By Alexander Monaghan
It’s been a while since we last congratulated the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. So… congrats.
Collectively, your warriors amassed 107 games, winning their most important, final tilt of the season. There are reasons why the Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks but frankly they were just a better team when the games mattered most. Their individual value will forever be increased by this victory which, in turn, increases each player’s fantasy hockey value. Last season they were clearly the best team so why not take players from that ‘best’ team, right?
Last year the Chicago Blackhawks took home the game’s most prominent trophy but they were not without a Cup hangover themselves. In fact, their disbanded roster barely made the postseason, finishing with the 8th overall seed. While Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp improved to career highs following his first Cup, his teammates Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith both regressed. Marian Hossa slightly raised his overall production by six points, his point-per-game ratio actually fell. Playing 104 games took its toll on the entire Blackhawks roster so selecting top players from the Bs like David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara and even Tim Thomas could be risky.
For now, we know there are a few players still banged up.
Milan Lucic went under the knife to correct the airflow in his right nostril. Considering he played most of the season uncomfortably congested, we can classify this infliction as negligible. He did, however, fracture his right big toe blocking a shot from Tyler Seguin during practice. This specific toe, according to Fluto Shinzawa of Boston.com, is still hurting as the 6’3″ left wing opted against surgery this offseason. Lucic has struggled to stay healthy in his four NHL seasons and is coming off a career high 79 games (104 if you count the playoffs). Considering he comes off an injury-plagued season where he only mustered together nine goals, this upcoming year will serve as a benchmark on his consistency.
Nathan Horton has still not skated but began working out as he continues to feel symptom free. The clutch goal scorer, who was knocked out of the playoffs by Canucks’ d-man Aaron Rome, has not taken to the ice as of yet but claims he will be ready for training camp. Unlike many of the Bruins supporting cast, he may be somewhat underrated due to his health. With the uncertainty, you can almost guarantee he will not be taken around the 7th round — as he was last season. Nevertheless, if you calculate his postseason production into a full season, Horton would be in line for his second career 30-goal output.
Tuukka Rask rounds out the list of injury updates. The 24-year-old netminder who was famously traded for Andrew Raycroft underwent arthroscopic knee surgery following the victory. While he needed 4-5 weeks to recover, the Finnish ‘keeper should be ready for training camp. His consistent play was incredibly vital to his Vezina Trophy winning counterpart staying healthy, and it should continue to be important this upcoming season. Similarly to Horton, his value may be underrated, so if you are in a very deep league feel comfortable splurging on this backup.
For now, those are the bumps and bruises. Regardless, a few more bit of breaking news should be expected. Brad Marchand remains unsigned, Dare I say holdout? Patrice Bergeron and Krejci are known as injury-prone players and may prove themselves less durable than their teammates.
Tread carefully when drafting Bruins’ players. They’ve been through a lot and a short summer might not be enough to fully recover.
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