Boston Bruins: Training Camp Invites

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PHOTO CREDIT: (nhl.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

When the Boston Bruins Training Camp comes around, it always gets me even more amped up for the upcoming regular season because it is one of the final team events before the opening faceoff. This year, however, is a bit different for the Bruins. The training camp roster will be split into two, as some players will be headed off to China for the pair of preseason games against the Calgary Flames.

Expected Roster For O.R.G China Games (Camp Opens Sept. 11*)

Forwards: David Backes, Martin Bakos, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Donato, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Trent Frederic, Colby Cave, Brad Marchand, Joakim Nordstrom, David Pastrnak, Jack Studnicka, Jordan Szwarz, Chris Wagner

Defense: Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril

Goaltenders: Jaroslav Halak, Tuukka Rask

Expected Roster For Domestic Preseason (Camp Opens Sept. 13*)

Forwards: Noel Acciari, Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, David Krejci**, Ryan Fitzgerald, Austin Fyten, Danton Heinen, Cameron Hughes, Joona Koppanen, Karson Kuhlman, Sean Kuraly, Jakub Lauko, Brett McKenzie, Mark McNeill, Marcel Noebels, Cedric Pare, Tanner Pond, Zach Senyshyn, Daniel Winnik, Lee Stempniak

Defense: Axel Andersson, Chris Breen, Daniel Bukac, Zdeno Chara, Connor Clifton, Mark Fayne, Olivier Galipeau, Cody Goloubef, Emil Johansson, Torey Krug, Jeremy Lauzon, Joel Messner, Wiley Sherman

Goaltenders: Kyle Keyser, Zane McIntyre, Dan Vladar

*According to the Boston Bruins website in a press release on September 4th. 

**Was taken off of the China roster due to troubles with his Visa. Colby Cave will replace him. 

You may recognize all of the players that will be headed to the most populated country in the world this September, but there are a few names in the domestic preseason roster that are not quite familiar to the Bruins organization. Joel Messner, Brett McKenzie, Tanner Pond, Marcel NoebelsMark Fayne, Daniel Winnik, and Lee Stempniak are invited to the camp, but who exactly are they?

Joel Messner (D)

After four seasons in the NCAA with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the 24-year-old Messner recently signed a professional tryout contract with the Boston Bruins and he will be included in Boston’s training camp.

Messner started his junior career with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL), playing with the Selkirk Steelers for three full consecutive seasons. His best season with the Steelers came back in the 2013-14 campaign when he produced 9-44-53 totals in 54 games as a defenseman. That season earned him the honors of Top Defenseman in the league as well as making the MJHL First All-Star Team.

The season earned him the chance to play with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, starting in the 2014-15 season. While he wouldn’t come close to the 52 points he scored in junior, Messner would become the captain of the team for this past 2017-18 season. In his first season, (and only to date), as captain, he scored five goals and 23 points for the club.

Joel also won the Don Leahy Senior Career Achievement Award in the 2017-18 year, which recognized the male athlete that had a stellar career at the University.

The 6-foot-2 defender could be someone to watch when he participates in the camp on the Sept. 13.

Brett McKenzie (F)

Brett McKenzie is one of two players on this short list of Bruins training camp invites that has an AHL contract with the Providence Bruins.

Even though he has an AHL deal with the P-Bruins, McKenzie is not quite considered a Boston Bruin. According to Habs Eyes on the Prize, when a player signs an AHL deal, he is not eligible to be called up to the National Hockey League and play for that NHL team, even if it is the affiliate team of the AHL team.

Therefore, it can be considered that McKenzie and other AHL contracted players are invites to the Boston training camp because they do not have the opportunity to play with the team during the course of the regular season.

McKenzie was a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, but the Canucks failed to offer the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada native to an Entry-Level deal, leaving him a free agent. In the season of his draft year, McKenzie finished his third year with the North Bay Battalion in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), scoring 26-27-53 totals in 66 games that year. He would also help with five-points in 11 playoff games that same year.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (TERRY WILSON / OHL IMAGES)

Due to the fact that he would not sign with the Canucks right after the draft, he would play another season with the Battalion, this time as the alternate captain. In the 2016-17 season, he would set a career-high in points, finishing the year with 67 points (29 goals, 38 assists) in 67 games.

This past hockey season, McKenzie started the year with the Battalion as he had for the three seasons prior. Following a time where he scored 23 points in 31 games, he was involved in a trade that sent him to the Owen Sound Attack. In the 33 games with Owen Sound, McKenzie scored 26 points. Below is a scouting report from Elite Prospects’ Tyler Parchem back in 2015. 

“McKenzie can be described as a smart defensive forward who skates well and is excellent on the draw. He is not overly physical, but is overall awareness in all 3 zones is coveted.” (Tyler Parchem, EP 2015)

Tanner Pond (F)

Tanner Pond brings another American Hockey League contract to the Bruins training camp and the 2016 NCAA Hockey East Champion is looking to make a name for himself.

Even though he plays at the center position, the Walled Lake, Michigan, USA native is still a decent player and could bring an interesting style of play to Boston’s camp. Pond has played in the USHL, NCAA, ECHL, and now more recently, the AHL. Following 137 games played over three seasons in the USHL, Pond played four seasons with the Northeastern Huskies in the NCAA.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Amanda Bingham)

 

The 6-foot, 194-pound forward only scored a combined 12 points in 109 NCAA contests, accumulating more than 70 penalty minutes. He played a pivotal role on the 2016 NCAA Hockey East Championship-winning team that defeated the UMass-Lowell River Hawks by a score of 3-2.

After a lackluster 2016-17 campaign, he signed a deal with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL, starting in ’17/’18. Once the deal went through, Gladiators Head Coach Andy Brandt said the following about Tanner Pond.

“Tanner is a player who is a full out competitor,” said Gladiators Head Coach Andy Brandt. “Our research indicates that he excels on the forecheck and is defensibly responsible.”

Tanner would play 61 games with Atlanta, producing 14-23-37 totals and 163 penalty minutes. On March 9 of this year, Pond would sign a PTO with the Providence Bruins, going scoreless in the four games he played.

This past off-season, Pond agreed to a contract with the Providence Bruins and is expected to play with them for the 2018-19 season.

Marcel Noebels (F)

Marcel Noebels has been in the Bruins media for numerous months now, as a possible signing between him and either the Providence Bruins or the Boston Bruins was suggested earlier in the off-season. However, nothing came about and it seemed like the signing would not happen. With that said, the Bruins and Noebels would recently agree on a PTO contract, allowing Noebels to play in the upcoming Boston training camp.

The 26-year-old center is coming off of a 30-point season with the Eisbären Berlin in the DEL. Noebels also added 14 points in 18 playoff games for the club. The 6-foot-2 German also played in the 2018 World Championships, scoring one point in seven games.

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PHOTO CREDIT: (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Noebels has previously had experience in the American Hockey League, playing 95 games over the course of four seasons bouncing back-and-forth between the AHL and Germany. In the 95 games played with the Adirondack Phantoms, Marcel scored 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points.

Noebels also took home a silver medal in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games with Team Germany, as they lost to the Olympic Athletes from Russia. The former fourth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft signed a PTO with the Bruins back on the Sept. 5.

Daniel Winnik (F)

The Boston Bruins have also handed out three PTOs to veteran NHL players and Daniel Winnik is one of them. Selected in ninth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, Winnik has since played 798 career NHL contests, scoring 82 goals and 169 assists for 251 points, along with a career plus/minus rating of +52.

Winnik’s near-800 games played is an impressive stat considering he was the 265th player drafted in the ’04 Draft. However, the time he has spent in the National Hockey League has not been with one team, but rather eight teams. Winnik has not spent more than three whole seasons with a single franchise, hitting the three-year mark back in Phoenix from 2007-08 to 2009-10.

Daniel’s most productive year was back in the 2014-15 regular season, which was split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins. In his most recent campaign as an NHLer, Winnik played 81 games with the Minnesota Wild, scoring a total of 23 points. He has also been involved in four different trades, coming in 2010, 2012, 2015, and 2016.

Winnik signed a professional tryout contract with the Bruins on Sept. 10, 2018.

Lee Stempniak (F)

This name should look a bit familiar to Bruins fans, even the new ones. Lee Stempniak was drafted in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, 148th overall by the St. Louis Blues. As of this current time in his career, he has played the majority of his 909-game NHL career with the Blues, playing for four straight seasons.

After stints with the Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Flames, Penguins, Rangers, Jets, and Devils, Stempniak would be sent to Boston on Feb. 29, 2016 via a trade deadline deal. Lee would only play 19 games with the B’s, producing 3-7-10 totals with the club. When the 2015-16 season concluded, he would not re-sign with Boston during the offseason, instead signing with the Carolina Hurricanes on a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per season.

Lee would find early success with the Hurricanes, adding 40 points in a full, 82-game season. Although, in the recent 2017-18 year, Stempniak would only score nine points in 37 games. He has signed a PTO with the Boston Bruins on the same day as Daniel Winnik — September 10th, 2018.

Mark Fayne (D)

The last player on this list, Mark Fayne, has been on the Bruins roster on a PTO for a few days now and I recently wrote an article about the signing when the news was released. While I won’t go as in-depth about Fayne in this particular article, you can read more about the former Oiler in my article below.

Mark Fayne has only played in seven NHL seasons, four with the New Jersey Devils and three with the Edmonton Oilers. Although, Fayne was only with Edmonton for four games during the 2016-17 regular season and did not play a single National Hockey League game for the entirety of the ’17/’18 campaign.

Mark’s career year was his second season, in 2011-12, when he scored four goals and 17 points but was a -4 rating. Ever since he agreed to a four-year contract with the Oilers, his production has dropped off significantly, scoring a combined 17 points in 147 games. His value dropped so much that he played 39 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL, scoring only 2-3-5 totals.

Fayne will one of 14 defensemen taking part in the Boston Bruins training camp for players not headed to China.

The Boston Bruins training camp begins tomorrow for all players expected to head to China to play the two preseason games there against the Calgary Flames. For the remaining players, their training camp is currently scheduled to begin on Thursday, Sept.13.

Once again, all of the current dates for the Boston Bruins NHL training camp is courtesy of the official Boston Bruins website. 

Report: Bruins Invite D Mark Fayne To Training Camp

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PHOTO CREDIT: (SERGEI BELSKI/USA TODAY SPORTS)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

According to 95.8 The Sports Hub writer Ty Anderson on Twitter, the Boston Bruins will sign defenseman Mark Fayne to a professional try-out contract and will play with the Bruins during the preseason.

Last season, Fayne played in 39 American Hockey League games with the Springfield Thunderbirds, producing 2-3-5 totals and a -10 rating. The former 155th overall draft pick by the New Jersey Devils in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft has played in 389 career NHL regular season games, split between the Devils and the Edmonton Oilers.

In the 389 games, Fayne racked up 17-48-65 totals and a -19 rating, averaging 18:10 of ice time. He played in four seasons for New Jersey before signing a 4year deal worth $3.635 million per season with the Edmonton Oilers. In Edmonton, Fayne would only score 17 points in 147 games.

The 6-foot-3, 209-pound defender has not played an NHL game since Dec. 6, 2016 against the Buffalo Sabres, a game where he only played 4 minutes. He spent time that same season with the Oilers AHL affiliate team, the Bakersfield Condors, but spent little time actually playing, as he was typically a spare defenseman.

Mark Fayne played four seasons with Providence College from 2006-07 to 2009-10, scoring 16 goals and 49 points in 139 games.

Fayne’s only playoff experience came in the 2011-12 season, when the Devils made a run to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to lose to the Los Angeles Kings. Fayne only scored three points in the 23 postseason games but averaged over 20 minutes of ice time during the entire playoffs.

The Bruins will have Fayne on the training camp and the preseason schedule according to the Tweet by Ty Anderson that was posted above. The expectation is that Fayne will not play on the actual NHL roster come the start of the regular season this October, but will instead be a player just to play during the last of the big offseason events.

With eight defensemen already on the team, Fayne would make it nine and that is most likely too many blueliners for Boston heading into the next season.

The Bruins training camp begins on Tuesday, Sept. 11 for players that are headed to China for the two preseason games against the Calgary Flames and Thursday, Sept. 13 for the players not attending the China games, such as Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug.

Mainville’s Full 2018-19 Boston Bruins Predictions

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PHOTO CREDIT: (MHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Predictions and sports pretty much go hand-in-hand in today’s world. Not only are predictions fun to make when the season is a little under a month away, but they are fun to look back on at the end of the season to see how accurate your predictions were.

Normally, I make my predictions in a Boston Bruins Facebook fan group, but since my arrival on the Black N’ Gold Podcast website in March of 2018, I am able to provide my predictions on the entire season from lineup predictions to statistics to standings to possible trades and playoffs. This will be a fun ride, let’s get into it.

Lineups

This one is a fun one considering the amount of young talent that the Boston Bruins have available and a good portion of that prospect pool could get a chance in the NHL this season. On the flip side, the Bruins still have a large number of veterans that deserve a spot on the lineup, some due to their experience and skill value to the team, others just because of their contract. So, here are my predictions for the Bruins opening day lineup as of September 1st.

Forwards

Marchand  –  Bergeron  –  Bjork

DeBrusk  –  Krejci  –  Pastrnak

Donato  –  Frederic  –  Heinen

Nordstrom  –  Kuraly  –  Backes

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Miller

Goaltenders

Rask

Halak

As many people throughout the community have been saying, I see David Pastrnak getting second-line minutes to start the season. Although the line of him, Marchand and Bergeron are one of the best in the entire league, the Bruins showed in the regular season that they lack deep scoring depth. Placing Pastrnak on the second-line alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk could add some additional scoring threats to the Bruins offensive core.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Another key position the Bruins are undecided on is the third-line center position. Numerous player on the roster could indeed fill that spot, but no official player has been given that role. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said in an article published by the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter that the third-line center spot will have some competition come training camp.

“Studnicka, [Trent] Frederic, and JFK [Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson], our three center icemen. [Chris] Wagner played some center. Is it ideal for him? But that’s what he’d like. He wants to move up in the lineup. So you’re creating a bit of competition, but you’re also creating opportunity. I think if you go into the year and think, “We’re going to have five guys,” that’s a stretch. But what we’ve done, I think, and Donnie feels, it’s legit for us to stay more than competitive.”

Jack Studnicka seems to be one of the main guys that most fans and media members want on the third line, but I feel that Trent Frederic could get the job come October. I recently wrote an article about Frederic and you can check it out HERE. 

Individual Statistics

As mentioned previously, the Boston Bruins have many top players that can find ways to rack up the points and in turn, hopefully, help lead the B’s to some victories on the ice. In fact, in Sportsnet’s recent Top 100 NHL Players article that was released on August 31, there were six Bruins players, tied with the Nashville Predators for the most players in the list. Boston’s players that were on the list were Charlie McAvoy (96th), Zdeno Chara (92nd), Tuukka Rask (80th), David Pastrnak (36th), Patrice Bergeron (18th), and Brad Marchand (17th).

When a team has a lot of star talent that can put up some high numbers, it isn’t very often that you see above point-per-game totals once the season ends. Connor McDavid on the Oilers and Taylor Hall on the Devils show that when a team lacks depth, the superstar player gets high point totals.

Brad Marchand

PHOTO CREDIT: (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Top Three Scorers (Forwards)

Brad Marchand 40G – 45A – 85P

David Pastrnak 39G – 42A – 81P

Patrice Bergeron 27G – 41A – 68P

Top Three Scorers (Defense)

Torey Krug 18G – 43A – 61P

Charlie McAvoy 8G – 31A – 39P

Matt Grzelcyk 5G – 25A – 30P

Prior to writing this article, I figured making statistic predictions would be a piece of cake, but rather, it is quite difficult. I figured Pastrnak would have a lower assist total than last year because I have him playing with Krejci, meaning he would not be the one passing the puck the most.

However, I do think that the trio of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak will be one, two, and three in the Bruins scoring race at the end of the year, even if they are separated throughout the campaign.

For defensemen, I think Krug will continue to be the main offensive threat, but McAvoy and most of all, Matt Grzelcyk will gain great strides offensively while Chara and the rest of them will not be as productive offensively in my mind. Obviously, there is room for debate and I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Regular Season Standings

The Boston Bruins will not have an easy trip to the playoffs at all. With the already stacked Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tavares, I mean, Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins may have to settle for third in the Atlantic division.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Aside from the Lightning and Maple Leafs being evident threats in the division, the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres could find themselves in the mix as well. The Panthers missed the playoffs by only a single point last year and with the addition of Mike Hoffman this offseason, they could have improved the roster enough to secure a position.

The Buffalo Sabres may have finished last in the NHL last season, but with the acquisition of Jeff Skinner and 2018 1st Overall Pick Rasmus Dahlin, the Sabres could find themselves higher in the division then they were last year.

Of course, the division does have the bottom-feeding teams such as the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and Montreal Canadiens that the Bruins do not have to stress too much over but they will still need to pick up key victories against them in order to secure that divisional playoff spot.

The Metropolitan division is still one of the best in the league and could very well contend for the two Wild-Card positions in the Eastern Conference, leaving only the three division spots. If the Leafs and Bolts are already locked in that spot and the Panthers and Sabres are fighting their way into the postseason as well, then every single game could play out to mean a lot for the B’s.

Nonetheless, in my own personal opinion, the Boston Bruins will make the playoffs, finishing in the third seed behind Tampa Bay and Toronto. While Florida makes a strong case, I’m not sold on the fact that they will make it in the top three of the Atlantic division teams, but rather sneak into the postseason via a wild card.

Winter Classic vs Chicago

I’m making this prediction in a completely separate category because the 2019 Winter Classic between the Bruins and the Blackhawks may be a tad bit underrated. The Bruins did not have the success they were looking for back in the 2016 Winter Classic against the Montreal Canadiens, losing 5-1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Personally, I feel like there is a little bit of redemption wanted by the Bruins who were on that roster, especially Brad Marchand, who was suspended for three games for clipping Ottawa Senators player Mark Borowiecki. Many believe that the lack of Marchand at the January 1 outdoor game was the reason for the loss, as the locker room was left without one of their top players.

Not only will it be redemption for the Winter Classic, but this is arguably the biggest meeting between the Hawks and Bruins since the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, where Chicago won in six games. Of course, at the end of the day, it is only a normal regular season game with no added benefits from winning the contest, except for bragging rights — and Boston would love to have some bragging rights.

Putting injuries, (and suspensions) aside, the Bruins are in the lead to win the game. Chicago finished last in the Central division last season and failed to make any big offseason moves. Jonathan Toews only scored 52 points in the 74 games he played in last season while goaltender Corey Crawford dealt with a suspected head injury that forced him to miss the final 47 games of the 2017-18 season.

If the Bruins can have a strong start to the season, I believe they will win the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic held at Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana, improving their Winter Classic record to 2-1.

Playoffs

After making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins will return to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, in a rematch against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. The only difference is that Toronto will have the home-ice advantage.

As good as Toronto may have become with the acquisition of John Tavares, they are not quite as experienced defensively compared to the Lightning, who will win the division once again this season.

So, we have Toronto vs Boston for the second consecutive year. Unfortunately, I see the Maple Leafs winning this series, advancing to the second round against Tampa in seven games. The series will be another close battle but with the newly improved offense of Toronto, they will come through and Boston will enter the offseason after a first-round exit.

Well, that does it for this prediction article. Once again, these are all my predictions and I’m interested to hear your thoughts on every category listed. Make sure to check out the Bruins Pump-Up video made by myself and follow me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj!

 

Boston Bruins: Expiring Contracts Have Something To Prove

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Throughout the course of a season, many players on a team will have that invisible monkey on their back. Sometimes it’s to break a goalless drought or to prove their worth to doubters in the fan base or management. For the Boston Bruins in the upcoming 2018-19 season, many players on the roster will look to impress the front office and possibly lock in an improved contract for years to come.

F — Danton Heinen

Danton Heinen had an impressive rookie campaign in the 2017-18 season, scoring 47 points over the course of 77 games while being bounced around the Bruins top nine. Going into the upcoming season, Heinen could land himself a spot on the top-six of the Boston forward core, if he can turn in a solid season.

Although Heinen had a successful first full season in Boston, he was still doubted when the playoff season came around, as he was scratched by head coach Bruce Cassidy in Game Six of the 2018 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs ended up winning that game, forcing a Game Seven, but Heinen would indeed come through in that do-or-die game, scoring the goal that tied the game at two apiece.

Let’s say Heinen manages another successful season and finds a permanent home on the Bruins top six. A new contract could find its way to Heinen’s wallet and would most likely keep him in Boston. Danton was a fourth-round selection by the B’s in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft — the same draft as David Pastrnak, Anders Bjork, and Ryan Donato. His entry-level contract expires at the end of the upcoming season and if he can produce at the same level or better than last year, he could be asking for a decent pay raise when contract negotiations begin.

D — Charlie McAvoy

Charlie McAvoy may be highly regarded as the future franchise defenseman for the Boston Bruins for many years to come, and after a solid first full season in the NHL, McAvoy is on his way to that title.

In 63 games this past season, (missed 19 games due to abnormal heart rhythm and sprained MCL), McAvoy was second on the Bruins for most points by a Bruin defenseman with 32 points behind only Torey Krug. McAvoy also logged the second-highest time-on-ice average, averaging 22:09 minutes on the ice, behind only Zdeno Chara.

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PHOTO CREDIT: (JANA CHYTILOVA/GETTY IMAGES)

As with every good player, they deserve top dollar once their contract is complete and that thought seems to stay true when talking about younger players on expiring entry-level deals — specially young players who have the potential to become a superstar on their respective team or even the entire league.

McAvoy’s season earned him a spot on the NHL All-Rookie 1st Team. He was one of only two defensemen to get the honor, (Devils D-man Will Butcher was the other). Charlie finished fifth in the Calder Memorial Trophy voting — the highest defenseman on the list.

In today’s NHL, finding a bright talent on the blue line can be a rare commodity and most teams will make sure they do not lose that talent by offering them a somewhat lucrative contract. If Charlie McAvoy can avoid missing a large portion of games this season while producing possible career-high numbers, he too could be asking for a solid pay raise during the upcoming offseason.

F — Ryan Donato

Heading into his first full NHL season, Ryan Donato already has a lot of hype built up around him mainly by the Boston sports media. However, the hype is not quite undeniable, as he is a solid talent to have on any roster.

The exact role of Donato for the 2018-19 campaign is uncertain at this moment in time. Some say he may play on the wing or he may skate at his natural position of center. The most practical theory is that he will be flipped-flopped around until a position that works successfully is found.

Donato played in 12 regular season games for the Bruins last year, producing 5-4-9 totals, but he was held off of the score sheet in three playoff games for the Black and Gold. The Bruins signed Donato to a two-year entry-level contract back on the 18th of March and due to the 10+ games he played in, a year was taken off his deal — thus meaning he has only this year remaining on contract.

Donato is able to bring more offensive threats and it will be interesting to see his results after a full season with the club. Although, even if he has a really impressive season, it’s unlikely he’ll sign a long-term deal worth a large amount of money. It’s more likely he signs something along the line of a two or three-year contract with an annual salary around the $3.5 million mark. Of course, that all depends on how he performs this season.

Either way, if Donato wants a big contract in the future sometime, then this season would need to be productive.

D — Brandon Carlo

Bruins fans have something to look forward to when it comes to the future of the Bruins blue line. With the already mentioned Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, the Boston Bruins may just have a solid one-two punch on the backend.

Logging nearly 20 minutes of ice time back in 2016-17 and just over 19 minutes of average time on ice in 2017-18, Brandon Carlo is one of those defenders that strives for the longer minutes during a game. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has been that main man that logs minutes for the B’s, but with only one year signed on contract and him being at the age of 41, Chara may not be able to continue playing well over 20 minutes per game effectively.

Carlo is not the most offensive defenseman in the league, but with guys such as Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, and Charlie McAvoy, the offensive aspect of the defensive core is basically taken care of. Brandon Carlo, however, will bring a more shutdown defense than the others mentioned and is willing to play a lengthy amount of time in one game.

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PHOTO CREDIT: (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

In both seasons in Boston, Carlo has had a Corsi For % of above 50%, (52% in ’16/’17, 51.5% in ’17/’18), essentially meaning the Bruins were controlling the puck more than they weren’t while Brandon was on the ice. While this can be a result of a plethora of contributors, it is better to have a positive Corsi For than a negative Corsi For.

While he does tend to make errors on both sides of the puck, many rookies throughout any sport are expected to make a few mistakes here or there, but it is how they recover and play for the games to come that makes the real difference. Clearly, the Bruins management has trust in Carlo — playing him the majority of the time somewhere in the top four, often with Torey Krug.

In back-to-back playoff years, however, Brandon has been unable to join the team for the postseason, dealing with injuries in both. Most recently, Carlo suffered a broken ankle in one of the final few games of the regular season that sidelined him for the entirety of the playoffs.

Carlo has lately stated that he expects to be fully healed and ready for full contact once training camp rolls around this upcoming September.

If a healthy Carlo can have a successful season and playoff run, then a solid new deal could be coming his way.

There are also names such as Noel Acciari, Zdeno Chara, and Adam McQuaid that have expiring contracts on July 1, but the four free agents listed above are the most valuable come contract negotiations and could very well be the future of the Boston Bruins for many years to come.

If these players, including Chara, McQuaid, and Acciari, want a new, improved deal by the Bruins organization, then you can expect their very best hockey to be played in order to prove their worth to the franchise. For a player such as Chara, a poor season could spell the end of his career in general, let alone him returning to Boston. McQuaid and Acciari can most likely be replaced in free agency or with up-and-coming prospects like Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Urho Vaakanainen.

To finish off, I ask you this – will the likes of Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and the three unrestricted free agents prove their worth and earn a larger contract this summer? Let me know via my Twitter @tkdmaxbjj.

Side Note: Check out my Bruins Pump-Up video that I recently released!

Boston Bruins: Worst Signings In Recent History

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Getty Images)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

There are good signings and then there are bad signings. Often times, the final verdict that decides if a player’s new contract is either “good” or “bad” comes after an unsuccessful time with that new team. However, sometimes the length of the contract or the amount of money the player is making can be difficult to swallow due to the age or how prone they are to injuries.

In this article, three players in recent Bruins history will be listed under the list no one wants to be on, the Worst Bruins Signings In Recent History.

Matt Beleskey – 5yrs/$3.8mil AAV

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Beleskey was coming off of an eight-goal playoff season with the Anaheim Ducks when he signed a 5-year contract worth $3.8 million per season in July of 2015.

Considered by many to be one of the best unrestricted free agents in the 2015 NHL free agent class, Matt Beleskey had some big expectations to fill — expectations that came directly from the Bruins fans themselves. Kevin Allen of USA TODAY Sports ranked Beleskey as the fourth-best UFA available to teams that summer, so when Boston signed him, it seemed like Boston was in serious contention to make the playoffs once again.

As we know, the Bruins failed to qualify for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs — the first time they did not make the postseason in 7 consecutive years. The surprise absence in the playoffs led the Bruins to make some free agent signings, and of course, Beleskey was one of those players.

In the 2015-16 regular season, Beleskey had a decent year, scoring 15 goals and 37 points total over the course of 80 games. Matt also landed the most hits on the Bruins roster, with 260 hits counted. But the following season, Beleskey failed to continue the play of the previous year. In December of 2016 he injured his right knee, sidelining him for 7 weeks.

Once he reunited with the club, Beleskey was never really able to find his groove once again and only finished the year with eight points in 49 games as well as a -10 rating. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy touched on that when asked about scratching Beleskey in an article by Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald.

“That’s part of it. It’s not punishment. With his injury, we’ve got to get him back up to playing speed, playing pace.” – Bruce Cassidy, Bruins Head Coach 

The belief was that if Beleskey can have a solid recovery over the offseason, there is a chance he can come back to the time where he scored 22 goals with the Ducks back in 2014-15. Unfortunately for him and the team, he only played 14 games with Boston due to frequent healthy scratches. The Bruins eventually placed the Windsor, Ontario, Canada native on waivers, where he went unclaimed.

Beleskey did play 21 games with the Providence Bruins, posting 4-2-6 totals. That would mark the end of his career as a Boston Bruins as on February 25 he was sent to the New York Rangers along with Ryan Spooner, Ryan Lindgren, a 2018 first-round pick, and a 2019 seventh-round pick in exchange for Rick Nash.

Even though he is no longer on the team, the Bruins are still paying half of his yearly salary ($1,900,000) for the next 2 seasons.

Totals as a Boston Bruin: 143GP | 18G – 27A – 45P | -12 Rating

Jimmy Hayes – 3yrs/$2.3mil AAV

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jimmy Hayes was not a player the Bruins signed in free agency, but the signing did occur during the summer. On July 1, Hayes was sent to Boston from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Reilly Smith and Marc Savard’s contract. Five days after the trade, the Bruins and Hayes came to an agreement on a 3-year deal worth a total of $6.9 million ($2.3 million annual average).

At first glance, the dollar amount and the length of the contract don’t seem too bad, as Hayes was only 25 at the time of the new deal. However, the performance after the deal was less than lackluster and the Bruins may have felt a tad bit of regret after making that trade, especially considering the success Reilly Smith has had since leaving the Boston organization.

After 2 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks that only saw him produce a grand total of 13 points over 43 games in the time span, Hayes may have truly found his worth with the Florida Panthers. In the 2014-15 campaign — his first full one on the Panthers — Hayes scored 19 goals and totaled 35 points during the 72 games that season.

The Dorchester, Mass. native found some decent success in his first year in Boston, finishing the 2015-16 season with 13-16-29 totals and a -12 rating in 75 games. However, it would be short-lived as in the following season, Hayes would only play in 58 games, scoring a measly five points during that time.

In that same offseason, the Bruins would buy out the remainder of Hayes’ contract, a contract that only had one year left to expire. The Bruins chose to pay Hayes another $566,667 in 2017-18 and will be forced to pay $866,667 in the 2018-19 campaign according to NHL.com. 

The Jimmy Hayes contract is considered one of the worst ones the Bruins have made in recent history mainly because he achieved such little and the player that the Bruins ended up losing went on to succeed.

Totals as a Boston Bruin: 133GP | 15G – 19A – 34P | -15 Rating

David Backes – 5yrs/$6mil AAV

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PHOTO CREDIT: (nhl.com)

Last but not least, David Backes — the only player on this list to still play on the Bruins to this day. And yet, he might just have the least likable contract of all.

When David Backes signed his 5-year, $30 million contract in the summer of 2016, he was coming off of a 5-year stint as captain of the St. Louis Blues. His 727 career games with the Blues is the fifth-most in franchise history. He also is sixth for most goals as a Blue (206), 10th-most assists (254), and he has scored the sixth-most goals of any player in St. Louis Blues history with 460.

Backes was considered the face of the Blues team while he was there and many longtime fans expressed their disappointed feelings when Backes signed with Boston. The love for Backes came from his physical play with the added fact that he could score 30 goals when needed as he did so in both 2008-09 and 2010-11 with 31 goals in each of those 2 seasons.

In every season he played in St. Louis, Backes tallied over 200 hits, (other than the 2012-13 lockout season) and he often had a positive ratio of takeaways to giveaways. Prior to Free Agency Frenzy 2016, The Hockey News ranked Backes as the third-best unrestricted free agent available and luckily for Boston, he signed with them.

However, Backes has not quite lived up to the hype that was created for his arrival. In his first season back in 2016-17, David posted 17-21-38 numbers in 74 games played along with 225 hits. Decent numbers, but for a player receiving $6 million per season, some expected more out of the Minneapolis native.

During the past season, Backes has dealt with numerous injuries such as colon surgery and a laceration on his leg. Backes also served his first NHL suspension for a hit on Detroit Red Wings player Frans Nielson — a suspension that put him out of action for three games.

Even with the limited playing time, Backes still managed to put up 33 points in only 57 games and even earned the Third Star of the Week on January 1 following three goals and three assists in only three games.

Earlier in August, Backes voiced his opinion on how on the upcoming season will go for him and the Boston Bruins in an article via Jesse Pierce on NHL.com.

“We had a lot of freak injuries, a lot of missed time that was kind of one-off type instances,” Backes said. “So I’m looking forward to a full season, getting in the trenches, getting in some games and getting deep in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. I put it in perspective. You have colon surgery — that’s not going to happen this year. Chances say you get your leg cut by a skate, that [hadn’t] happened in 12 years. A suspension, that [had] never happened before. So all those things just happening in the course of one season — my money’s on none of that happening this year.”

The main reason David Backes is on this list of the worst contracts is his age of signing and the age of when the deal will expire. Backes was 32 years of age at the time of the contract signing and will be 37 when it is all said and done. That idea is a bit concerning considering his history of head injuries — most recently a concussion suffered in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

While injuries can happen to every single player in the National Hockey League, head injuries are arguably the most common and some of the most dangerous — especially if the player already has had multiple concussions in the past as previously stated with Backes.

*Totals as a Boston Bruin: 131GP | 31G – 40A – 71P | +4 Rating

Recently, I posted a poll on my Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj), asking people who they thought is the worst contract out of the three players mentioned in this article.

If I were to pick one of these contracts to be the “worst,” it would be Matt Beleskey’s 5-year, $19 million contract. When considering the length of the deal in addition to the lack of production and the remaining salary retention, Beleskey comes out as the clear worst deal.

Jimmy Hayes’ contract was only 3 years and the salary being paid out to him via the buyout is not something to panic about. Additionally, the Boston Bruins have the option to move David Backes’ contract next offseason when his current no-move clause becomes a modified no-trade clause, (eight-team trade list) if the upcoming season is unsuccessful.

Were there any bad signings by the Boston Bruins in recent history that I did not cover? Let me know by messaging me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj.

*As of the end of the 2017-18 regular season.

Boston Bruins: The Origin Of The Core

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Every professional team in any sport has a group of players on their roster that is named the “core” of the team. The National Hockey League is no different and for a veteran organization like the Boston Bruins, the core is arguably the best group of players on the team. The core of a team normally remains intact until they retire. Very rarely do you see or hear about a trade involving a core player of the team.

If someone asks, “Who is the core of the current Boston Bruins?” it would not be too difficult to reply. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, and Tuukka Rask are just the most common names that come up. Recently, however, names like David Pastrnak, Torey Krug, and Jake DeBrusk have been added to the mix of near-untouchable players on the Bruins roster.

Between the years of 2008 and 2014, the core of the Boston Bruins was a threat every time they took the ice, and the entire league knew about each and every one of those core players. A Stanley Cup win in 2011, a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2013, a President’s Trophy in 2014, and six straight Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, (seven when including the 2007-08 season) had the Bruins well known. Unlike some teams, the core of the Boston Bruins for that near-half-decade were not all “good players.”

Of course, guys like Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Chara, and Rask were still there and striving, but the group was even larger than that. Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton, Nathan Horton, and Marc Savard had some important, franchise-changing moments throughout their time with the club, especially between ’08 and ’14. Moments such as these:

Nearly every Bruin fan is quite aware of these moments, especially due to the fact that they happened so recently in the history of the franchise. But not every one of these infamous moments came to the Bruins via the NHL Entry Draft. In fact, a few of the players mentioned below were traded for or signed in free agency.

The following players listed were considered a key part to the Bruins team between 2008-09 and 2013-14:

Patrice Bergeron

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)

Need I say anything else? Patrice Bergeron is a near-guaranteed Hockey Hall-of-Famer and will most likely have his No. 37 up in the rafters at TD Garden. His four career Frank J. Selke Trophies are tied with Canadiens legend Bob Gainey for most in NHL history.

Bergeron is only 37 games away from being the sixth Bruin of all-time to play in 1,000 career NHL regular season games, and he still shows great skill offensively and defensively at the age of 33. Bergeron scored 63 points in 64 games this past season while finishing as a finalist for the Selke (won by Kings forward Anze Kopitar).

There is no question that Bergeron was and still is an important player to the Boston Bruins organization, but his route to Boston is fairly unknown. Patrice was drafted the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins’ 45th overall selection. However, it was not just a normal pick for the Bruins.

According to Pro Sports Transactions, back in 2003, there was such a thing as unrestricted free agent compensation. Different players from across the league would be categorized into different groups with certain criteria to be included in that group. Going back even further, on November 15th, 2000, the Boston Bruins completed a trade that would send Bill Guerin to Boston while Anson Carter, a 2001 first-round pick (Ales Hemsky) and a 2001 second-round pick (Doug Lynch) would head to Edmonton.

Guerin would spend only two seasons in Boston, putting up 69-60-129 totals in 142 career games, as well as six points in as many playoff games for the team. However, the B’s would not re-sign Guerin when his contract expired in the 2002 offseason. Due to the UFA compensation rules and Bill Guerin being a Group III free agent, (age 31 or older with at least 4 years of NHL experience), the National Hockey League itself would have to give Boston a draft pick in the following draft.

Unlike in today’s NHL where, if an RFA signs with a new team, that new team has to hand over a draft pick to the original team, the league itself had to fork over the draft pick instead. The Bruins would be awarded the 45th overall pick, which became Patrice Bergeron.

Brad Marchand

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Did you know that Brad Marchand was nearly an Arizona Coyote AND a New York Islander?

The back-to-back 80+-point scorer clearly has made a name for himself in this league and not always because of his goal-scoring talent. Marchand is commonly hated throughout the league and for Bruins fans, we expect a suspension or a fine at some point during the season, especially over the past 2-3 years.

However, Marchand was pretty much forced to use the feisty style of hockey early on his career in order to become a regular member on the Bruins roster. Brad was drafted in the third round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft following a decent season with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL.

Once again according to Pro Sports Transactions, the 71st overall pick that eventually became Brad Marchand was originally owned by the Arizona (then Pheonix) Coyotes. On March 9th, 2006, the Coyotes traded the 71st overall pick to the New York Islanders for Oleg Kvasha and a conditional 2006 fifth-round pick.

Then on draft day, June 24th, 2006, the Islanders would move that third-round pick (#71) to the Bruins in exchange for the 98th overall pick (James Delory) and the 126th overall pick (Shane Sims). The Bruins clearly wanted Marchand and did not want to risk the wait.

Marchy went on to be one of the best players in the 2011 Stanley Cup run, scoring 19 points in the 25 playoff games that year.

David Krejci

David Krejci was one of the top players in the 2011 Cup run as well, leading the team with 23 points during the postseason. He has played all of his 769 career NHL games with the Boston Bruins and amassed 570 career points over that span.

Like the other key players already mentioned, Krejci was not just a simple draft selection by the Bruins in the 2004 NHL Draft. As per Pro Sports Transactions, the San Jose Sharks originally had the 63rd draft pick that the Bruins used to draft Krejci, but on June 26, 2004, the Bruins traded three picks (2004 3rd, 2004 4th, 2004 9th), for that pick.

In only his second full season in the NHL, Krejci scored a career-high 51 assists and 73 points in an 82-game season. Krejci also had a +37 rating in that 2008-09 campaign — truly solidifying his two-way game. He would follow up with a 52-point year in 2009-10 and a 62-point year in 2010-11. Krejci’s 12 goals, 4 game-winning goals, and 23 points in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs lead the NHL.

Recently, Krejci has found chemistry with Jake DeBrusk on his left-wing, scoring 44 points in 64 games.

Marc Savard

Marc Savard was one of those players that were loved greatly while in Boston. He played the final five seasons of his NHL career in Boston, playing in a Black N’ Gold sweater more than any other team in the league. From 2006-07 to 2008-09, Savard scored 62-200-262 totals in only 238 regular season games — one of the best scorers in the league at that time.

Savard’s best year came in the 2006-07 season, his first as a Bruin, where he scored 22 goals and added 74 assists for 96 points. His 74 assists were the third-most in the entire league that season. While his success was incredible during the first 3 years in Boston, the dreaded injuries started to pile up.

Seven games into the 2009-10 season, Savard blocked a shot that broke his foot during a game. He was placed on long-term injured reserve on the Oct. 21, 2009. After returning to the lineup, Savard and the Bruins agreed to a 7-year deal worth $28.05 million. Unfortunately, only 28 seconds into a January 7, 2010 game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Savard collided with Jonathon Toews, giving him a minor MCL tear in his right knee.

Following two concussions in the next 10 months, Savard was told by Bruins management to take the year off. Turns out, he would not play another NHL game again. GM at the time Peter Chiarelli and the rest of the Bruins petitioned to get Savard’s name on the Stanley Cup, even though he failed to play a single game in the ’11 Playoffs.

All that was because of the 2006 offseason, when the Boston Bruins signed Savard to a four-year, $20 million contract.

Milan Lucic

During his prime, Milan Lucic was a force to be reckoned with. At 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Lucic was a wrecking ball on skates and it was often hard to knock him off his feet. Just his presence alone made opposing players think twice about hitting the best player on the Bruins roster.

In only his second NHL season (2008-09), Lucic finished first on the team and sixth in the entire league for most hits landed with 256. Lucic made an impact on the Bruins roster, but he wasn’t a grinder or enforcer-type hitter. Like Cam Neely in a way, Lucic could be considered a power-forward — a physical player who can put up some decent numbers offensively as well.

In the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons combined, Lucic laid 368 hits as well as 65-67-123 totals. Lucic often found his home alongside David Krejci but could be a versatile winger. Milan made some big plays in the 2011 Stanley Cup run with the Bruins as well as in the Game 7 comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The intimidation factor alone made Lucic a great player for the Bruins organization at the time of the best success in recent B’s history.

We know today that Lucic plays with Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, but at the beginning of his career, before he was even drafted, Lucic could have very well been an Oiler. On March 9, 2006, the Bruins traded former No. 8 overall pick Sergei Samsonov to Edmonton for Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny, and a 2006 second-round pick that turned out to be 50th overall. The Bruins used that selection to draft the Vancouver native.

Zdeno Chara

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PHOTO CREDIT: (AP Photo)

Captain Zdeno Chara is easily a future Hall-of-Famer and will have his number retired one day to be remembered with the best to wear the Spoked B. Similar to Lucic, Chara brings a physical style that is quite difficult to match — mainly due to his 7-foot tall frame on skates and the workout intensity that few players can replicate.

Chara has been a Bruin captain since joining the team back in 2006, the same year Savard came to town and the same year Lucic and Marchand were drafted. The acquisitions of both Chara and Savard proved to not only the players but most importantly the fans of Boston that the Bruins organization was not okay with losing. The season prior to the ’06 offseason, Boston finished dead-last in the Northeast division with a 29-37-16 record.

Chara came into the picture and impressed everyone. His physicality in addition to his on-ice skill made his captaincy even more deserved. Since the Bruins signed Zdeno to the five-year, $37,500,000 contract in July of 2006, Chara has accomplished the following accolades.

  • 1x Stanley Cup (2011)
  • 1x James Norris Memorial Trophy (2008-2009)
  • 1x Mark Messier Leadership Award (2010-2011)
  • 3x NHL First All-Star Team (2003-04, 2008-09, 2013-14)
  • 4x NHL Second All-Star Team (2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2011-12)
  • 5x All-Star Game Participant (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12)
  • 3x Golden Puck Winner as Best Slovakian Player (2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12)
  • 2x Silver Medal at IIHF Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships with Slovakia (2000, 2012)
  • Hardest Slap Shot as of June 7, 2018 (108.8 mph set at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game)

Honorable Mentions

  • Goaltender Tuukka Rask has been the starting goaltender for the Bruins since the 2013-14 season. He was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for goaltender Andrew Raycroft in June 2006.
  • Forward Shawn Thornton brought grit and toughness to the Bruins bottom-six. Thornton was signed by Boston in July 2007.
  • Nathan Horton scored clutch, game-winning goals all throughout the 2011 Stanley Cup win with the Bruins. Horton was traded to Boston along with Gregory Campbell in exchange for Dennis Wideman, a 2010 first-round pick, and a 2011 third-round pick.
  • Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg brought some underrated defense alongside Zdeno Chara. The Bruins acquired him and Matt Bartkowski for Byron Bitz, Craig Weller, and a 2010 second-round pick.
  • Goaltender Tim Thomas led the Bruins in the net to the 2011 Cup, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. Thomas signed with the Bruins in August of 2002.

The Boston Bruins have had some great players in recent years and each and every one of them has had an impact on the organization. If I missed anyone or you would like to know more about a specific player, message me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj.

Boston Bruins Depth Chart: Centers Throughout The System

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Elsa/Getty Images North America)

By: Max Mainville   |   Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Within the past decade or so, the Boston Bruins have been known throughout the National Hockey League as an organization with great depth at the center position, headlined mainly by Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

However, the depth of the Bruins down the middle goes way further than just Bergeron and Krejci. Especially heading into the 2018-19 regular season, the depth is even greater with the likes of Ryan Donato, Sean Kuraly, and Chris Wagner who are most likely getting NHL time once the season officially begins on Oct. 3.

Even outside of the NHL, the Boston Bruins have an insane amount of players who are listed under the center position. All prospects in the system will be found from eliteprospects.com. Additionally, some players are listed as a center but play the majority of the time on the wing. For those players, Frozen Pool will determine their line usage and if they should be considered a true center on the Boston Bruins roster.

NHL Probables

Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Danton Heinen, Sean Kuraly

According to the line combinations courtesy of Frozen Pool, as previously mentioned, those are the top centers on the Bruins as of last season. Of course, Riley Nash was once a part of that group, but he signed a three-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets this past offseason.

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

We all know how amazing Patrice Bergeron is and how important he really is to the Bruins organization entirely. He captures what it means to be a hockey player with great sportsmanship and class on and off the ice. His 963 career NHL games are 37 shy of 1,000, which would make him the fifth man in Bruins history to hit the games played milestone. Not to mention his four Frank J. Selke Trophies — tying him with Bob Gainey for most in NHL history — Patrice Bergeron is one of the best two-way forwards in the league, and it is well deserved.

Bergeron has always had great chemistry with wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and last season was another example of that. The line was used the most in Boston, 13.54% of the time. The trio scored 228 points during the season and another 53 in the playoffs.

David Krejci is one of the best second-line centers in the NHL and on a team worse than the Bruins, he could very well be a top-line center. A consistent 50-point scorer and a brilliant playmaker, Krejci’s only downfall at this point of his 769-game career is his injuries. Krejci has only played in two 82-game seasons since he started his career in 2006-2007, most recently in the 2016-17 campaign.

Last season, Krejci found his groove with Jake DeBrusk on his left side and Ryan Spooner on his right side, playing with those two for 5.85% of the entire season — the fourth-most commonly used line on the B’s. However, Spooner was traded to the New York Rangers near last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Rick Nash, who became the right winger for Krejci. But Nash has not signed an extension with Boston, leaving his future very much in doubt.

A solid No. 2 center with great passing, David Krejci could very well finish his career in Boston.

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Danton Heinen had one of the best rookie performances on the Bruins last year, scoring 47 points in 77 games for Boston, the fifth-highest point total of all players. He managed to rebound from a poor first eight NHL games back in the 2016-2017 season to be one of the top point-producing players on the team.

Heinen often centered the third line with David Backes and Riley Nash alongside him. That line was used the third-most on the team, behind only the first and fourth lines. Even though he is listed on most websites as a center/left wing, he proved last year that he deserves the third-line center position. On occasion, Danton did play some minutes on the left side of the fourth line, but again, he showed enough versatility to produce on the third line.

With one year remaining on his entry-level contract, Heinen could be looking to have an even better campaign to secure a larger contract at the end of this upcoming season.

Sean Kuraly is in my opinion the last of the potential guaranteed centers on the 2018-19 Bruins roster. Coming off a 14-point season, playing the majority of his time on the fourth line, Kuraly did what he needed to earn a three-year deal that he signed back in March of 2018.

His name really first became known by Bruins fans when he scored two goals — including the game-winning goal in double-overtime — against the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was never certain that the Dublin, Ohio native would get NHL time in the 2017-2018 season, which he expressed that in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch.

“It starts all over again,” he said. “Did I help myself by scoring two goals in the playoffs and playing my role? Absolutely. But it really does start over. We have so many good, young players going to camp.”

Clearly, he would get the spot, playing in 75 games last year and accumulating 6-8-14 totals as well as 143 hits — third on the Bruins roster from last season.

POSSIBLE NHL CENTERS

Ryan Donato, Trent Frederic

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PHOTO CREDIT: (boston.cbslocal.com)

Ryan Donato will play next year for the Boston Bruins, and the chances of him not playing are quite slim. But Donato falls into this category because he may not play at the center position for the 2018-19 season. Instead, he will most likely play on the wing alongside one of the guaranteed centers of the Bruins (see above).

In his rookie campaign last season, Donato won over the hearts of Boston fans by scoring nine points in only 12 games. The Boston native scored five goals, including his first career NHL goal in his first game, finishing a give-and-go play with Torey Krug.

With the impressive end of the season by Donato, he has made it clear that he deserves a shot in the National Hockey League after time in the NCAA with Boston University. Whether Ryan gets third-line center time with Boston or plays on the wing of another center, he will get ice time for the majority of the season for Boston.

In my previous article, I talked about the future of Bruins prospect Trent Frederic. I mentioned in the piece that Frederic will most likely get first- or second-line ice minutes with the Providence Bruins in the AHL, but he is in this category because I see him joining the roster in replace of either Krejci or Bergeron should injuries take place.

Coming off of an eight-point, 13-game season with Providence last season, Frederic is ready for an important role with the Baby Bruins this season, but if needed, I believe that he could add another element to the NHL roster if an injury does occur. Both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci played only 64 games last year, meaning the chance for another injury that sidelines either is fairly likely. If so, the former Wisconsin Badger should get that opportunity.

AHL Probables

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Colby Cave, Cameron Hughes

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson is one of the most highly praised prospects in Boston, and there may be a good reason for that. Drafted in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, JFK now has one full AHL season under his belt, playing 58 games in the 2017-2018 campaign. During the time with Providence, Forsbacka-Karlsson scored 15 goals and added 17 assists for 32 points.

Heading into the upcoming season, Forsbacka-Karlsson will be in a battle with Trent Frederic for the top-line center role, and it could end up leading to frequent lineup changes as the season progresses. Curtis Joe of EliteProspects.com said the following about JFK before the 2015 NHL Draft.

“A player who has worked hard at his all-around game, but needs to gain more consistency. That being said, he can be an offensively effective center; possesses a high level of hockey intelligence and plays with intensity. A smooth, yet not dynamic skater. An excellent passer; can turn a “nothing doing” play into a scoring chance.”

Colby Cave can be considered a veteran of the Providence Bruins as he looks to lead the team into his fourth straight year. Cave joined the Bruins organization back in 2014-15 after a 5-year career with the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League where he posted 95-107-202 numbers in 287 career games.

Since he joined the P-Bruins, Cave has tallied 37 goals and 60 assists for 97 career points in the 224 games thus far. Fellow Black N’ Gold Hockey writer Jen Stasio mentioned the possibility of Cave becoming the next captain of the Providence Bruins in an article published back in July. The idea shows his leadership is valued and will be a great depth player in the Bruins organization.

Cameron Hughes may not be the most well-known Bruins prospect, and he may not have the highest potential, but he does provide some solid depth for the Providence Bruins, and it is a good possibility that he becomes the fourth-line man in the middle for the AHL Bruins.

The Edmonton, Alberta, Canada native began his career with the Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League but found himself playing with the University of Wisconsin, where he earned the captain’s ‘C’. Hughes has played previously with fellow Bruins prospect Trent Frederic. After the 37 games in the 2017-2018 season, he transitioned to Providence where he tallied three assists in 14 games with the club.

The Rest Of The Prospects

Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen, Cedric Pare, Curtis Hall, Jakub Lauko

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Getty Images)

Jack Studnicka is one of the top prospects for the Boston Bruins. In fact, Corey Pronman from The Athletic ranked Studnicka as the third-best Bruin prospect, behind only Ryan Donato and Urho Vaakanainen. Here is an excerpt from the article talking about Studnicka.

“He is a very smart center who drove play anytime he was on the ice. Studnicka has the vision and tough to QB a power play well, while also having the work ethic to be one of his team’s better defensive forwards. The biggest thing for Studnicka is improving his strength and skating, but when I watched him in the summer, he looked noticeably quicker than during the summer.”

This past summer, Studnicka played for Canada in the World Junior Summer Showcase and he impressed the coaching staff and his teammates after his 5-point performance in the exhibition tournament.

“He’s a hard worker. He grabs the puck and takes it to the net, makes plays in the O-zone,” said teammate Calen Addison. “That’s what they really like about guys is when they’re relentless, and they know they don’t quit working, and that’s the type of player he is.”

Oskar Steen was drafted back in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Steen is a smaller forward, but that doesn’t mean he won’t become anything later on in his professional hockey career. The 5-foot-9 Swedish center has been playing with Färjestad BK in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and looks to remain there for the upcoming 2018-2019 campaign. Steen recently scored four points in seven games at the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York.

Cédric Paré of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is another player drafted in the second-to-last round of the NHL Draft, but Pare may have the best chance on getting that entry-level contract out of all the sixth-round selections. After two full seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs, Pare was traded to the Rimouski Oceanic.

Bruins Assistant General Manager Scott Bradley said the following about the Quebec, Canada native back in June of 2017.

“He’s got a lot of energy. I think it’s undervalued. His skating, I think over the course of the year he’s picked it up with his skating. His stride has lengthened a little bit. What we liked is his energy and he did score in the Memorial Cup. He didn’t have great numbers, but he had limited minutes playing on the fourth line and I think this year, he’ll be one of their top guys, one of their top-six forwards that will get a lot of ice time and, hopefully, get some good development.”

Bruins Prospects: Trent Frederic Preparing For 2018-19 Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

As the Boston Bruins prepare for the final offseason events and get ready for the upcoming 2018-2019 NHL regular season, the team’s AHL affiliate franchise, the Providence Bruins, are also getting ready for another season – especially some key young players. One of those young players is St. Louis, Missouri native, Trent Frederic.

Frederic was drafted twenty-ninth overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, but it was not just a simple draft pick for the B’s. On June 26th, 2015, the Boston Bruins traded long-time forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goaltender Martin Jones, defenceman Colin Miller, and the pick thirteen in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (Jakub Zboril).

However, it would not end there. Four days later after acquiring Martin Jones, the Bruins would trade the goalie to the San Jose Sharks, deciding on running with Tuukka Rask instead of Jones. Coming back to the Bruins from San Jose, forward Sean Kuraly and the Sharks’ first-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The Sharks would make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016 but would fall short of the ultimate hockey trophy in a series loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This would give the Bruins the 29th overall pick in the 2016 Draft, their second one of the opening round. Boston would select defenceman Charlie McAvoy with their first pick, so a forward near the end of the round would seem to be a solid draft for the Black and Gold. As we now know, Trent Frederic would be that 29th selection. But two years after the draft, is Frederic close to making the National Hockey League?

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)

In the 2016 NHL Final Central Scouting Rankings for North American Skaters and Goaltenders, Frederic was ranked down at the 49th overall pick, but the Bruins did not have a selection until pick forty-nine and did not want to risk losing out on the 6’3″ forward.

“We really needed a big centerman,” head of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky said. “At 29, we just said, ‘Hey, this is a guy that we really wanted,’ and we didn’t want to risk waiting until 49. It’s a need and we believe he’s going to play. Yeah, it’s high, but you take a chance. We believe in his ability. He’s going to a good school and a good program and he’s going to take some time.” Frederic will play for the University of Wisconsin in 2016-17. (Quote found from Boston Herald)

And just as the head of amateur scouting, Keith Gretzky stated, Frederic would indeed play the 2016-2017 campaign for the University of Wisconsin. In 30 games with the U of W, Frederic amounted fifteen goals and eighteen assists for thirty-three points. At season’s end, he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, the first Wisconsin Badger to earn the honors since Dany Heatley in 1999-2000. Frederic also finished fourth among all college freshman in points-per-game, (1.18) and was second for most shorthanded goals on the season with five.

The performance impressed the Bruins management, as Gretzky would once again say in an article by the Boston Herald back in the Summer of 2017. 

“He plays top line at Wisconsin. … Obviously, time will tell what he’ll be in pro hockey but there’s more skill to his game than people thought coming out of the draft,” Bruins player development coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner said. The Bruins went off the board when they took Frederic but it looks like that might pay off for them in the end.

For the second-straight season, Frederic would play with the University of Wisconsin, scoring another thirty-two points in 36 games. Once his time with Wisconsin came to a close, the Bruins offered Trent a three-year, entry-level contract – allowing him to play with the Providence Bruins or the Boston Bruins. In addition, Frederic would join Providence for the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign on an amateur tryout agreement.

Frederic played in only thirteen games with Boston’s AHL affiliate team, scoring five goals and eight points. However, his highlight performance of 2018 was during the 2018 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York. Although the United States lost the opportunity to play in the Gold Medal game following a 4-2 loss to Sweden in the Semi-Finals.

In the Bronze Medal game against the Czech Republic, the United States scored nine goals, four of which came off of Trent Frederic’s stick. His four goals in one game nearly set a new record for most goals by an American in a single World Junior Championships game. Wally Chapman (vs Switzerland 1984) and Chris Bourque (vs Norway in 2005) are the only Americans with more goals in a single game, scoring five.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images North America)

With the international success and the brief experience in the American Hockey League under his belt, Frederic could very well contend with a bigger role in Providence for the upcoming 2018-19 regular season. In an article published by Black N’ Gold Founder Mark Allred, Mark and Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast co-host, Josh Bemis discussed their Providence Bruins lineup predictions. It should be noted that Josh covers the Baby B’s on thesinbin.net website, a great site for minor-pro hockey news.

Bemis’s Roster Projections

Forwards

Cehlarik  –  Frederic  –   Szwarz

 Koppanen  –  Forsbacka-Karlsson  –  Bakos  /  Kuhlman

Gabrielle  –  Cave  –  Senyshyn

Blidh  –  Hughes  –  McNeil

Defense

Zboril  –  Goloubef

Lauzon  –  Clifton

Breen  –  Vaakanainen  /  Johansson

Goaltenders

Vladar

McIntyre

Allred’s Roster Projections

Forwards

Cehlarik  –  Forsbacka-Karlsson  –  Bakos / Szwarz

Koppanen  –  Frederic  –  Senyshyn

Gabrielle  –  Cave / Kuhlman  –  Fitzgerald

Blidh  –  Hughes  –  McNeil

Defense

Zboril  –  Clifton

Lauzon  –  Andersson /Johansson

Sherman  /  Vaakanainen  –  Goloubef  /  Breen

In both predictions, Frederic makes the top-six and while nothing is final of course, the thought of Frederic getting the ice-time going forward makes a lot of sense for not only him but the P-Bruins franchise. Providence is also looking to rebound after a tough first-round loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

At the current moment in time, the Boston Bruins have a solid amount of depth at the center position with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Ryan Donato, David Backes, and Sean Kuraly who already have spots on the NHL roster, as well as players like Jack Studnicka, Jakub Forsbacka-Karlsson, Oskar Steen, and Ryan Fitzgerald who are already in the system.

There is a chance that if Trent Frederic impresses this season, he could make the final cut in the years to come when it comes to the big show in Boston. Until then, he will look to have another solid season to add onto the already promising future.

Bruins Retired Numbers: Possible Next-In-Line Candidates

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Recently, the Boston Bruins announced that Rick “Nifty” Middleton will join the likes of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Milt Schmidt and all the other retired numbers along the rafters inside of the TD Garden.

Middleton was one of the best goal-scorers in Bruins history, finishing his career ranked third-most in goals as well as the fourth-most points scored over all of the former Bruin players. Without question, Middleton deserves to have his number retired and according to many, the decision to raise his banner to the rafters was long overdue.

One of the fortunate things of cheering for an Original Six franchise in the National Hockey League is that your team most likely has countless players who can be considered ‘great’ and the Boston Bruins are no different. Since joining the league back in 1928, the B’s have had some of the best players skate with the Spoked-B on their chest, (or a bear, depending on the era).

Following my article on Middleton’s number being retired on November 29th, I came across the thought – who’s next? By which I mean, what Bruin will be the next to have their unique number forever retired by the organization. Gerry Cheevers, Tiny Thompson, Wayne Cashman, and other Bruins could have their name in the conversation, but so could current Bruins such as Zdeno Chara or Patrice Bergeron. It is nearly inevitable that those two will gain the legendary status, but will one of them be the next one?

So within this article, I’ll go over three players who I believe could have their number retired by the Boston Bruins and you can feel free to voice your personal thoughts and opinions regarding the matter. The players listed will be in no particular order, just the three most-likely in my own opinion. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Gerry Cheevers – #30

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JOHN BLANDING/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 1980)

Born in St. Catharines, Ontario back in 1940, Gerry Cheevers is one of the most iconic goaltenders in Bruins history and even of all-time. With the legendary stitched mask that nearly every single hockey fan who has been watching for any amount of time has at least heard of or seen Cheevers’ mask.

Playing with the Bruins during the era of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and company, Cheevers often went under the radar when it comes to the Bruin superstars of the early 1970’s. Gerry was monumental to both the 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup wins, going a combined 18-3 throughout both postseasons.

Before the Cups, Cheevers was still considered one of the best to play the position at the time. After some subpar and some decent years between 1965-66 and 1967-68, Cheevers would find real success for the first time in the ’68/’69 campaign, where he finished the year with a 27-12-13 record, but only a .911 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 2.80. During the playoffs of the same year, Cheevers went 6-3-0, winning with three shutouts. The Bruins would lose to the Canadiens in the semi-finals, but the dominance and skill of Cheevers were noticed.

The following season, in 1969-1970, Cheevers had an amazing 24-8-8 record once the season came to a close, four of the wins being shutouts. Cheevers holds the NHL record for longest undefeated streak as a goalie (32 games, 24-0-8). Of course, the postseason for the Bruins that year was as historical as historical gets. Bruins only lost two games during the entire postseason, including sweeps over the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. Bobby Orr would score his famous Flying Goal in the final game against the Blues, and Gerry Cheevers would go 12-1-0.

For the next two seasons, Cheevers would continue his domination between the posts, producing a 54-13-13 record in the two years combined. As we all know it, the Bruins would have another successful season in the 1971-72 season, winning their second Stanley Cup in three years. Cheevers would help with the Cup victory with six wins and only two losses over the course of the playoff rounds.

In the summer of 1972, however, Gerry would leave the National Hockey League and sign a seven-year, $1.4 million contract in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with the Cleveland Crusaders. It was believed that this would his final contract of his career, but instead, he would request a buyout after the fourth year and would return to the Bruins to play for the majority of the next four campaigns.

Gerry never cared about his own statistics, once saying that he doesn’t care how many goals he allowed, as long as the Bruins scored one more. The shutouts and trophies were not a big deal to him, just the Stanley Cup. He finished his career with one of the best win/loss ratio in the playoffs (53-34). Cheevers retired in 1980 following knee problems. Below is a paragraph from the Hockey Hall of Fame website about how Cheevers became known for his iconic mask.

“During practice in the 1968-69 season, he began what was to be his most famous trademark – painting stitches on his mask to indicate where a puck had hit him. “I was trying to get out of practice one day,” he explained, “when this shot that couldn’t have broken an egg hit me in the mask. I faked a serious injury and went into the dressing room. I was sitting there having a Coke when Harry Sinden came in and told me to get back out onto the ice. All the guys were laughing, so I knew I had to do something. I told the trainer to paint a 30-stitch gash on the mask. Then I went out and told Harry, See how bad it is!” In ensuing years, he periodically added more scars, and his mask became a symbol of the first generation of mask-wearing goalies demonstrating the safety of face protection.”

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Cheevers was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.

Patrice Bergeron – #37

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

This one may be a tad bit too soon to bring into the discussion as Bergeron still plays in the NHL to this day. It is nearly guaranteed that one day Patrice Bergeron will be in the Hockey Hall of Fame and will have his number up with the greatest Bruins to ever wear the sweater. The question is, will he be the next player to have his number retired?

Probably not is the quick answer to that, but there is a slight possibility that Bergeron could beat out the likes of Gerry Cheevers or any other already-retired Bruin to get his name and number on a banner in the TD Garden.

Regarded by many as the best two-way forward in the league right now, Bergeron has prided himself on not only being good offensively but also responsible in his own end. Not a single player in NHL history has more Frank J. Selke Trophies than Bergeron, who is tied with Canadiens’ legend Bob Gainey with four trophies each.

Bob Gainey was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 and has his number retired by Montreal on February 23rd, 2008. He had a career plus/minus rating of +201, scored 239-262-501 totals in 1160 career games. Gainey scored 34 game-winning goals and had 585 penalty minutes.

If we use Bergeron as a comparison to Gainey, Bergeron seems to overtake Gainey regarding production. In only 963 career games, Patrice has 289-445-734 totals and a +155 rating. He has 59 game-winning goals and 366 penalty minutes. Bergeron also has an insane takeaways-to-giveaways ratio, currently possessing 510 takeaways and only 270 giveaways.

There is only one main thing that Gainey has over Bergeron – four more Stanley Cup rings. However, Bergeron has more points (86) in fewer playoff games (112) than Bob Gainey (73 points in 182 playoff games). While offense does not necessarily mean one player is better than another, it sure makes a difference when both players have equal trophies for best defensive forward in the league.

While Patrice leads in certain categories, the categories he does not lead he can make up for. At only 33-years-old, Bergeron has a few more years remaining in his career, and the stats will only increase. Already, Bergeron is seventh all-time in points by a Boston Bruin, only 54 behind Wayne Cashman for sixth.

Bergeron represents not only what it is like to be a Boston Bruin, but what it is like to be a hockey player. From playing with a broken rib, torn cartilage and muscle tissue, a separated shoulder, and a punctured lung in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, to mentoring the future players of the organization on and off the ice. An almost certain future captain once current captain Zdeno Chara retires, Bergeron deserves to have his #37 retired, but will he be the next one – that’s the question.

Zdeno Chara – #33

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara is also one of the current players on this list that will most likely have his number raised to the rafters in the TD Garden. The tallest player in NHL history has made a name for himself in this league for two things – his hard shot and being the captain to end the 39-year Cup drought in Boston.

A former third-round draft pick of the New York Islanders in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, Chara has gained a reputation for being a tall, scary force to all opposing players or teams. Since joining the Bruins in 2006, he would play the sixth-most games in a Bruins sweater (893).

As soon as he signed his five-year, $37,500,000 contact with Boston, he was handed the task of wearing the prestigious ‘C,’ becoming the new captain of the B’s, a position held by Joe Thornton for the previous three seasons and he would not disappoint. The five-year span, scoring 68-164-232 totals in the 398 games, not to mention five All-Star Game appearances and a James Norris Memorial Trophy in the 2008-09 season.

As we all remember so vividly, Chara would finish the contract by lifting the Stanley Cup above his head in June of 2011. However, the Bruins did not want to prolong the extension of Chara, as they had already agreed to a seven-year contract, a deal that would come into effect in 2011-12.

In 495 games on the new contract, Chara scored seventy goals, 151 assists for 221 points and a +124 rating as well as just shy of 1000 hits in the time span alone, tallying 960 bone-crushing hits total in the seven years. While the point totals for Chara never reached his career-high of fifty-two set back in the 2011-12 season, he would consistently produce 20+ points, with the exception of the 2012-13 lockout season, where he tallied only nineteen.

Following a one-year contract extension this past March, the 41-year-old is guaranteed to play one more season in the National Hockey League. If he retires after the season and playoffs conclude, he may just find himself atop the list for the next Bruin to have their number retired. Below are some of Chara’s top career accolades.

  • 1x Stanley Cup (2011)
  • 1x James Norris Memorial Trophy (2008-2009)
  • 1x Mark Messier Leadership Award (2010-2011)
  • 3x NHL First All-Star Team (2003-04, 2008-09, 2013-14)
  • 4x NHL Second All-Star Team (2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2011-12)
  • 5x All-Star Game Participant (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12)
  • 3x Golden Puck Winner as Best Slovakian Player (2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12)
  • 2x Silver Medal at IIHF Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships with Slovakia (2000, 2012)
  • Hardest Slap Shot as of June 7th, 2018 (108.8 mph set at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game)

These are only three players that could have their number retired next. Sure, Chara and Bergeron’s number retirement could be well into the future, considering how long it took to get Middleton’s number raised. Gerry Cheevers, however, could be the next player recognized by the organization and receive the honor. Who do you feel gets their number retired next by the Boston Bruins? Let me know via Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Boston Bruins To Retire Rick Middleton’s Number On November 29th

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PHOTO CREDITS: (B&W Negative)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Officially announced on July 31st, 2018 by the Boston Bruins’ Twitter page, (@NHLBruins), Rick ‘Nifty’ Middleton’s #16 will be retired by the Bruins organization and will join the legends of the franchise in the rafters of the TD Garden.

Middleton played in 881 career regular season games with the Boston Bruins from 1976 to 1988, posting 402-496-898 numbers in that time span. However, before joining the Bruins in the ’76 season, Richard played two seasons with the New York Rangers before being traded to the B’s in exchange for Ken Hodge.

In his time with the Rangers, Middleton did not quite live up to the scoring expectations that were placed on him following his insane scoring statistics in the OHA, scoring 207 points in 115 games. While in the Big Apple, Middleton peaked at fifty points in the 1975-76 campaign, thus causing the trade to the Bruins. (The trade was recently featured in an article published by fellow BNG writer, Liz Rizzo, that discussed the best Bruins trades of all-time.)

For the first two seasons in Boston, Rick Middleton was still considered an average player, scoring 42 and 60 points in the ’76/’77 and ’77/’78 campaigns respectively. It was not until the 1978-1979 season where Middleton truly showed his scoring talent and would lay the foundation for the remainder of his career – finishing the year with 38-48-86 totals.

During the six seasons that would follow, Middleton would score at least thirty goals, including a career-high 51-goal campaign in 1981-82. In that same season, Middleton would take home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, signifying him as the most gentlemanly player in the league. Two seasons later, Nifty would score the most points in his career, tallying 105 points during the ’83-’84 year.

Rick possessed great skill and threatened most goaltenders – especially in one-on-one scenarios. A former teammate of Middleton, Wayne Cashman, said the following about his time with Middleton in the National Hockey League.

“He was the most exciting one-on-one player in hockey when he was in his prime”- former teammate Wayne Cashman

Middleton’s career playoff resume is nothing to ignore as well. In 111 playoff games with the Bruins, Middleton scored one-hundred points (45-55-100), including thirty-three points in only seventeen games during the 1982-1983 post-season.

According to Wikipedia.com, Middleton currently holds four records in the NHL history books.

  • Most Points in One Playoff Series (19)
  • Most Assists in One Playoff Series (14)
  • Highest Playoff Point-Per-Game Average in one Post-Season by a Right-Winger (1.94)
  • Highest Playoff Assists-Per-Game Average in one Post-Season by a Right-Winger: (1.29)

Rick Middleton’s #16 will join the likes of Eddie Shore (#2), Lionel Hitchman (#3), Bobby Orr (#4), Dit Clapper (#5), Phil Esposito (#7), Cam Neely (#8), Johnny Bucyk (#9), Milt Schmidt (#15), Terry O’Reilly (#24), and Raymond Bourque (#77) in the TD Garden rafters in a game against the New York Islanders on November 29th, 2018.

Boston Bruins President Cam Neely and CEO Jeremy Jacobs had some words today about the retirement of Middleton’s number.

Congratulations to Richard Middleton on this outstanding honor and the newest retired jersey is well deserved up there in with the other Boston legends.