Saturday, August 31, 2013

2014 Pool Projections: Boston

The Boston Bruins continue to be favourites for some hardware for the 2014 season, as their core has been kept together and with some tinkering, they have managed to keep some continuity, which definitely helps from season to season.

The Bruins tinkering may need to continue, however, since they are still right up against the new cap ceiling without even carrying a full roster.  As of right now, they are a couple of forwards and a goalie short of having a playable roster and they have less than an NHL minimum salary to spare, so something is going to have to change.

Nevertheless, with that little bit of tinkering, the Bruins could very well be in the mix again for some wins and are a likely team to get lots of points for your hockey pool team.

Team Table (Players sorted by 2013 points)

Pool Worthy Forwards (35+ Points)

I think one of the most interesting things about the Bruins is their lack of a real top end point-getter and their scoring by committee ideal.  There are guys that can put pucks in the net and there are guys who can dish it out, but there isn't that one guy who is out there to chase a scoring title.  This works and it has been working for a few years now.

Even with the addition of an aging Jarome Iginla, I cannot see a guy that will really step up the chase, so I wouldn't put a lot of stock in the Boston forwards, until they come into their zone in the draft.  David Krejci is likely the most appealing player, but I wouldn't choose him too high.  Brad Marchand broke out in the lockout season, but I don't see him being the guy to push too hard, scoring-wise, he'll be too busy being himself on the ice.  Earmark Patrice Bergeron for a good season, while newcomer Loui Eriksson will make an impression and Milan Lucic will continue to steamroll opponents.

But talking about cap problems, I get the feeling it will be the forward group that will take the hit, trying to fit more talent under the cap.  There is a lot of cap space taken up from the front lines, which may make it easier to move.

Pool Worthy Defensemen (20+ Points)

Where you could make a solid contribution to your pool team is from the Bruins' blueline, as they have a few guys on the list that may compliment your line-up well.  There is no question that Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are pool usuals, but looking at guys like Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug could be the guys that make a real push and put you over.  Krug really showed off his stuff in the playoffs and that stuff looked really solid.  If the Bruins show a little bit of confidence in him, it could go a long ways.

Pool Worthy Goalies (25+ Points)

The Bruins are going to be riding on the shoulders of Tuukka Rask again this season and for good reason... he has played well in Tim Thomas' wake.  Rask only finished 21st in pool scoring last season, but the Bruins did get off to somewhat of a rocky start in the sprint to the finish that was the shortened season, but with that season under his belt, he should give a performance that will likely keep him in the conversation for the Vezina.

As for his back-up... well, the smart money is on Chad Johnson, since he has the smallest cap hit and the most NHL experience of the bunch, but there will still be a training camp and some trades to make before that gets decided.

Breakout Players

Breaking out for some teams is different than other teams and I think breaking out for the Bruins would be considered to be that guy that puts 110% into every shift and does the little things right most games, not necessarily scoring.  It will be interesting to see what comes out of camp, but with the talent they have waiting in the wings, it will likely be one of those guys fighting for a spot that does the trick.  Not too sure if that guy is really going to be pool-worthy though.

Key Injuries

The only key injury on their books is still Marc Savard, who missed all of last season with his concussion problems and between his health and the cap issues, I don't foresee him coming back any time soon, despite what he might say going forward.  The Bruins can't afford to put him out there if he isn't 100%, nor can they afford to put him out there, period.

Unsigned Players

Everyone is present and accounted for... much to the chagrin of the cap accountant.

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