(Photo Credit: Jim Perequito/South Philly Review)

By: Mike Sullivan : Follow me on Twitter: @_MikeSullivan

The Boston Bruins pre-season began just about two weeks ago, and many questions were answered about this team during that period. Which young bucks were going to step up and stand out this year? A big season for Jake DeBrusk is looming. How is he looking? Is Krejci still playing at NHL-level speed? So many of those questions were answered, and I’m here to review them with you.

First of all, Jakub Zboril came out of the gates hot. People, myself included, already had him penciled into a starting role in the lineup. Although, as the games continued, he became less and less of a standout. Remember, this is a defenseman coming off of an ACL injury, so patience is going to be a virtue in the case of Jakub Zboril.

Jack Studnicka looks to be playing with more stability than ever. He seems more confident in his abilities around the ice and generally more decisive in his decision-making and second-guessing himself less. I could see him finally cracking this opening night roster and having a legitimate and consistent impact. He creates good chances, but the finish isn’t yet there.

John Beecher showed a lot of promise with his increased strength, speed, mobility, and offensive creativity, which was evident in the games he played. I could see him turning into a Charlie Coyle-Esque-type player. I’m not entirely surprised John Beecher got sent to Providence, but he shouldn’t be frustrated with that. Beecher showed he has the potential to become a future top 9, maybe a top 6 forward in the future.

The same goes for Fabian Lysell. Great offensive instincts, explosiveness, and agility. He needs to increase his strength. He took one big hit from Rasmus Ristolainen and injured his shoulder. Lysell’s skillset may be close to NHL-ready, but his body isn’t yet. A little milk, protein, and AHL hockey should help with that.

One guy who deserves to be on this team, in my opinion, is Marc McLaughlin. Marc, along with guys like A.J. Greer, brought energy on a nightly basis. McLaughlin is someone who the fanbase rallied around, so it stinks to see him go down, but the move makes the most sense contractually as he’s signed to a two-way contract, protecting him from waivers. Mark my words. He will be with this Boston team at some point shortly.

Now let’s talk about regular NHLers who we already know. Krejci, DeBrusk, Foligno and Zacha.

David Krejci has not lost a step. Granted, we are only in the preseason and have played a handful of games. But it’s good to see Krejci still moving with the best of them. His influence on players like Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak can not be understated. The chemistry that these three have is insane. They looked unbelievable in the game against the New York Rangers. As a line, they contributed ten points. Both Davids had three points to Zacha’s four.

Jake DeBrusk. The curious case of Jake DeBrusk. I’m on the side of the table that thinks he will have a career year. He will get plenty of top minutes with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand when he returns healthy. He won’t have those trade rumors swirling around his head or this weird internal rumor of Jake and Cassidy not getting along. He has a fresh slate. Jake looked good in the preseason. He was quick to the puck and seemed more involved from shift to shift. I believe Jake DeBrusk could be upwards of 55-60 points with around 28 and maybe even a smidgen over 30 goals. Time will tell.

Let’s talk about a sensitive topic. The classic “mad at the contract, not the player, but take it out on the player anyways” conundrum. Nick Foligno makes far too much money for what he brings to the team. $3.8 Million, to be exact. Now before I start, I like Nick Foligno. I really do. I like what he brings into a locker room, and from time to time, he has powerful games. Such as the final preseason games against New Jersey. He’s not useless in any sense. He’s a good guy on your team for the right price but the contract compared to his role on this team makes it easy for all of us to use him as a target.

Finally, the ‘tenders. Linus Ullmark played far better than Jeremy Swayman in these preseason games, and if you’re asking me, I think Montgomery goes with Ullmark in game one against Washington. Swayman seemed a little out of position some nights, allowing the puck to sneak up on him, leaving himself wildly, flailing to stop the puck. Meanwhile, Ullmark has been cool, calm, and collected between the pipes. Even Jim Montgomery mentioned what a strong preseason Ullmark had had so far.

The preseason is finally over. It’s time to start the 82-game march into spring and see what this team is made of. It will be such a fun year with plenty of storylines ready to write themselves. Let’s roll.