Thursday, September 6, 2018

Boston Bruins 2018-19 season preview



         Consistency has been pretty big for the Boston Bruins in the 2010s. They've eclipsed 90 points every year. They've won a Presidents trophy (2013-14), They've appeared in two Stanley Cup finals in 2011 and 2013, and they won it all in 2011. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Tuuka Rask are still there, but there is a crop of new Bruins ready to take the reigns. First, let's look at some fast facts for the Boston Bruins.

Head Coach: Bruce Cassidy
General Manager: Don Sweeney
Arena: TD Garden
AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins
2017-18 record: 50-20-12 (112 points)
2017-18 placement: 2nd
Division: Atlantic
2017-18 goals leader: David Pastrnak (35)
2017-18 assists leader: Brad Marchand (51)
2017-18 points leader: Brad Marchand (85)
2017-18 points leader (defenseman): Torey Krug (59)
Captain: Zdeno Chara
Assistant Captains: Patrice Bergeron, David Krecji
2018 first round pick: None (Took Axel Andersson in 2nd round)

Offseason additions: John Moore, Jaroslav Halak, Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner.

Offseason subtractions: Rick Nash, Riley Nash, Nick Holden, Anton Khudobin, Tim Schaller, Tommy Wingels, Brian Gionta, Paul Postma.

Forwards: Even though he played in just 68 games, the pesky Brad Marchand scored 85 points in a great season. At age 21, David Pastrnak added 80 points. Patrice Bergeron had 63 points in 64 games. At ages 21 and 20 respectively, Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk combined for 90 points. David Krejci and David Backes missed a lot of games, combining for just 77 points. Ryan Donato scored nine points, including five goals in 12 games after returning from the Olympics. Him and top prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson are expected to have good seasons on the third line, but they'll have to make the team first. Joakim Nordstrom and Chris Wagner, the two offense additions, are fourth liners who will be healthy scratches a lot.

Forward lines:

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Danton Heinen
Ryan Donato - Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson - David Backes
Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari - Anders Bjork
Others: Chris Wagner, Joakim Nordstrom

Defenseman: After scoring nearly 60 points, Torey Krug showed why he is a top 20 blueliner in the league. Charlie McAvoy produced a solid rookie season, with 32 points in 62 games. Now over 40, Zdeno Chara is aging, but is still playing top 2 minutes for them. John Moore is an addition they didn't need, as Matt Grzelcyk is pushed out of the lineup.

Defensive pairs:

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
John Moore - Kevan Miller
Other: Matt Grzelcyk, Adam McQuaid

Goalies: With a .917 SV% and 2.36, Tuuka Rask is not exactly elite. But, he is still above average among the other starting goaltenders. After starting with the Islanders, Jaroslav Halak is now settling into a backup role with the Bruins.

Goalie alignment:

Tuuka Rask
Jaroslav Halak
Other: Zane McIntyre

Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Brad Marchand
David Pastrnak
Patrice Bergeron
Torey Krug
Ryan Donato

Playoffs: Yes
Division spot: 2nd
I think the Bruins will be eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.

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