(Getty Images Sport/Maddie Meyer)
The Boston Bruins will be an interesting team to watch in 2018-19, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a team still adjusting to Bruce Cassidy’s system and a team that should contend for a championship. A team that has a quality starting goalie that drive some people insane and an influx of young talent that would make any opponents jealous. There are many questions facing this team as the season draws near such as how will it work with eight defensemen on a roster? Will David Pastrnak get moved to the second line? Can the young core repeat their stellar seasons? Like any team, there are going to be a ton of questions especially early in the year about how this particular group will come together. Let’s take a look at five players to watch in the upcoming 2018-19 hockey season.
The 32-year-old has been through it all with the Bruins organization and especially with fans who claim he’s overpaid and overrated. No matter what side you’re on, you have to admit he’s been an integral part of this team for 10+ years. Though his numbers have gone down slightly in recent years, but there’s no reason to believe he has nothing left in the tank.
Krejci put up only 44 points last season but only played in 64 games, his fewest since 2014-15. His 10 playoff points were fifth on the team last spring. Keeping Krejci healthy is important for the Bruins, who hope he can pick back up where he left off in the playoffs and be a consistent point producer. If Pastrnak does end up on Krejci’s line at any point this season, look out.
You might have guessed that I’m a fan of David Backes by now. I put him on this list because he still has plenty left to give and could be another potential point producer if he’s able to stay healthy. Ironically last season was the first time since 2007-08 that Backes missed more than 10 games in a year. The former Blues captain has looked like a more productive player since Cassidy took over, so there’s no reason to think this season will be any different.
Backes has been a popular name for the Bruins to trade or buyout but he still has value for a team that will undoubtedly bring on even more youth. Having another wily veteran is not a bad thing, and based on his play under Cassidy he should be back to being a reliable source of offense this season.
Despite injuries toward the end of each of his first two seasons. Carlo has been one of the most durable players on the team. The 21-year-old played every single game his rookie year, followed by 76 games last year. He’s not Charlie McAvoy or Torey Krug, but Carlo has been a steady defensive player and is a guy you rarely worry about in his own end.
Carlo will most likely be paired with Krug to start the season, and they should be a solid pair together. Krug has improved his work in his own end, and Carlo looks to add some physicality to his game. Look for this pair to be rock solid in 2018-19.
The Illinois native was the Bruins most pricey free agent this summer, joining the B’s on a five-year deal worth $2.75 million a season. Moore is just a season removed from a career-high in points, but don’t be surprised if it stays that way. Moore’s flexibility will be a boon for Boston as he can play in all kinds of situations.
He averaged 20 minutes of ice time last season, and at age 27 there’s little concern about his body breaking down. Moore will most likely play on the third pair with Kevan Miller when he’s in the lineup and should make for another rock solid pair. Look for Moore to build off of his successful recent seasons with another solid campaign this time with Boston.
Rask started only 53 games last season, his fewest since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, but he arguably had his best season since the year he brought home the Vezina trophy. The 31-year-old had a remarkable stretch of no regulation losses in 19 consecutive games. Incredibly, Rask had only six starts in which he saved fewer than 85 percent of shots in a single game, two fewer than he had in his Vezina year.
Just for fun. Tuukka Rask was tied for 7th in wins (34), 10th in save percentage amongst goaltenders with 50+ games played (.917) and while I hate the stat, 9th in goals against average (2.36). He had an even strength save percentage of .924 this season. He. Is. Good.
— Tyler (@Tyleraragao40) July 7, 2018
Expect Rask to have a similar type season with a very capable backup in Jaroslav Halak. After a subpar postseason last year, expect the Finnish goaltender to be very hungry to prove the doubters wrong.