By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter @andrewtaverna
The Boston Bruins have had a much quieter offseason than most fans would probably like. This leaves the question open: Who do the Bruins rely on for their secondary scoring this upcoming season? The real answer probably lies somewhere between analytics and in-game luck, but let’s take a look at the options and who the people of Twitter think it might be.
Good morning Twitter, let’s get our Sunday started the right way. Which #NHLBruins player outside the top line scores the most goals this upcoming season?— Andrew Taverna (@andrewtaverna) November 29, 2020
Of the 206 Twitter users who voted, more than half believe that Jake Debrusk will be the top scorer behind the top line. Additionally, 31% of users felt Coyle was the answer, while ten percent thought it would be Kase. With the final four percent coming in for “other,” the most obvious person left off the list is the new Boston Bruin, Craig Smith. Let’s take a moment to look at the four of them and their potential upside.
Jake DeBrusk is your quintessential Boston Bruin. He is a hard worker, is not afraid of going to the dirty areas, and is constantly working on perfecting his game. One area that DeBrusk would admit to being his downfall is consistency, and it is clear that the Bruins believe he’ll be able to bust through that with the two-year contract they just signed him to. With 50 percent of folks voting for DeBrusk, it has never been more obvious the fans also believe he can break out of this inconsistency.
As you can see, DeBrusk has made a point of being in that 20 goal range for his entire career, but with a bit more consistency and building of his strength and speed, it’s easy to see DeBrusk finally breaking that 30 goal barrier. If DeBrusk can break that and do it with consistency, not only will he give a boost to the secondary scoring, I imagine the Bruins wanting to sign him to a longer-term deal during the next offseason.
Anytime you put Charlie Coyle on a survey, you risk the home town boy vote. Although Coyle is from Weymouth (yes, we all know), he was in the right spot for this survey. Coyle provides many upsides and certainly looks like a win for Sweeney on the trade front, but one thing is clear, he’s always had trouble breaking that 20 goal mark. In the 15-16 season with Minnesota, Coyle finished with 21 goals, which was a season-high for him. In his first full season with Boston last year, he netted 16 goals and 21 assists for a total of 37 points. If Coyle can find his way into the right place on this Bruins roster and can consistently play with the same linemates, it does strike me he could easily become a 20 goal scorer every season and continue to contribute in all the meaningful ways he already does.
There was a lot of speculation when Kase came to Boston as to whether or not he’d be the right guy the Bruins needed. While there is a lot of potential upside to Kase, there are also health concerns. In his tenure in the NHL to date, Kase has had trouble completing a full-season. The 2017-2018 season was the closest he’s had, lacing them up for 66 games and putting up 20 goals and 18 assists.
As you can see, Kase does have a natural ability to score. There is plenty of reason to believe that if Kase can stay healthy, he could easily contribute 20 goals a season. This type of contribution is critical to make his move to Boston a valuable one. The biggest aspect of his staying healthy will be a different training regiment, and I firmly believe the Bruins strength and conditioning staff can impact that with a proper off-season.
Honorary Mention: Craig Smith
While Craig Smith did not make the original list of survey options, he’s definitely worth mention on this list of players who can contribute to the Bruins’ secondary scoring needs. Smith has consistently been offensively productive putting up 20+ goals in five of his nine seasons in the NHL. Smith likely will be a contributing factor and would have made the original list had he skated for Boston last season. This, by far, appears to be Sweeney’s biggest offseason signing and frankly could seriously help the secondary scoring woes.
Several additional players are vying for roster spots that could also contribute, but unfortunately, Twitter cuts me off at four options for a survey. Do you feel like someone who should have absolutely been on the list was missing? Leave a comment below and let us know.