By: Joe Travia | Follow me on Twitter @NHLJoeTravia
With the NHL draft and first wave of free agency all but over, there has been very little Bruins news to talk about as of late. Luckily for me, Twitter user @CaufieldHabs2 proposed an interesting exercise for fans to think about.
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Since I had difficulty narrowing it down to just three, I decided to split these into three positive and three negative takes. Here are my three positive hot takes for the upcoming Bruins season.
- David Pastrnak signs an 8-year, $76 million (or more) contract extension before opening night
- With Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci finally making their returns official, nothing looms larger over the Bruins than the pending free agent status of superstar winger David Pastrnak. The reasons for wanting to extend Pastrnak are long. He is a homegrown superstar that is entering his prime at 26-years-old that is a solid bet to score 35+ goals every season.
- He is also a point-per-game player in the playoffs. As evidenced by his promotion to alternate captain last season, it is clear that Pastrnak is viewed as a leader by his teammates. While there was some speculation that Pastrnak would be hesitant to re-sign with the team after the way the Torey Krug situation was handled, I am not buying. The Bruins will show they want Pastrnak in Boston long-term and give him an offer he can’t refuse.
- Taylor Hall eclipses 75 points
- In my opinion, Taylor Hall was quietly the most under-appreciated Bruin last season. While Hall did not mesh with Charlie Coyle and had a somewhat rocky start to the season, he was one of the team’s best forwards when put on a line with David Pastrnak and Erik Haula. In 55 games from January 1st, 2022, Hall was third on the team in scoring, notching 15 goals and 32 assists for 47 points. With Haula now in New Jersey and David Krejci returning, one would imagine new Head Coach Jim Montgomery goes with a Hall-Krejci-Pastrnak trio to begin the season. With Brad Marchand on the shelf to start the year as he recovers from hip surgery, the Bruins will be counting on Hall to step up his production. I say he delivers.
- Jakub Zboril develops into a top-four defenseman
- This is my hottest take of the three, but also the one that I think would benefit the Bruins the most for the upcoming season. Though he only appeared in ten games last season before tearing his ACL in Nashville, Zboril was beginning to look more and more comfortable at the NHL level, and the Bruins rewarded him with a two-year $2.275 million extension. Still only a 25-year-old, the 13th overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft still has the tools to develop into a reliable NHL option. Provided he is healthy to start the season, Zboril will likely get a chance to step in for the injured Matt Grzelcyk in a top-four role. With Grzelcyk’s shaky playoff history, having a sturdier option like Zboril bump Grzelcyk down to the third pairing may be the best-case scenario for the Bruins.
Will all of these hot takes come true? I don’t always have the best success rate on my takes, but only time will tell. Next week, I will do the negative portion!