Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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.
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