Image Credit: Adam Richins for Boston Sports Journal
By: KG Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog
The preseason is finished for the Bruins, and now it’s onto the real season. Here are a few quick thoughts on the preseason/future.
One thing that has emerged from the seven games that were played is the amount of depth that the Bruins have in their lineup. Right now the Bruins have lots of problems with who will and won’t make the team. It’s an issue, but a good issue to have. Lots of rookies made good impressions in camp/preseason games, but because of all the depth, they won’t make the team. All these extra talented players mean that the Providence Bruins (AHL team for Boston) should have another deep run in the playoffs.
During the seven-game preseason, the Bruins were 88.1% on the penalty kill. And they had A LOT of penalties during those games, averaging 15.7 penalty minutes per game. That’s a lot of ice time to put on your PK unit players. After last years league-best PK, I believe the Bruins can stay in the top-5 of the PK percentage by using a three line penalty kill system, which will let more players get rest instead of just relying on Bergeron and Marchand to play a 1:30 of a 2 minute minor.
Malcolm Subban played the most times of all the Bruins, four total, but only finished one game. The total team save percentage between the four goalies was .903 over seven games. Obviously, Tuukka Rask will be the starter on Oct. 5th against the defending Western Conference champions Nashville Predators, but the backup position was still a battle between seasoned vet Anton Khudobin and young AHLer Malcolm Subban. Bruce Cassidy had said that it was almost locked up for Khudobin at the start of the preseason, but after seeing Subban’s latest results, he has made a case for himself. It’s still up in the air at the moment, as the Bruins haven’t sent either down. As for Zane McIntyre, he was 1-1 after playing in two games. A team-high goals-against average and a team-low save percentage sent him back to Providence early, where he split starts with Subban last year. I expect one of them to make the jump to the NHL in the next two years.
The Bruins look primed for another playoff year. With the emergence of many young players in the minors that will be looked upon to fill in roster spots when there are injuries and the few additions they made in the offseason, the Bruins have a solid roster up and down. I believe that the Bruins will make the playoffs, and depending on what seed they fall into, potentially can make it to the second round. With the roster they have and the way they play, there should be no reason for them not to have a shot at the Cup.
The Bruins play their home opener on Thursday, Oct. 5th at 7pm against the Nashville Predators.
Stats Courtesy NHL.com, Foxsports.com, Providencebruins.com, TheAHL.com