If there is one division that has gotten better during the off-season, it is the Atlantic Division. You saw teams such as the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and the Toronto Maple Leafs go out and get players to bolster the clubs. The Tampa Bay Lightning kept its core intact and the Florida Panthers pulled off Matthew Tkachuk. One team that seems to be lagging behind is the Boston Bruins. Despite swapping Erik Haula for Pavel Zacha, the club has not made any drastic moves and could find itself falling behind the pack. The Boston Bruins still have good players that can keep this team in a good spot. It just remains to be seen.
Boston Bruins Need Players To Step Up
The Boston Bruins need players to step up to the plate. The Bruins have had to go through a brutal off-season regarding terrible news. Don Sweeney fired Bruce Cassidy and replaced him with Jim Montgomery. Once the playoffs ended, the Bruins found out they would be without key players to begin the year. Charlie McAvoy, Brad Marchand, and Matt Grzelcyk will all be unavailable for the first three months to start the year after going through surgery.
Despite the slew of injuries to key players, the Bruins will need players to step up big in their absence. As the roster is currently constructed, the Bruins now have Bergeron signed. While David Krejci is looking to come back, no traction has been made. Those are huge shoes to fill, and you can say the shoe for Krejci did not get filled last season.
With a stacked division where almost every club improved, the Bruins must stay afloat to remain in the playoff picture. All over the lineup, the club will need players to step up. We will examine which players the Bruins need to step up to remain in the thick of things as they cannot afford a bad start.
He is the first and foremost of Boston Bruins players to be relied on. McAvoy is the franchise defenceman on the back end and is the stallion workhorse. But with him out, Lindholm will need to pick up the slack. He has proven in the past he can handle first pair minutes. He did that with his former team the Anaheim Ducks and is also McAvoy’s partner on the back end.
Lindholm is not the most gifted player in terms of developing offence. However, what he is good at doing is defending. He limits his opposition from generating much off the rush and forces more dump-ins than anything. Lindholm is a good stay-at-home defenceman and good in transition. He is a player that is great on the penalty kill and his shut-down ability is something the Bruins will need to rely on. With McAvoy on the shelf for the first three months, Lindholm will be the number one guy on the back end.
Went back and tracked the 89 playoff games this postseason. Then wrote all about it @EPRinkside
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) July 27, 2022
Upon his arrival in Boston, Lindholm had five assists in 10 games and finished the year with five goals, 22 assists, and 27 points. He finished second in points among Bruins defenders. Lindholm finished with a Corsi For Percentage of 48%. He averaged 22:30 TOI and that will be huge once the season starts. Over his career, he has notched 57 goals and 164 assists, totaling 221 points. Throughout his career, from a possession standpoint, Lindholm has a career Corsi For Percentage (CF%) at 50.8 percent.
Losing McAvoy hurts more than anything, but having a guy like Lindholm anchor the back end goes a long way for the Boston Bruins. Brandon Carlo is the shutdown player and Mike Reilly will step up in place of Matt Grzelcyk.
Bergeron and Krejci have been the 1-2 punch for over a decade. With only Bergeron in the fold as of right now, the hole at the centre position is glaring. The Bruins will need huge contributions at the position, and one player that will need to elevate their game is Charlie Coyle.
— The Patriot Ledger (@PatriotLedger) July 29, 2020
If Coyle can return to his form when he first arrived in Boston, that would go a long way. When he came in that trade from Minnesota, Coyle scored six points in 21 games. He would become a hero in Boston with his playoff performance, highlighted by his overtime goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets. His 16 points in 24 games earned him his long-term deal.
The Weymouth, Mass. native has shown inconsistent gaps in his game and has not exceeded the expectations that are set for him. In 2019-20 he managed 37 points in 70 games, and a lowly 16-point year in 51 games. This past season he was himself again, having his best year in the black and gold.
He went on to score 16 goals, 28 assists, and 44 points. Coyle was good for fifth among forwards in points and he was solid in the faceoff circle winning 49.1% of his faceoffs and finishing with a CF% of 52%. The centre gets to the high danger areas had a High Danger expected goal of 10.07.
With Bergeron just signing a one-year deal, Coyle becomes the clear-cut second-line centre. It is a tall task for the player, but the way the roster is currently constructed, the Bruins will be relying on him come October.
For a player that takes a lot of heat in the city of Boston, DeBrusk had a good year for himself. For a guy that put in a trade request to having time spent in the press box and living in Cassidy’s dog house, the kid never stopped playing for the spoked B and being a Bruin.
This was his best season points-wise since the 2018-19 season. DeBrusk scored beyond his expected rate, finishing with 25 goals, 17 assists, and 42 points. He would go on to score eight-game winners and average 2.18 points per 60 minutes.
He went on to rescind his trade request and even went on to sign a two-year extension. With Marchand on the shelf to start the year, DeBrusk will be counted on for goals as scoring will be needed.
With Marchand out, Hall automatically slides up to the top line as the top left winger on the team. He has made a home for himself in Boston. Upon arrival, he tallied 14 points in 16 games. Hall would form a tandem on a line with David Pastrnak and Haula, he became a large part of the Bruins’ offence. The winger would score 20 goals, 41 assists, and 61 points in 81 games played. Taylor Hall finished fifth of the team in goals, and a player of his calibre will be something new coach Jim Montgomery will rely on.
The newest member of the Bruins could be in line for big responsibility. Now while Coyle takes charge of the second line, someone will need to patrol the third and provide depth scoring. Zacha can play both centre and wing, he could be in line for top six duty.
Montgomery has a thing with getting the most out of younger players and the change of scenery could benefit the forward. With the New Jersey Devils, Zacha went on to score 15 goals, 21 assists, and 36 points. It was a career year for the forward. He could catch fire by playing with elite wingers such as David Pastrnak or Taylor Hall.
The Bruins have holes on the back end, but none other than at the centre position.
The Boston Bruins need players to step up. A lot of this season hinges on a hot start with key players out due to injury. While these two clearly bring stability down gdb middle, the team needs all the help it can get. With how loaded the Eastern Conference was last season and with how much better the division got, the team will need to tread water and stay afloat until everyone returns. Contributions will need to come from everywhere and this team cannot afford passengers or a slow start.