Scouting The Atlantic Division: Boston Bruins


As the season gets ready to kick off, The Rat Trick will break down each divisional opponent.

Thanks to the way the tiebreaker is set up, the Boston Bruins missed the playoffs despite finishing the season with more wins than the Detroit Red Wings, who came in third in the Atlantic division.

It was the fact that the Red Wings’ finished with 39 wins in regulation, compared to Boston’s 38 that was the deciding factor.


Biggest Addition – David Backes, Free Agency

Biggest Lost – Loui Eriksson, Free Agency

The forward group will be led once again by centers David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, maybe the most underappreciated pivot duo in the league. Bergeron, one of the league’s best defensive forwards, was once again a finalist for the Selke Trophy. Krejci could easily be a number center on most team’s in the league, and depending how you look at it, he might already be.

He led the team in assist a year ago, finishing with 46. Of all players in the top 20 in that category, Krejci played in the second fewest games (72).

The emergence of Brad Marchand as a legitimate goal scoring threat not only helped out a major problem for them two years ago, but also landed him a huge eight year contract this offseason. Leading the recent World Cup of Hockey in goals shows that his 37 from last year was no fluke. It will also help offset the loss of Eriksson, who registered more than 30 himself last year.

Backes’ style of play fits perfectly in Boston, but there weren’t many who were happy with his contract terms (5 years, $30 million), considering his age (32) and his declining point totals. But should the Bruins make the playoffs, Backes has proven to be an impactful player with his style of play, even without the points.

People recognize names like Marchand, Krejci, and Bergeron without a problem, but the young David Pastrnak might currently slip through the cracks of your average fan. That may not be for long though. The 21 year old forward registered 15 goals last season in just 51 games and in a contract year, could be extra motivated to break out.

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More ice time is all that may be needed, as among all forwards to play at least 500 minutes at even strength, only Alexander Ovechkin and Jason Spezza scored at a higher clip (Pastrnak scored at a 1.27 Goals-per-60 minutes mark).


No Notable Additions

Losses – Dennis Seidenberg, Buyout

Sometimes it is a good thing to bring back your entire blue line. For the Bruins, that is remained to be seen. While Chara remains the leader of the defensive group, that may be just for the fact that there isn’t another viable name to take his spot.

Chara was once a true blue force in the league, but with teams looking to blow by each using speed, the big Slovak is being left behind. Torey Krug is a perfect fit for the new NHL, but it has yet to be seen if he can be a true number one defenseman.

There is no question about it offensively, as his 40 assists were good for ninth best among all defenseman. His goal scoring took a huge drop (ten or more goals his first two full seasons, down to four last year), but his 1.6 shooting % is to blame and you would have to think it isn’t a repeatable number going forward.

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The Bruins also bring back Colin and Kevan Miller, John Michael Liles, Joe Morrow and Adam McQuaid back to the mix. They have done a good job stockpiling talent in the prospect pipeline, but some are a few years away from contributing, so it will be up to this group to hold down the fort till then.


Addition – Anton Khudobin, Free Agency

Losses – Jonas Gustavsson, Free Agency

Having Tuukka Rask in net always gives the Bruins a chance to win, but without a solid defense up front, he showed to be more human than usual. The 29 year old Finnish goaltender posted the worst numbers as a NHL regular. While a 2.56 GAA and .915 SV% isn’t the worse numbers to have, it is noticeable under his career averages (2.24 GAA, .924 SV%).

After allowing Gustavsson to walk via free agency, the Bruins brought back former backup Khudobin, who spent two years behind Rask back in 2011 and 2012. He turned that into a starting job in Carolina that never actually was his, before heading to Anaheim just to get banished to the minors.

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Of course, the hope is that Malcolm Subban – a former first round pick – would step up and take the backup spot, he has struggled to find his way to the NHL, and suffered a gruesome throat injury after taking a puck to the neck.

He returns this year as likely the first goaltender to get a callup should Boston need an extra goalie. Of course, if Subban runs away with the backup job in preseason, the near 23 year old certainly has the opportunity to stick around the big league club.

It should be noted that even though the Bruins were technically in the draft lottery, they are still a team to watch. Florida’s record against them a year ago (1-2-1) should be a testament to that.

With Bergeron, Krejci, and Rask in town, they will always be a threat, but the real question will be whether or not the defense can limit the amount of golden opportunities in front of their netminder.

For all your FanSided coverage of the Bruins throughout the season, head over to Causeway Crowd.