Young centers David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron led the team in scoring with 52 points each.
That sentence alone scared fantasy general managers into rostering almost no Bruins forwards once it became apparent that the team had a problem scoring. Unlike the year before where the team held three successful scoring lines, injuries and regression hurt most of their chemistry.
This ineffectiveness led to the team acquiring Nathan Horton and drafting blue chip prospect Tyler Seguin during this offseason which should help them exponentially. Essentially the Bruins lacked the top line from their previous team: Marc Savard, Milan Lucic and Phil Kessel. Instead of retooling last season, they tried to replace Kessel with Michael Ryder and Miroslav Satan while Lucic and Savard spent most of the year on injured reserve.
In addition, Marco Sturm led all forwards in goals with 22 but could miss significant playing time with an ACL tear. His production could be replaced easily by a player the team has been trying to trade all offseason.
If healthy, Savard could return to previous markers. For the past five seasons the veteran playmaker averaged way over a point-per-game. He could be worth a flier much like Daniel Briere and Patrick Sharp were entering this season. A veteran with a history of scoring and surviving injury would be an excellent gamble.
Seguin may also be a nice addition to your roster if he can post similar numbers to Matt Duchene or James van Riemsdyk. He may not be completely NHL ready but the Bruins signed him with hopes of some consistent secondary scoring. If Blake Wheeler, who came in third amongst scoring forwards last season, can gain consistency himself with better linemates this Bruins team should once again be an offensive powerhouse.
Even though there was little-to-no value in the forward corps, the defense played well above expectations.
Zdeno Chara leads this team in every facet and makes his partner instantly fantasy relevant. Two years ago, Chara played next to Dennis Wideman leading to a breakout season from the former Blue. This past season Dennis Seidenberg, Derek Morris and Johnny Boychuk all saw increases in their production over stretches just by playing next to the big man.
Because Claude Julien rotates his pairings relatively often, a sentimental attachment to his partner should never happen. Last season, four different players found themselves in that role. Expect Seidenberg or Boychuk to begin the season next to Chara and roll with the changes.
Also keep in mind that when this team goes strong, their defense consistently jumps into the play. Even Mark Stuart, Matt Hunwick and Andrew Ference gave value to owners over the last two seasons and Wideman led the team in scoring during the playoffs. In short, the system favors defensemen who enjoy actively jumping into the play which boosts assists and plus/minus.
Tuukka Rask shocked the hockey world by playing an at an elite level. Although somehow not even nominated for the Calder Trophy, the rookie finished first in the league in GAA and SV%. Since nobody expected such an outcome anyone who picked him up finished near the top in all goalie categories.
With the same coach and minimal downgrades to the defense, Rask will be put in a position to succeed. If he falters at any point, the team will turn to former Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas. The competition may be more than enough to keep him playing at a heightened level.
On the Bench:
Claude Julien favors the defense and goaltending but really got the most out of his team last season. He taught his player how to win as they surprisingly stood tall down the stretch and then made a decent playoff push. With more talented forwards, he should retain his job for the foreseeable future while improving the offense next season.
The Bottom Line:
This team should be a playoff team and have only helped their chances with shrewd moves. If Sturm sits most of the season and Michael Ryder gets demoted to Providence, the Bruins will become much younger and stronger in the future. Numerous players are due for bounce back seasons and this team may be good enough to take their division. They showed Buffalo last season during the season that they still were a threat, they should show the rest of the league once again next year.