The Boston Bruins forced Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals but fell one win short of the seventh Championship in franchise history.
The Bruins have made the playoffs in three straight seasons and have made the finals in three of the last nine seasons (one Stanley Cup).
With just $8.8M of projected cap-space (per puckpedia.com) and RFA defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo still unsigned, the Bruins didn’t have a lot of money to go free-agent shopping with. That means they will look very similar to last year. Their only notable acquisitions are Brett Ritchie (1 year, $1.0M AAV) and Par Lindholm (2 years, $1.7M AAV) and both don’t move the needle much.
Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak grades out as the No.1 line in hockey according to Corsica Player Ratings. BOS1 dominated the opposition in 2019, carrying a 56.04 CorsiFor%, 53.85 GoalsFor% and 56.33 ScoringChancesFor% at 5v5. Head coach Bruce Cassidy broke up moved Pastrnak to the second line a few times in an attempt to balance out their lineup, but still played 73.9 percent of his regular-season ice-time with Marchand.
The Bruins are thin on the right-side but loaded at left-wing and center, so it will be interesting to see how Cassidy organizes his lines to start the season.
- — Marchand’s fantasy stock continues to rise with each passing season. In 2019, he scored 30-plus goals for the fourth straight season and recorded 85-plus points for the third consecutive year. Over those three years, Marchand is fifth in points (270), seventh in goals (109) and tied for 13th in power-play points (81). Because of his on-ice antics, Marchand doesn’t quite get the recognition he deserves, but he is undoubtedly worth a mid-to-late first-round fantasy pick.
- — Pastrnak has developed into one of the NHL’s premier goal-scorers, ranking ninth in goals (107) and tied for third in power-play goals (40) over the last three seasons. Most impressively, Pastrnak scored 38 goals last season despite missing 16 games—a 47-goal per 82-game pace. He likely won’t be able to maintain a 16.2 shooting percentage in 2020, but a healthy season could still result in his first 40-goal campaign. Drafting Pastrnak pencils in a 35-goal, 40-assist floor with 40-goal, 45-assist upside.
- — Bergeron is playing his best hockey late in his career. He has had a difficult time staying healthy over the last two years, missing a combined 35 games, but has posted the two best point-per-game totals (0.98 in 2018 and 1.22 in 2019) of his career. It might be difficult for him to maintain the 14.5 SH%, but Bergeron has a 30-30 floor with tremendous upside if he can stay on the ice.
- — Jake DeBrusk is becoming a household name after scoring 27 goals in the regular season and having a solid showing in the postseason. DeBrusk played 83.3 percent of his 5v5 ice-time with David Krejci but was heavily featured on the top power-play unit, which bolsters his fantasy value. The third-year winger isn’t going to shoot 17.3 percent again but should be considered a 25-25 candidate with upside thanks to his PP usage.
- — Krejci has always been criminally underrated despite averaging 63 points per 82 games from 2009-to-2018. He ramped things up in 2019, setting a new career-high in assists (53) and tying his career-best in points (73). Without PP1 exposure, Krejci’s value is somewhat capped, but he should finish around 20 goals and 45 assists.
- — Charlie Coyle has been a popular breakout pick for years but has a career-high of just 56 points. After a midseason trade, he had just six points (2G / 4A) in 21 regular-season games with the Bruins but was great in the postseason, racking up 16 points (9G / 7A) in 24 games. Coyle’s value will be limited if he centers the third line, but he could move back to the wing and play with Krejci and DeBrusk. He should probably start on the waiver wire in standard leagues but his value will skyrocket if he skates in the top-6.
- — Like Coyle, Danton Heinen’s value is tied to what line he plays on. He played 23 percent of his 5v5 time on the top line last season but has been featured on the third line most of the time. He’s worth a pick up when they move Pastrnak to the Krejci line and Heinen up, but is a free agent until then.
The Bruins blueline has a lot of young talent to go along with veterans Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug. They will likely start the season without John Moore (shoulder surgery) and Kevan Miller (knee) but things will get crowded once they return. Connor Clifton and Matt Grzelcyk showcased they are capable of playing third-pair minutes in the postseason, so this unit will be fine without the two veterans.
- — Krug played the third most PP TOI/gm among all NHL defensemen in 2019 and Boston ranked third in PP% (25.9), which led to a career-high 30 power-play points for Krug. He has registered at least 50 points in three consecutive seasons, ranking fifth among defensemen in points (163) over that span. Serving as the quarterback for one of the league’s top power-plays makes Krug a No.1 fantasy defenseman.
- — McAvoy has put up strong point-per-game numbers in his first two NHL seasons but has missed a total of 47 games so far. McAvoy had seven goals and 21 assists in 54 games last season and that extrapolates to 11 goals and 32 assists (43 points) over 82 games. McAvoy will be limited by the presence of Krug and his injury woes make him a risky investment, but he is a worthy late-round dart throw.
- — Chara was once a 15-goal, 50-point candidate but has not topped 30 points in any of the last three seasons and durability has become a concern in his 40’s—Chara has missed 14.6 percent of the games over the last three years. Unless he starts seeing power-play time, Chara is best left for the waiver wire in 2020.
Boston’s goaltending tandem was tied for third-best in GA/PG (2.59) and 5v5 SV% (.931) in 2019. Both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are back and should be among the best duos in the NHL yet again.
— 2019 was the first time in six seasons that Rask didn’t make 50-plus starts or win 30-plus games. His .912 SV% was the worst mark of his career, but he performed much better in the playoffs, posting a 2.02 GAA and .934 SV%. At age-32, Rask may not make 60 starts again his career, but a full bill of health should lead to 50-to-55 starts and should get back to 30 wins.
— Despite being the Bruins “backup” the coaching staff leaned on Halak heavily throughout the season and he believed some of the best numbers of his career (.922 SV%). After his postseason display, it’s reasonable to expect Rask to have a better season in 2020, which means Halak probably won’t start more than 30 games.
Projected Scoring Leaders
|B. Marchand (38)||B. Marchand (56)||B. Marchand (94)||D. Pastrnak (14)||D. Pastrnak (29)|
|D. Pastrnak (37)||T. Krug (46)||D. Pastrnak (80)||P. Bergeron (10)||B. Marchand (28)|
|P. Bergeron (31)||D. Pastrnak (43)||P. Bergeron (72)||B. Marchand (9)||T. Krug (26)|
Bruins in the DFO Top 300
- 7 — Brad Marchand (LW)
- 14 — David Pastrnak (LW/RW)
- 36 — Patrice Bergeron (C)
- 62 — Tuukka Rask (G)
- 77 — Torey Krug (D)
- 176 — David Krejci (C)
- 189 — Jake DeBrusk (LW)
- 210 — Charlie McAvoy (D)
- 260 — Jaroslav Halak (G)
- 289 — Charlie Coyle (C/RW)
|3||BOSTON BRUINS||45-28-9||99 PTS|
The Bruins are still going to be dangerous in 2020, but the Lightning and Maple Leafs went out and improved their rosters this summer, the Bruins are basically the exact same as last year. They will probably finish close to Tampa Bay and Toronto, likely setting up another Leafs—Bruins first-round playoff matchup.