Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer (AP Photo)
The Bruins have finally bought in on playing the young guys, mainly due to an unprecedented amount of injuries to their veteran players. Players like McAvoy, DeBrusk, and Bjork have been in the lineup since the first game, but the others have been thrown into the mix as regulars have been injured. They have definitely added to the energy and youth of the team, but have they come with their fair share rookie mistakes too.
Charlie McAvoy burst onto the scene for Bruins fans last spring when both Krug and Carlo were unable to play in the playoffs. In his first few games, McAvoy limited his mistakes and played very well for being thrown into the lineup of elite NHL players around him, on his team and the other team. He is leading the entire NHL rookies in time on ice (22:58 avg) and leading by an extra 3 minutes compared to the second place player (Keller, 19:44). This is also the second highest rookie TOI since the 2010-2011 season. Jonas Brodin has the highest since ’10-’11 with 23:12 in ’12-’13. McAvoy has shown his ability on the powerplay too. He is regularly out with large PP minutes and has contributed a lot to the physical part of the game. He is one of the better rookie defensemen in the NHL.
Anders Bjork was a big surprise for many people outside of the Bruins organization, but once you see his numbers at Notre Dame and how well he works with Bergeron/Marchand, there’s less of a shock. Bjork, when he is playing on his usual line with 37/63, excels because of speed and the chances he creates. He leads all Bruins rookies in points (9) and is tied for highest goals (3). He hasn’t been able to reach his full potential yet with injuries to both Bergeron and Marchand, along with the majority of the lineup. I believe that when the B’s get healthy, Bjork will start to make more of an impact.
Sean Kuraly is one of my favourite players in the lineup. He brings that old Bruins style of play. Real gritty. Dump and chase. Tire them out through physical play. Kuraly has the most hits as a forward with 29 so far in 16 games played. He also leads the Bruins rookies in shots and tied for most game-winning goals. He seems to have a bright solid 3rd/4th line center kind of future.
The Bruins have a multitude of rookies playing in their lineup on a nightly basis, and this is both a good thing and a bad thing. There will be a learning period. The adjustment from the AHL to the NHL is a big one, and some players need more time than others. Most of the rookies now are almost over that hump, but they still need time. Not everyone can make the jump like Bergeron did all those years ago in 2003.
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