The season is almost here. The last pre season game is in the books, and the next time the Boston Bruins take the ice will be on Thursday, the NHL season opener. The reigning Stanley Cup Champions have set their roster, sending Max Sauve and Lane McDermid to the Providence Bruins, meaning that Chris Clark and Jordan Caron will be on the big league roster.
As of now, it seems like the roster is set. Most of the forwards from last season are returning, excluding Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi. Caron seems ready to step into the big picture, so they will not be missed all too much. The challenge for the offensive players is the power play. Last season the Bruins became the worst power play team to ever win the Cup. This year, one of the biggest goals in the regular season is to get that power play on the right track. Here is what to look for with the forwards this season, and the expectations for them.
Top Line- Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, David Krejci
This line was one of the best in hockey last season, and there is no reason to believe it won’t be again this season. Lucic had a breakout year, scoring 30 goals for the first time in his career. Krejci became the Bruins’ top line center after Marc Savard was injured, and Horton showed flashes of greatness while being a playoff hero. Horton did have a rough stretch in January and February, so he will have to remain consistent all year if he’s to keep his spot on the top line.
Can Lucic maintain the level he played at in 2010-11? He stopped playing as physical at times last season, and the Bruins would like to see a mix of both sides from Lucic. The top line looked electric on Thursday night when they were reunited for the first time since Horton’s injury, so if all stay healthy there is no reason to think they will not be quite good again.
Second Line- Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Rich Peverley
Bergeron emerged as a top center yet again, having a great playoffs and was one of the Bruins best in the Stanley Cup. He has played well with Mark Recchi on his wing the past two seasons, so now he has to get used to playing without the future Hall of Famer. Marchand is coming off of a breakout, career season, and the question with him is if he can return with the same hunger and bite.
Peverley was another playoff hero in Boston, sparking the penalty kill and scoring clutch goals. His speed and offensive skill make him an easy choice for the second line, and he should be a good mix with Bergeron and Marchand.
Third Line- Chris Kelly, Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron
This line will be very speedy, and we may actually see Daniel Paille here if Julien wants to make it more of a scoring line. The big fish is Seguin, after a rookie season mixed with highs and lows. The young stud is still not at the level wanted for defensive play, but his offensive talent is never questioned and the Bruins should loosen the reins a bit more this season.
Adding Chris Kelly to the line with Seguin should make up for any defensive woes, as Kelly is arguably the best penalty killer on the Boston roster. Caron is a rookie who was up for some of last season, and impressed for the most part. Mixing him and Seguin on the same line may be a concern, but Caron’s talent would be a waste on the fourth line, so having him as a third liner would make more sense.
Fourth Line- Shawn Thornton, Greg Campbell, Daniel Paille
The best fourth line in hockey is back. At least, the most played fourth line. Claude Julien was oft-criticized of over using his fourth line, but in the end they proved that they can play with anyone in this league. Campbell is also a great penalty killer and can be trusted to take a must win faceoff. Thornton will play some minutes and drop the gloves when needed, and Paille proved to be a valuable player last season.