(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
There’s a lot to be excited when it comes to the Bruins this year, and I have high expectations, as you’ll soon find out. Some new faces will join the fold, while Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari went elsewhere within the division in unrestricted free agency. Luckily the Bruins are equipped internally within the organization and with new outside additions via free agency to soften the blow of losing Johansson and Acciari. I think it’s going to be a big year.
Jake DeBrusk scores 30 goals
He was close last year, but I think DeBrusk will hit 30 goals this season. Right on the dot. Potentially having a full year with David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman will increase his goal-scoring output.
If Kuhlman can seal the revolving door on Krejci’s right-wing shut, it will allow the line to establish their chemistry even further. Last year, they generated 7.00 GF/60 last season. Imagine what they could do in a full season versus the limited amount of time we saw them together last season? He hit 27 last season in just 68 games, mark DeBrusk down for the 30 this year.
Charlie Coyle hits the 20-goal mark
While we’re on the topic of goals, I think Charlie Coyle has a big year on the third line and eclipses the 20-goal mark. He has hit 21 and 18 goals respectively in a single season in the past, but in the past two years, he has scored 11 and 12 goals. This will be the second time he hits 20.
He established some serious chemistry with Danton Heinen last season and even looked good with him when the Bruins played the Flyers just last Thursday. Last season, after getting his feet wet for a few games, Coyle was a tank from after the trade deadline into the playoffs.
Add Anders Bjork to that line and you add a young, hungry player with really solid playmaking upside on a line that’s already set to be good. Whether Bjork plays on the third line in the regular season much remains to be seen, but he has seen time with Heinen and Coyle on that line throughout the past week or so.
Coyle looked extremely comfortable after coming over from Minnesota at the trade deadline. If he can pick up where he left off, I think there’s a really good chance he can score 20+ goals.
Patrice Bergeron has a career year
Bergeron had a great 2018-2019 season despite missing 17 regular-season games. This is contingent on him staying healthy, but I think Bergeron will hit a new career-high in points with 88 of them.
Age isn’t slowing him down. He tallied a career-high 79 points last season at 33-years-old in just 65 games. If good health is on his side and he can play a good bit more than 65 games, a fairly sizeable point jump isn’t out of the question. Marchand and Pastrnak are in the primes of their careers and Bergeron will continue to seem prime ice time on special teams as well as even strength. That combination of things sets up the potential for a huge year for Bergeron. Building on a milestone year last year would be awesome to see.
Torey Krug signs a contract extension during the season
No unrestricted free-agency for Torey Krug. From an undrafted former Michigan State Spartan now, Krug continues to improve and become a better leader by the day. His tenacity couple pure puck-moving and offensive excellence make him a vital piece on the back end.
Torey Krug’s don’t just fall from the sky. He is a unique defenseman in a lot of ways. Krug has hinted at him being interested in taking less money than he may be worth to stay in Boston, and that would just make things easier.
Krug and his wife Melanie just welcomed a baby girl to the world over the summer. He loves it here. Signing long-term to stay with a team in which he plays a big role and loves the city, as well as being able to raise his daughter makes a lot of sense. Having that burden off his back of having to deal with unrestricted free-agency makes sense for him, the team, and his family.
Boston Bruins: 2020 Stanley Cup Champions
The sour taste of defeat in the core from 2013 was already there, now everyone except for the free-agent additions essentially has that bad taste of defeat in their mouths from this past season. The team was devastated and is still set to be a cup contender, even after losing Johansson and Acciari to unrestricted free agency. They took the loss hard.
Teams in the East such as the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and Florida Panthers definitely got better, plus prominent teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Washington Capitals are still in the mix. But, I trust that the Bruins are formidable enough to make a run to the Cup Final.
A chunk of young players gained very valuable experience from a long cup run, even in defeat, and the team as a whole is going to come out with redemption on their minds. I have them playing the Vegas Golden Knights in the finals, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who will go the distance this before the regular season even starts.
October 3 isn’t far away, redemption isn’t far away. The sky is the limit for the Bruins this year. Nine years is a long time in between Stanley Cup Championships. The Bruins have what it takes to capture banner number seven.