a 2-year, $3.2 million deal on Thursday.

The Latvian forward has been somewhat of a disappointment in recent seasons, only posting 18 points in 2016 and 16 points in 2017, so the negotiations were not really going to end up in his favour, in theory.  A $1.6 million cap hit is the promise of better times to come, but he's really hard to bet on, hence his projection for the coming season is only at the 20-point range.  If the 23-year old can get his game together, the Sabres will obviously be a far more dangerous team, but he's got to be prepared to bring his A-game this year.

Off-Season Injury Notes (Aug 17)

The New Jersey Devils announced that forward Travis Zajac will miss the next 4-to-6 months after undergoing surgery for a torn pectoral muscle.  The timeline suggests that the winger could return between December and February, missing nearly half the season or more.

This means his overall projections are going to drop and they have been dropped down from the 45-point range to the 15-point range, well out of worthiness range and to be good enough for the draft.  This will also mean more ice-time for someone else, possibly giving more opportunity to a top prospect like John Quenneville or Michael McLeod.  How the Devils decide to fill that void will certainly have an effect on the overall projections, come draft day.



2018 Pool Projections: Rookies

The mini-game wheel didn't stop on the rookie pool last season, much to the chagrin of Scott's team, which was dominated by rookies and would have clearly walked away with the title, but there's always a chance that the wheel could stop on it this season and it would be a whole new ball game.

By far, one of the most difficult things to do in these projection posts is predict which rookies are going to earn a spot with their NHL club and then figure out how many points they are going to push for in the season.  This hasn't exactly been my forte in the last couple of seasons, but here I am again, pulling out the rookies for a third post of it's kind, giving it my best go.

The entry draft this summer wasn't exactly full of hype, but the top two kids certainly will have a shot with their new teams and personally, I like Nolan Patrick's chances of a better season in Philadelphia than Nico Hischier in New Jersey.  I wouldn't necessarily say that it will be the telling point for either player's careers, but Patrick is my favourite today for the Calder Trophy.

Still, I think the biggest competition for the top rookie will come from the drafts of previous summers, as some top prospects were showcased at the end of last season and figured out what it was going to take to have a full-time job in the NHL.  There were also a few that got that look at the beginning of last season and went back to junior to work on the little things that would get them the longer look in training camp.  These are the kids we could be most excited for and we should be in for a fun season.

Let's just have ourselves a quick reminder of what qualifies a player as a rookie... "To be considered a rookie, a player must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding seasons. Any player at least 26 years of age (by September 15th of that season) is not considered a rookie."

Player Pos 17/18 Proj Team
Nolan Patrick F 60 PHI
Clayton Keller F 50 ARI
Brock Boeser F 45 VAN
Pierre-Luc Dubois F 45 CBJ
Joel Eriksson Ek F 45 MIN
Nico Hischier F 45 NJD
Dylan Strome F 45 ARI
Charles McAvoy D 40 BOS
Joshua Ho-Sang F 35 NYI
Alexander Nylander F 35 BUF
Christian Fischer F 30 ARI
Henrik Haapala F 30 FLA
John Quenneville F 30 NJD
Mikhail Sergachev D 30 TAM
Jake DeBrusk F 25 BOS
Julien Gauthier F 25 CAR
Yanni Gourde F 25 TAM
Jayce Hawryluk F 25 FLA
Miro Heiskanen D 25 DAL
Tyson Jost F 25 COL
Michael McLeod F 25 NJD
J.T. Compher F 20 COL
Frederick Gaudreau F 20 NAS
Julius Honka D 20 DAL
Olli Juolevi D 20 VAN
Adrian Kempe F 20 LOS
Danny O'Regan F 20 SAN
Juuse Saros G 20 NAS
Alex Tuch F 20 VGK
Mike Vecchione F 20 PHI
Tyler Bertuzzi F 15 DET
Madison Bowey D 15 WAS
Gabriel Carlsson D 15 CBJ
Thomas Chabot D 15 OTT
Remi Elie F 15 DAL
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson F 15 BOS
Anton Forsberg G 15 CHI
Mark Jankowski F 15 CAL
Cristoval Nieves F 15 NYR
Gemel Smith F 15 DAL
Blake Speers F 15 NJD
Evgeny Svechnikov F 15 DET
Jakub Vrana F 15 WAS
Matthew Barzal F 10 NYI
Laurent Brossoit G 10 EDM
Peter Cehlarik F 10 BOS
Markus Hannikainen F 10 CBJ
John Hayden F 10 CHI
Charles Hudon F 10 MTL
Tristan Jarry G 10 PIT
Sean Kuraly F 10 BOS
Oliver Kylington D 10 CAL
Juho Lammikko F 10 FLA
Jacob Larsson D 10 ANA
Travis Sanheim D 10 PHI
Dominik Simon F 10 PIT
Pontus Aberg F 5 NAS
Rasmus Andersson D 5 CAL
Josh Archibald F 5 PIT
Nicholas Baptiste F 5 BUF
Riley Barber F 5 WAS
Christoph Bertschy F 5 MIN
Trevor Carrick D 5 CAR
Greg Chase F 5 EDM
Blake Coleman F 5 NJD
Kyle Connor F 5 WPG
Michael Dal Colle F 5 NYI
Kurtis Gabriel F 5 MIN
A.J. Greer F 5 COL
Ben Harpur D 5 OTT
Luke Kunin F 5 MIN
Anton Lindholm D 5 COL
Ian McCoshen D 5 FLA
Sonny Milano F 5 CBJ
Andrei Mironov D 5 COL
Gustav Olofsson D 5 MIN
Ryan Pulock D 5 NYI
Chaz Reddekopp D 5 LOS
Robbie Russo D 5 DET
Jan Rutta D 5 CHI
Jordan Schmaltz D 5 STL
Duncan Siemens D 5 COL
Marcus Sorensen F 5 SAN
Daniel Sprong F 5 PIT
Adam Tambellini F 5 NYR
Sergey Tolchinsky F 5 CAR
Lucas Wallmark F 5 CAR
Colin White F 5 OTT
Valentin Zykov F 5 CAR

By my count, 254 rookies appeared in at least one game in the NHL last season, but only 15 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goalies were considered to be pool worthy among the 25 teams in my draft.  Currently, I am showing nine forwards, five defensemen and only one goalie to do the same in my projections, but your guesses are likely just as good as mine.

Oilers & Draisaitl Finally Come to Terms



The biggest of all the free agents has finally settled down and signed his new deal on Wednesday. The Edmonton Oilers and forward Leon Draisaitl have finally put pen to paper on an 8-year, $68 million deal, giving him an $8.5 million cap hit in each of those seasons, starting with this one, the 2018 season coming up.

The 21-year old broke out in a big way in the 2017 season, finishing the year with 29 goals and 77 points, playing in all 82 games with the Oilers.  That was good enough for 14th overall in pool scoring, 8th among all forwards and all things being equal, there's a fine chance that he should be up there again.

The signing, which may have taken a little longer to get done than most Oilers fans would have liked, gives the team a 1-2 punch with Connor McDavid, which rivals those of the Pittsburgh Penguins or Chicago Blackhawks, if not surpasses both currently.  Along with goaltender Cam Talbot, these three are going to be very hot commodities at the hockey pool draft next month, as you can see with the updated projections table below.

Player Pos 17/18 Proj Rookie
Connor McDavid F 105 N
Cam Talbot G 100 N
Leon Draisaitl F 75 N
Milan Lucic F 55 N
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins F 50 N
Jussi Jokinen F 45 N
Jesse Puljujarvi F 45 N
Patrick Maroon F 40 N
Oscar Klefbom D 40 N
Ryan Strome F 35 N
Mark Letestu F 30 N
Adam Larsson D 25 N
Kris Russell D 25 N
Andrej Sekera D 25 N
Zack Kassian F 20 N
Darnell Nurse D 20 N
Drake Caggiula F 15 N
Anton Slepyshev F 15 N
Matthew Benning D 10 N
Laurent Brossoit G 10 Y
Iiro Pakarinen F 5 N
Jujhar Khaira F 5 N
Mark Fayne D 5 N
Eric Gryba D 5 N
Greg Chase F 5 Y

The initial projections pretty well included Draisaitl's numbers, so there were no major changes to the overall table above.  The Oilers are going to be a formidable force in the Pacific Division this season and their playoff loss should only drive them a little bit harder to the overall successes.  Nevertheless, the Oilers will be a popular team, come draft day and I would imagine that some players may get over-valued or taken too high, so do be careful about some of these guys, especially past the top three.

The Oilers cap number isn't very concerning for the 2018 season, as I'm still showing $8.7 million in unused cap space after the Draisaitl signing yesterday.  The 2019 season, however, it gets to be awfully dicey, when McDavid's contract kicks in and they start have to tinkering with their depth, much like the Blackhawks or the Penguins do right now.  Next summer's free agents include Patrick Maroon and Darnell Nurse and the Oilers won't have a lot of extra dough for those two, when it all boils down.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cullen Goes Wild Again



It might have been really easy for Matt Cullen to hang up the ol' hockey skates, but the 40-year old, despite being a part of back-to-back Stanley Cup winning teams in Pittsburgh... isn't done yet.  Cullen, 40, will return to Minnesota to play for the Wild once again and continue on his career for at least one more season.

Cullen and the Wild agreed on a 1-year deal, which carries a $1 million salary and since it's a 35+ deal, it also carries upwards of $700,000 in bonuses.

The veteran forward should be a very good addition to this team, from a leadership perspective, already joining a team with the likes of Mikko KoivuEric Staal and Zach Parise. which will be a huge benefit to the kids, like Joel Eriksson Ek and maybe Luke Kunin as well.

Last season with the Penguins, Cullen appeared in 72 games, scored 13 goals and 31 points and was still a serviceable player for a hockey pool team at 189th among all forwards.  This season, he may not be quite as productive, given his age and the comparison of offenses between Pittsburgh and Minnesota.  Still, at the cost of this deal, it's a pretty good one for the Wild.

Player Pos 17/18 Proj Rookie
Devan Dubnyk G 100 N
Mikael Granlund F 65 N
Eric Staal F 55 N
Mikko Koivu F 55 N
Nino Niederreiter F 55 N
Zach Parise F 55 N
Charlie Coyle F 50 N
Joel Eriksson Ek F 45 Y
Ryan Suter D 45 N
Jason Zucker F 40 N
Jared Spurgeon D 35 N
Matt Dumba D 35 N
Tyler Ennis F 30 N
Matt Cullen F 25 N
Jonas Brodin D 25 N
Chris Stewart F 20 N
Alex Stalock G 15 N
Kyle Quincey D 15 N
Ryan Murphy D 15 N
Mike Reilly D 10 N
Cal O'Reilly F 5 N
Christoph Bertschy F 5 Y
Landon Ferraro F 5 N
Luke Kunin F 5 Y

With the addition of Cullen to the Wild lineup, that likely means one of the younger, less experienced players gets taken down a notch and there could be a definite rotation of players in the bottom six, dropping Luke Kunin into the rotation, pending his camp performance.  Cullen is just outside the worthiness projections early on, but he'll definitely be a player to keep an eye on, as mid-season injuries could stack up and you may need help from somewhere.

With Cullen now under contract and inserted into the projected 23-man lineup, I am showing the Wild with only about $1.6 million in unused space.  They still have a restricted free agent in Marcus Foligno to sign, but with Cullen now in tow, the absolute need for Foligno in the lineup is lessened and the Wild's negotiation platform is that much more solid.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2018 Pool Projections

I'm entirely sure what compels me to publish my own numbers, but I do.  I guess, with the amount of work that I put into the hockey pool, there is a certain level of sharing that needs to be done.  A lot of people come to the hockey pool draft with the magazines and they like to fly by the seat of their pants, but when you want to run a draft with 25 people and do it under four hours, then you have to do your best and be prepared to the point of only taking a few seconds to get it all done.

Nevertheless, I have prepared all 31 teams, given it a lot of thought, done a little bit of math and by no means are these numbers in concrete.  We still have another few weeks until training camp opens, we still have a number of free agents left to add to team pages and once training camp opens, there could be some young players that see their stock rise.

When you comb through all 31 teams, each logo below is a link to their own page, you will notice that I have some designations of being a 1st round pick in the draft to just being pool worthy.  This year, I am basing my findings on a 25-team draft, just like we had last season, so the top 25 players (and ties) are considered to be 1st round picks, which takes us to the 75-point range.  The top 200 forwards are considered pool worthy and that is 35-points and ties, the defense is the top 100, so 20 points and ties, while the goalies range in the top 50, which is 20 points and ties.

This is all based on my scoring system: 1 point for a goal/assist, 2 points for a win/shutout.  I also like to base my numbers on 5-point ranges, because arbitrarily giving odd numbers just seems crazy, you can certainly be happy with ranges, kind of picking and choosing where you think you're going to see players.

Okay, so after all of that, enjoy the projections!  Maybe there are some tidbits in there that might help you win your pool.

2018 Pool Projections: Anaheim

The Anaheim Ducks were a strong team in the 2017 season, both in the regular season and in the playoffs and that strength really stemmed from the resurgence of Ryan Getzlaf and the unflappable depth of their blueline as well.  Getzlaf and the Ducks are going to be tested once again, as things are not getting any easier in the Pacific Division, with Edmonton getting stronger and the debut season of the Vegas Golden Knights, their season will be intriguing to say the least.

The Ducks do seem to have their formula down, where they are an exceptionally tough team to play against and one that can score in the clutch moments of the game to help squeak out wins or they can score early and hang on for dear life with a good number one goalie in their crease in John Gibson.

Looking ahead to the 2018 season, the Ducks did a little bit more organizing than housecleaning in the off-season, most notably signing contract extensions, rather than shopping around for the biggest name talent on the market.  The only significant addition to the team was to the back-up goalie position, adding Ryan Miller, bringing him home to California on the cheap, which should provide very good insurance down the road, if needed.

The core group of forwards are another year older, the young scorers are another year wiser and the defense will start the season behind the 8-ball a bit (see injuries below), but overall, the Ducks do appear to be quite strong again and they should give us poolies some confidence, when we see the team name pop up on our lists at the draft.

Player Pos 17/18 Proj Rookie
Ryan Getzlaf F 70 N
John Gibson G 65 N
Corey Perry F 55 N
Ryan Kesler F 55 N
Rickard Rakell F 55 N
Jakob Silfverberg F 50 N
Patrick Eaves F 45 N
Cam Fowler D 40 N
Ryan Miller G 40 N
Andrew Cogliano F 30 N
Antoine Vermette F 30 N
Nick Ritchie F 30 N
Ondrej Kase F 25 N
Hampus Lindholm D 25 N
Sami Vatanen D 25 N
Logan Shaw F 20 N
Brandon Montour D 20 N
Josh Manson D 20 N
Korbinian Holzer D 10 N
Jacob Larsson D 10 Y
Jared Boll F 5 N
Chris Wagner F 5 N
Corey Tropp F 5 N

Table last updated on August 5th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

The Anaheim defense is what should have been the Achilles heel to their team in the playoffs last season, given that they were banged up, icing some pretty young kids night in and night out, but those kids really fought through and they nearly made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, edged out by a healthier, more powerful blueline in Nashville, but that isn't to take away from their achievements.

This leads me to picking Josh Manson as the most intriguing player on the team, who I have projected to be pool worthy on the blueline, as he will likely start to log a lot more ice-time to start the season and that will ultimately lead to bigger and better things, assuming he does well with it.

First Round Picks

The Ducks haven't quite been the offensive juggernaut they once were and their numbers have reflected that in the last season or two.  There isn't any reason why they should excel again this season and with the Pacific Division getting much more difficult to play in, scoring could be a little harder to come by.  Currently, I have no opening round picks slated for the Ducks.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

Anaheim shouldn't be too short on scoring though, I currently have the Ducks with six forwards in the conversation for the hockey pool.  Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg and the trade deadline acquisition Patrick Eaves should all get there this year.  Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase are certainly two players who could make their mark this season, but I have them as a bit of a gamble this year.

Other Pool Worthy Defense

If the playoffs were any indication, this blueline is quite good and is poised to be good for quite a while.  Cam Fowler, the injured Hampus Lindholm & Sami Vatanen, Josh Manson and Brandon Montour are all set for a good worthy year, while a kid like Gabriel Carlsson could be the kind of guy that keeps this team afloat, when the two injured blueliners are off recovering from off-season surgery.

Goaltending Situation

Both Ducks goalies are set to battle this year, as John Gibson, the number one and the grizzled veteran Ryan Miller, have both shown in the last couple of years, that they'll dig in the trenches for their team.  Miller was a good cheap pick-up in the off-season for the Ducks, just in case something goes south for the Ducks and Gibson.  Nevertheless, look to feature both of these guys in the pool this year.

Team To Pick From Late?

Your comfort level with taking Ducks, especially late, will hinge on how strong you think this team could be, especially down the stretch.  These guys will certainly skate with and grind down their opponents, but it will be their finish that goes under the microscope. There are couple more wild cards in there, as Andrew Cogliano, the league's iron man, will show up everyday, and Antoine Vermette, who is sneaky some years, sliding up and down the rankings.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

As for free agents, the Ducks have one more minor free agent left to re-sign in forward Nick Sorensen, but he is due to be more of a minor league player this season, given the depth up front.

The Ducks are currently showing $7.2 million in unused cap space with a relatively full roster under the ceiling, so they will be a big player at the trade deadline, if they can put a good season together and then push for the playoffs.

Injuries

Two major shoulder surgeries happened to the blueline, shortly after the Ducks were eliminated by the Predators in the Western Conference Finals, as both Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen underwent major surgery and they still likely have about two or three months left for their recovery, as Lindholm was 4-to-5 months at the end of May and Vatanen was "longer."

2018 Pool Projections: Arizona

At some point, this whole Arizona Coyotes thing should be turning around, right?  I would honestly say that I was somewhat excited about the Coyotes around this time last year, but they have continued to meander about and almost make it seem like they are doing something meaningful, but they seem to offer a lot more false hope, than anything else.

So, now we try to turn another page, ahead of the 2018 season.  They will have a new number one goalie, a top prospect that got a taste of the big game before the end of last season and a brand new veteran scorer, trying to infuse this team with a little get-up-and-go.

Where are all the top prospects that they had in the bag before?  They didn't emerge from training camp or the pages of all these magazines, promising bigger and better things for this team.  Really, at best, this Arizona team has taken on a couple of big contracts, added a few bargain basement names and have rallied upon the hockey gods to make sure that these kids finally break through.

If anyone would like to stand up and start making this Coyotes team worth talking about this season, they are more than welcome to, but I don't think I will be putting any of my money on it at the draft, unless I am getting someone late, who may be a bargain.

Player Pos 17/18 Proj Rookie
Derek Stepan F 55 N
Max Domi F 55 N
Oliver Ekman-Larsson D 55 N
Clayton Keller F 50 Y
Dylan Strome F 45 Y
Antti Raanta G 35 N
Louis Domingue G 35 N
Tobias Rieder F 35 N
Alex Goligoski D 35 N
Brad Richardson F 30 N
Christian Fischer F 30 Y
Christian Dvorak F 25 N
Jamie McGinn F 25 N
Jordan Martinook F 25 N
Lawson Crouse F 25 N
Nick Cousins F 25 N
Brendan Perlini F 20 N
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 15 N
Andrew Campbell D 10 N
Jakob Chychrun D 10 N
Luke Schenn D 10 N
Emerson Etem F 5 N
Zac Rinaldo F 5 N
Kevin Connauton D 5 N

Table last updated on August 13th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

There is a feeling that Dylan Strome has done all he can at the junior level, so now it is his turn to try and turn it up at the NHL level and this is a very intriguing thought.  The 3rd overall selection in 2015 has yet to make his mark in the big leagues, but with some new life coming into the roster, like Derek Stepan and Clayton Keller, there could be some new bodies to help Strome through to be a pretty good rookie this season.

This kid does appear to have a lot of the tools that he'll need in his own toolbag, but it will certainly help his cause if the line mates around him are all focused on the same goal, which will be to get the puck to the net.  If his projection is any indication, I think he has a good shot at doing some good things this year.

First Round Picks

The Coyotes don't offer up any options for the opening round of the draft this year and if the projections are any indication, we probably won't see a Coyotes player taken until Oliver Ekman-Larsson goes in the early defenseman rush, which usually follows the early starting goalie blitz.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

The question in the desert is whether or not these Coyotes have enough offense to make strides in the standings and the initial thought is no.  The confidence is still rather low, since they only have five forwards projected to be worthy and two of them are rookies and I don't see this team having the run that Toronto did with all of their rookies.  Derek Stepan, Max Domi, Clayton Keller, Dylan Strome and Tobias Rieder have their own individual upsides, but I'm just not buying into them as a collective early on.

Other Pool Worthy Defense

With very little help up front, the defense is likely going to struggle for points as well.  Ekman-Larsson still has some decent upside to him, but he won't come close to realizing his potential with this group, while Alex Goligoski will be capable of helping, but his numbers will flatten out as well.  Niklas Hjalmarsson was a pool worthy player in Chicago, but I wouldn't be very keen on adding him in an Arizona jersey right now, but he's also the closest thing to a third worthy defenseman on the team.

Goaltending Situation

With Mike Smith off to Calgary, the Coyotes will likely platoon between Louis Domingue and Antti Raanta, who came over from the Big Apple, possibly in line for some big minutes, if he can string together a few wins.  Wins are going to be a tough sell in Arizona this year, so unless you're absolutely stuck for a goalie in the draft, I would likely steer away, because it's hard to suggest a number one before camp and even harder to gauge how many wins for either of them.

Team To Pick From Late?

After all of that negativity, suggesting that you pick someone from this team late does seem a tad far fetched.  But, there is a lot of young talent on this team and they'll be fairly scrappy, something that is hard to add to the projections.  These young players are on the cusp of worthiness with their projections and there are players like Lawson Crouse, Christian Dvorak and Nick Cousins, that could explode early on this season and run with it.  They are definite long shots, but they could become huge bargain picks, if they do.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

Only one major restricted free agent is left on the board and that is forward Anthony Duclair, who had a decent year in 2016, but really fell off last season and that could certainly hinder the potential for a big deal.  The Coyotes could always use his grit on the ice, but he's going to have to show some finesse here soon, because the depth of this team is coming up behind him quickly.

Even with Dave Bolland's $5.5 million on the books and his inevitable placement on the Injured Reserve, the Coyotes still have well over $17 million in unused cap space before the season starts.  I can't see this team stringing a lot of wins together, so they could do well to add those bad contract assets at some point in the season, trying to collect more draft picks to build from the prospect level up.

Injuries

Off-season ankle surgery should have sidelined forward Tobias Rieder for the better part of the summer already and if the initial timetables were about right, he should either be starting to get back on the ice for his workouts now or coming up in the next couple of weeks.  Either way, barring any setbacks, it sounds like he should be good to go for camp.  Jacob Chychrun suffered a knee injury a couple of weeks ago and had to undergo surgery, we're still waiting to hear just how bad that injury is, but by the look of it, it may hamper him from starting the season, so you may want to adjust your projections accordingly.

2018 Pool Projections: Boston

The Boston Bruins have quietly retooled a good portion of their team, infusing their team from within their own system and they have made some smaller, shrewd signings here and there to help the team win right away.  It had worked pretty well for the 2017 version of the team, which managed to make the playoffs again, after some key players stepped up their game and younger players filled some voids in well.

The 2018 season will carry a couple more expectations, as their youth is starting to flourish, more and more, and it won't be a very well kept secret for very much longer.

As the roster stands right now, it looks like they'll have a good influx of young players occupying some key spots in the lineup, mixed in with some of the regular contributors.  It will be the leadership capabilities of Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand, which will aid and guide this team appropriately.  With that kind of leadership core, I think it's fair to assume that this team is in capable hands this season, but the growing pains of youth are somewhat unpredictable, but we're giving it our best shot.

Player Pos 17/18 Proj Rookie
Tuukka Rask G 100 N
Brad Marchand F 75 N
David Krejci F 60 N
Patrice Bergeron F 60 N
Torey Krug D 50 N
Ryan Spooner F 45 N
David Backes F 40 N
Charles McAvoy D 40 Y
Zdeno Chara D 30 N
Jake DeBrusk F 25 Y
Matt Beleskey F 20 N
Brandon Carlo D 20 N
Riley Nash F 15 N
Frank Vatrano F 15 N
Tim Schaller F 15 N
Noel Acciari F 15 N
Kevan Miller D 15 N
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson F 15 Y
Anton Khudobin G 15 N
Adam McQuaid D 10 N
Paul Postma D 10 N
Sean Kuraly F 10 Y
Peter Cehlarik F 10 Y

Table last updated on August 5th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

Probably one of the players I am most excited about at this draft is the young Charlie McAvoy, here in Boston.  The rookie defenseman made his NHL debut in the playoffs and certainly didn't look out of place on the ice, even if he didn't hit the scoresheet too often.  In six games played, the bulky defender still registered 3 assists, so he has some offensive pop to his game and in the lesser checking days of the regular season, we might get to see him open up.

McAvoy, along with fellow young defender, Brandon Carlo, are making sure that the Bruins are well stocked on the blueline these days and there should be plenty of optimism, if it only comes from the back end.

First Round Picks

The Bruins will offer a couple of solid players to be taken early in the draft, starting goalie Tuukka Rask could be in for one of his best years and forward Brad Marchand will try to follow up on a solid 2017 campaign with another big effort.  I don't see Marchand replicating his 2017 season, but I still figure it's going to be a very good year, one that the Bruins will ride back into the playoffs on.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

The forward group in behind Marchand all seemed to tail off a bit last season, so they are certainly in line for a bounce back season.  Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Ryan Spooner and David Backes will be among the veteran group that the Bruins are going to count on for offense this year.  All four had fairly down seasons, Bergeron most notably, who saw a 15-point drop from 2016 to 2017, and he wasn't able to capitalize on the successes that Marchand had in the year, despite being on his line for the better part of the season.

Other Pool Worthy Defense

The anchors on the Bruins defense, Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara, should still be fairly strong, even if Chara is due to turn 41 in March.  They'll be guiding the future of this team's blueline, McAvoy and Carlo, making all four of these guys worthy players to look at this season.  Krug should be able to keep pace, Chara's numbers may continue to decline, but these kids look like they are going to be special and if you can snake one of them, your blueline certainly shouldn't let you down.

Goaltending Situation

Anton Khudobin is back as the number two guy for the Bruins and one would have to think that he is going to see about the same amount of action as he did last season, which was only 16 appearances.  He may not be a very good back-up option, if you're in need of one this season, unless the unforeseen happens.

Team To Pick From Late?

Rookies Jake DeBrusk and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson are looking like they are going to make the roster for the Bruins and in doing so, could be someone to look at in those later rounds, especially if you're hoping that the rookie pool comes up on the wheel this year.  Besides those two, the depth is somewhat questionable for offense in Boston, but they'll provide quality minutes to help this team win.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

There's a big piece of the puzzle still left out of place in Boston and that's forward David Pastrnak.  The restricted free agent was a 70-point player last season, scoring 34 goals, and if you take that out of the lineup, the team is going to suffer.  I have the Bruins in with plenty of unused space heading into the season, $7.7 million, but I'm sure they don't want to scoop up too much of that with this one deal, trying to leave themselves some flexibility for the season and/or the deadline.

Injuries

A knee injury really did in David Krejci's playoffs, after what was such a good healthy regular season for one of the forward leaders of the group.  It sounded like that if the Bruins could make it past the Senators, he would have played further, so we'll assume he'll be ready to go for camp.  Defenseman Brandon Carlo was also disappointed by missing the playoffs, he was suffering from a concussion and couldn't quite jump into the lineup.  Sounds like he should be ready to go for camp as well.  Off-season groin surgery should ensure that Tuukka Rask should be ready for the start of the regular season, having it way back in May, that should be more than enough time for him to be ready.  Patrice Bergeron is another one of the full-time Bruins that needed off-season surgery and his was for a sports hernia, but he too, should be ready for the start of the season.  Torey Krug's MCL sprain that forced him from the playoffs shouldn't be anything to worry about either, it gets a mention since it is a serious injury.