(Above photo credit: CBS Boston . com)
By: Chris Nosek follow me on Twitter: @cnosek6342
On Monday, January 15th, our favorite boys in black and gold dropped their 5th game at home and only their 8th in extra time this season. This game had a former friend now foe, 25-year-old Tyler Seguin, at the other side of the faceoff dot.
At 2:59 in the extra action, the former Bruin netted the game-winner as David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner, and Matt Grzelcyk were tiring from a long 3-on-3 shift, and as you can see in the video, their fatigue was the Achilles heel.
Ever since this goal went in, I had seen the non-stop lamenting of Boston fans at the loss of Tyler Seguin in the infamous July 4th trade back in 2013.
To all of you whining about “which deal was worse” (Seguin, Thorton, Bourque, or add in your own selection) and “why can’t we get players like that?” Just stop. Stop focusing on the past – I will remind you later of that past and you will see that although the Seguin trade set this team back, they are better off now for the long term than they would have been had they kept him.
Instead of looking back, I encourage you to look forward. Neeley turned the page when he let Don Sweeney and his crew take over for Peter Chiarelli in the front office. Allowing Sweeney to focus on his strength of drafting and developing, this team as more youthful talent and depth than it ever had while Tyler Seguin was in town.
Let’s start with the fact that David Pastrnak is filling in nicely for Seguin on that RW alongside Bergeron and Marchand. While showing an ability to play alongside both top centers, Pasta and Krejci still haven’t found the LW replacement from Krejci’s heyday with Milan Lucic. Pasta is only 21 years old and he is a natural wing finding his game and working into a nice leadership role on this team at the perfect time.
Also turning heads, which is no surprise after his heroics in the playoffs last season, is 19-year old Charlie McAvoy. The 14th overall pick out of Boston University gave just a small preview of what his pairing with Zdeno Chara could bring to this team, and lets not even talk about the puck movement on the powerplay. Now the youngster is flirting with 25 minutes of ice time per night (sometimes closer to 30), he is showing his maturity and will become a leader on this team in no time. Sharing a line with one of the hardest working players in the league, the hard work that he see’s Zdeno Chara put in is definitely rubbing off on him.
(Above photo credit: Boston Herald .com)
With McAvoy and Pastrnak getting the bulk of the attention, a guy like Danton Heinen has been flying under the radar for most of the season. The 22-year-old natural centerman is making his own case for a solid run at the Calder Trophy. With 10 goals and 21 assists, Heinen has 31 points in just 38 games this season. He is showing that he can come off the bench as needed and provide physicality while showing the skill that isn’t usually seen on the third line. By seasons end, he could see some action ahead of Jake DeBrusk and get some minutes with Pasta and Krejci.
This teams youthful depth goes so far that you can’t even go to Providence to see all the baby B’s who you should be excited about. Sure you will catch; Czarnik, Agostino, Forsbacka-Karlsson, Senyshyn, Cehlarik, Zboril, Bjork, Grzelcyk, Johansson, and Lauzon, but what about the guys getting big minutes overseas. Look for Ryan Donato, Joona Koppanen, Urho Vaakanainen, and Dan Vladar to log some minutes in Providence in 2018-2019 and keep this youthful movement coming up the Mass Pike.
For more details and breakdowns on each of these prospects, follow along with @BlackAndGold277 and his weekly prospect update.