In 2016-17, the Boston Bruins carried the second best CorsiFor% (54.3) in the NHL but narrowly made the playoffs and were eliminated in the first round by the Ottawa Senators.
This summer was an uneventful one for the Bruins, who didn’t add any big names, but also didn’t lose much—other than Colin Miller to Vegas in the Expansion Draft. Miller appeared in 103 NHL games with the Bruins over the last two seasons and is poised for a nice season in Vegas, but became expendable thanks to the arrival of former first round pick (No.14 overall in 2016) Charlie McAvoy. The 19-year-old turned pro after finishing his second season at Boston University and posted three assists in six playoff games. McAvoy could move right into the Bruins’ top-4 because he plays a sound two-way game and brings enough offence to be a factor on the power-play and make a fantasy impact this season.
Brandon Carlo was the Bruins’ rookie defenseman who made the jump last year and impressed in big minutes alongside Zdeno Chara. Carlo appeared in all 82 games, averaging 20:49 TOI/GM and picking up 16 points (6G / 10A). Chara’s days of fantasy relevance appear to be behind him, but Torey Krug still carries plenty of value. The 26-year-old set a new career-high in points (51) last season, but wasn’t able to get back to double-digit goals after scoring just four goals in 2015-16.
In between the pipes, Tuukka Rask remains as the No.1 and Anton Khudobin is back to battle with Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre for the backup job. Rask played much better in 2016-17 after a tough 2015-16 season and is set to be a No.1 fantasy netminder this season. Over the last four seasons, Rask ranks second in the NHL in wins (138), tied for fourth in SV% (.921) and tied for seventh in GAA (2.29).
The biggest concern for the Bruins is that RFA winger David Pastrnak remains unsigned. The Bruins have reportedly offered Pastrnak a long-term contract with an AAV of $6.0 million, but Pastrnak has not agreed to those terms. The Bruins are in a tough spot after Pastrnak watched fellow 2014 draft pick Leon Draisaitl (No.3 overall) sign an eight-year deal worth $68.0M ($8.5M AAV) in mid-August. Pastrnak is coming off of a 34-goal, 36-assist (70 points) campaign and is a solid second round fantasy selection if he signs before training camp.
The Bruins forward group is led by veterans Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and David Backes. After exploding for 37 goals and 61 points in 2015-16, Marchand proved that it wasn’t a fluke as he recorded career-highs in goals (39), assists (46) and points (85) last year. Marchand has elevated himself into a second round fantasy pick, while Bergeron remains a safe pick a few rounds later—he is a lock for 20-goals, 30-assists and has 30-30 upside.
With Marchand breaking out two years ago, Pastrnak blowing up last season, who will it be in Boston this season? It could be Frank Vatrano. The 23-year-old has recorded an impressive 38 goals and 19 assists (57 points) in 38 AHL games over the last two seasons, but has yet to become a difference maker in the NHL. Vatrano is a strong kid with a good shot, who could bust out if he lands a consistent top-6 role in the Bruins’ offence.
After missing the playoffs in 2015 and 2016, the Bruins got back to the postseason last year and should battle for a Wild Card spot in 2017-18. The Bruins have a tonne of offence in the top-6, but their bottom-6 needs some help and Chara’s play on the back-end continues to deteriorate. At the end of the day, Rask will keep them competitive and they have more than enough offence to fight for a playoff spot.
- Boston Bruins
Fantasy Rankings (Top 350)
- David Pastrnak-#21 (#4 RW)
- Brad Marchand-#24 (#3 LW)
- Tuukka Rask-#48 (#11 G)
- Patrice Bergeron-#55 (#14 C)
- Torey Krug-#99 (#20 D)
- David Krejci-#100 (#29 C)
- Charlie McAvoy-#190 (#45 D)
- David Backes-#220 (#42 RW)
- Frank Vatrano-#276 (#52 LW)
- Ryan Spooner-#326 (#72 C)