It’s already August, and we are finally starting to approach the one month mark until NHL preseason action begins.
The Bruins have their first preseason game on September 18th, with a good ol’ fashioned original six matchup, against the Habs at Videotron Centre in Quebec City.
So, get ready to take those nights off work and clear those schedules!
This past offseason, GM Don Sweeney raised some eyebrows (mine included) regarding how he used our cap space and did nothing to benefit our team for the upcoming season.
If you start to look at the offseason transactions, they aren’t that bad.
Yes, we didn’t gain much of anything, but it still isn’t too bad.
First, the biggest loss (in my opinion) was probably Dominic Moore, who signed a one year, one million dollar contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Moore was probably one of my favorite pick ups of the last off season and proved to be very valuable to the Bruins’ fourth line this season. I haven’t seen the fourth line this decent and consistent since the “Merlot Line” of Paille, Campbell, and Thornton. Moore played in all 82 games this season, finishing with 11 goals and 14 points.
Here is what I like:
While Sweeney didn’t acquire much of anything this season, the team showed flashes of a playoff contending team last season. The lines that were once inconsistent are now starting to gel, and David Backes and Riley Nash (2 of last off-season’s pickups) are starting to be very valuable. The Bruins also have a good amount of prospects in Providence (like Gabrielle and Kuraly) who can benefit by doing some time in the NHL this upcoming season.
I also kind of like the contract for Ryan Spooner, the one-year, 2.85 million one. Spooner wasn’t super impactful this past season, but he is someone I still enjoy having on this team. The one year contact is a “show off” contract, and hopefully, that can be what he needs to motivate himself to score more and work harder hopefully. He finished with 11 goals and 39 points this season in 78 games.
The NCAA talent we have coming this coming season is super exciting. We were able to see Charlie McAvoy do his thing in the playoffs, and see JFK in a game last season also. We are also super lucky that Anders Bjork concludes his college career and sign with the Bruins. The Bruins are starting to go younger like the league is, and it is something we have been waiting for.
Here is what I (DON)’t like:
you like the pun, don’t you?
Also, we still have Anton Khudobin on the roster for one more year. While I enjoy the fact that we are going to have depth in the goal but is it really necessary?
In the system, we have Tuukka (who obviously is the starting goaltender), Dobby, Malcolm Subban (who kind of needs to develop a lil more), and Zane McIntyre. We also have a young prospect in Daniel Valdar. Both Subban and McIntyre signed contracts this offseason, both 2-year, 1.3 million.
Subban has been in the system for a while now, when is it his chance to shine?
Goalies take a while to develop to be NHL caliber, but leaving one in the AHL long enough can stunt development and growth (see: Jack Campbell). Subban did play a game in the NHL this season, but McIntyre could prove to be the next future backup after playing in 8 games with a better GAA and SV% than Subban. But, I would love to see Subban maybe play a game or two of NHL action this season to see what he has been working on and for him to know what needs to be worked on. Also, it would allow other teams to look at him in the NHL scene if he was ever to be used for trade bait.
Not gonna lie, next year’s free agent list looks pretty awesome.
With all the Bruins chatter rounded up, let’s discuss the line predictions for the upcoming season!
As for the first line, Bergy and Marchy gotta stay together. The Bruins need that chemistry to have a successful first line. Bjork would be great on the right wing and can compliment Bergeron’s defensive play. We could also see Pasta and Bjork switch places throughout the season, as the lines with them switched could work perfectly as well. Bjork might need to be eased into the NHL with a top line with Bergeron and Marchand.
For the second line, Krejci needs consistency. However. I believe that Beleskey gonna have a bounce back year after showing inconsistency last year. Many people forgot that both Krejci and Beleskey were either hurt or recovering from injury last season. Having Pasta and Krejci together is great too, and they also showed great chemistry. As I said, Krejci needs consistency to stay consistent himself. Pastrnak has played with Krejci multiple times, and they have shown great chemistry.
The third line is always a mixed bag. Spooner and Vatrano are still trying to prove themselves into the lineup, and Backes is trying to show that he is worth his massive contract. I like Backes with Spooner because he provides that defensive support that Spooner may need, and can take defensive zone face-offs if needed.
The fourth line is meant for grit and physicality, not showing prospects and giving them a chance to grow. But, last season proved that the fourth line could have a good amount of chemistry and offensive play. This line played together last season, and it was shown to work. Nash is a very reliable, and not flashy, but he plays the offensive game well. Acciari is somewhat new to the NHL game and was injured for a good chunk of the season. Schaller is a great center that can bring it together like he did last season. I hope to keep this line consistent for not just the season, but next season also.
The first pairing of Chara and McAvoy is very similar to the Chara-Carlo pairing last season. Chara is the best veteran defenseman, and as a veteran, he needs that young gun to mentor. Charlie McAvoy is that young gun. McAvoy proved to be good in the games he played in the NHL last season and has shown that he is ready for the NHL.
Torey Krug has to have a bigger, physical defenseman on his pairing due to his sparks of offense and size. This pairing of Krug and Carlo can prove to work for the team. Carlo is a defenseman that, along with McAvoy, is showing the fans a glimpse of what the future can look like for the Bruins.
Kind of like the fourth line, we have that 3rd pairing which is useful, but also made with more grit and physicality than the other two. Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid fit the bill and prove to be deadly together.
The goalies are rather easy and common sense.
Tuukka is going to be number one, with Anton Khudobin as the backup.
We could see the Backup goalies rotating, like this past season. As I mentioned before, it would be good to see more of McIntyre and Subban, just to see a sneak peek of what the future can look like. Khudobin’s contract expires after this year, and I honestly don’t see him being re-signed in Boston.
That is the preview for the 2017-18 preview!
Making lines is kinda like Tetris, you want to have the players in places that make sense, while also utilizing their skills properly.
I’m pretty stoked for this season; the past season looked promising, and the offseason kind of went by fast, which is good.
See you next month!