Bruins’ Sweeney Named GM Of The Year

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Photo Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney won General Manager of the Year on Wednesday night in Las Vegas during the NHL Awards ceremony. Sweeney beat out Hurricanes General Manager Don Waddell and Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong for the honor, becoming the first Bruin to win the award since its inception in 2010. Since Sweeney took over as the General Manager in 2015, the B’s have compiled a record of 143-75-28 which ranks third in wins and points in the entire league over that span. Sweeney has been a part of the Bruins front office since 2006.

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Sweeney oversaw the construction of a squad that finished in second place in the Eastern Conference and tied for second in the entire league in 2018-19. The Bruins compiled a record of 49-24-9 this past season and advanced to the Conference Final for the eight time since the round was introduced in 1982. The Bruins also clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in the last decade and first since 2013. Despite the Bruins losing over 250 man games this season due to injury, Sweeney was able to make the right moves to keep the team near the top of the league standings almost all year.

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His trade deadline acquisitions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson proved to be two of his best moves as General Manager as both players were outstanding during the B’s long playoff run. Coyle totaled nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in the playoffs after posting just two goals and four assists for six points in 21 regular season games. Johansson posted just one goal and two assists for three points in ten games in the regular season and then exploded for four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 22 playoff games.

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Sweeney was incredibly thankful for the award and credited the Bruins organization, “I really believe this is an acknowledgement of the Boston Bruins organization,” he said. “I was very fortunate that Mr. Jacobs, Charlie, and Cam gave me this opportunity. And the incredible, devoted coaches and players, people I get to work with every day should share this as well.”

Sweeney also credited his twin boys, Jared and Tyler as inspirations for the award. “From the time they were born at one pound and six ounces,” he said, harkening back long ago to the anxious days of their birth. “But most importantly, to my beautiful wife, she has been the rock of our family. She has selflessly supported all of my career aspirations and I share this with her tonight as the special person she is.”

Sweeney’s work this season was incredibly solid and while he did make a few moves that were head scratching to some people, those moves ultimately worked out. The signings of Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom last July turned out to be some of his better free agent signings in recent years. The addition of Jaroslav Halak was very helpful as he was able to play effectively enough to allow Tuukka Rask to stay fresh for the long playoff run. The additions of college free agents Connor Clifton and Karson Kuhlman proved to be very good moves especially in the playoffs as the two of them played very significant roles. We will see this offseason if Sweeney can pull off any more shrewd moves to get this team to bring some hardware back to Boston next June.

Bruins’ Captain Zdeno Chara Nominated

Image result for zdeno chara charity(Photo Credits: Ralph Freso/AP)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

As the Boston Bruins look to even out the series against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, the team announced this afternoon that Captain Zdeno Chara had been nominated for the 2018-2019 King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The award is given to the “player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” And for fans that have followed the team know firsthand that the Bruins organization is very keen on helping out the Boston community. For the Slovak transplant, Zdeno Chara is no stranger in having a heavy-handed involvement within the community.

Recently, the 6-foot-9 Chara was at the forefront (in his fourth year) at the Boston Bruins 12th annual PJ Drive benefiting Massachusetts children.  The Drive announced that a total of 21,000 pairs of PJ’s were the collected-the largest amount ever in their history.  Collections were held throughout the state with an in-game collection this past February.

Image result for zdeno chara charity marty walsh(Photo Credits: WCVB.com)

This past year, New Balance teamed up with the Bruins Captain to spearhead a shoe drive for those in need here in Boston and Slovakia. The charity, Soles4Souls, is a non-profit charity based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Not only do they provide many with shoes they also aim to create sustainable jobs. Chara personally bought and donated $7,500 worth of New Balance shoes.  Drop boxes were set throughout the area-one at New Balance stores, Warrior Ice Arena and an in-game shoe drive on the TD Garden this past March. Over 2,000  shoes were donated to the charity.

During the holidays, the Captain busily teamed up with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in collecting and donating over 3,000 pairs of socks to several local shelters. Chara participated in the annual team toy shopping and delivered to local Boston hospitals.  For the teams’ annual Thanksgiving pie delivery, Chara once again lead the way. Aside from purchasing $2,000 worth of pies, he also invited fans to donate in an online effort to raise more money. It worked. The effort raised an additional $3,500 that went to purchasing more pies.

Image result for zdeno chara charity(Photo Credit: Dr. Bryan Hoertdoerfer)

Chara is also involved in The Big Z Challenge, an annual charity headed by the Bruins team dentist, Dr. Bryan Hoertdoerfer. The event was held this past February, giving fans a chance to not only meet the captain but to square off with the defenseman in  “competitions.” The event has raised over  $150,000 and it was announced that this year’s funds went to benefit the expansion of the Elliot Regional Cancer Center in Southern New Hampshire.

Image result for zdeno chara charity(Photo Credits: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Last season, Chara joined social media and had quickly used his celebrity to shed light on the charitable efforts undertaken by the Bruins organization.  As Captain, Chara knows that being a Bruin is more than just being a player on the ice. Now playing in his 13th year in Boston, his leadership role has continued to extend to the community while inspiring those around him.

On April 23rd, the three finalists will be announced with the winner being revealed at the 2019 NHL Awards. The awards will be held on Wednesday, June 19th at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.  $40,000 in donations from the NHL Foundation will go the first-place winner, which will go to a charity of the winner’s choice.  The runner-ups will each receive a $5,000 donation that will also go to a charity of their choice.

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Few days ago I was able to make a surprise visit at ITALIAN HOME FOR CHILDREN in Boston and gave out many @newbalance shoes to every child. I WILL REMAIN HUMBLE BECAUSE I COULD HAVE LESS….. I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL BECAUSE I HAVE HAD LESS….. Thanks to @paulasueg and her team for all her help and support. #nbgivesback #giving #helpingothers **************************************** Pred pár dňami som prekvapil s návštevou deti z Detského Domova v Bostone a daroval @newbalance tenisky každému dieťaťu . STÁLE BUDEM SKROMNÝ LEBO SOM MOHOL MAT MENEJ… VŽDY BUDEM VĎAČNÝ LEBO SOM MAL MENEJ…. Ďakujem @paulasueg A jej team za ich podporu a pomoc. #detskydomov #darovat #davat #deti #pomahat

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Bruins’ Bergeron Named Selke Trophy Finalist

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(Photo: Matt Stone / Boston Herald)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

For the eighth-straight year, Patrice Bergeron has been named a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is annually awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game” as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association at the end of the regular season. Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues and Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights are the other two finalists for the award this year. The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 19 at 8 p.m. on NBCSN after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The trophy was first presented by the NHL Board of Governors in 1977.

Bergeron has won the award four times in his career (2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017), which is tied with Bob Gainey for the most all-time. As the only active player to win the Selke Trophy four times, if Bergeron were to take home his fifth this year he would undoubtedly solidify himself among the all-time great Bruins and two-way forwards.

The 33-year-old certainly has a strong case to take home another Selke this season. Although he missed 17 games in the regular season, the Bruins’ alternate captain had his best offensive season of his career, totaling 47 assists, matching his career-high of 32 goals, and setting a new career-high in points with 79 in 65 games.

On top of his strong offensive output, Bergeron was the same stalwart defensively that everyone knows and loves. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound center was strong at the face-off dot once again, boasting a 56.6% success rate (sixth in the league); it was Bergeron’s tenth-straight season having a face-off win percentage of at least 56%. Bergeron also posted a Corsi rating of 56.77%, the eighth year in a row that he has posted at least 55% for a Corsi rating.

In his 13th season as an alternate captain for the B’s, Bergeron skated in his 1,000th NHL game versus the New York Islanders on February 5th. He finished the season with a plus-23 rating and 30 penalty minutes. The 45th overall pick in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Bergeron finished with the second-best offensive-zone face-off win percentage in the league with a 59.7% success rate, the fifth-most total power play face-off wins with 162, and the 13th-most total face-off wins (786).

The Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec native scored the most short-handed goals on the Bruins this season with four, and tied Brad Marchand for the most-shorthanded points on the team with seven. Bergeron ranked first overall in the league in SAT, a team puck possession metric, with a percentage of 56.73% (minimum of 30 games played).

Bergeron is certainly up against stiff competition this year as both Stone and O’Reilly have had phenomenal seasons at both ends of the ice for their respective clubs. However, the Bruins’ best player has as strong of a case as he ever has, and we could see him add yet another milestone to his lengthy resume by the time the NHL Awards roll around this summer.

 

 

 

 

A Look Back On The Boston Bruins’ 2018-19 Regular Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press)

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

With the final game on April 6th, the Boston Bruins officially ended their 2018-19 regular season and now look ahead to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, starting Thursday, April 11th in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against none other than the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The regular season was a long, winding roller-coaster for the Bruins. Injuries, droughts, streaks, and points were all in the recipe that created the story that was this season and somehow, the fans of the Black and Gold did not fall to the ground numerous times throughout this time due to the constant breath-taking events.

Standings & Team Statistics

Looking at face value, the Boston Bruins ended the 82-game season with 49 wins, 24 losses and nine more losses in post-regulation play. Their 107 points earned them the third spot in the entire league, behind the Tampa Bay Lightning who dominated with an incredible 62-16-4 record – winning the President’s Trophy and the Calgary Flames, who finished with same points as Boston, but managed to finish with three more regulation plus overtime wins (ROW).

The Bruins scored the 11th most goals in the league, tallying a total of 257 goals for an average of 3.13 goals-for-per-game. On the other side of the puck, the goaltenders of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak helped the Bruins finish in the top 3 for least number of goals allowed in the entire season, allowing just 212 goals against, an average of 2.59 goals-against-per-game. More specifically, the Bruins trailed only the New York Islanders for least even-strength goals against (148).

Specialty teams were one of the biggest strengths for Boston and they remain that way heading into the post-season. Boston concluded the ’18/’19 campaign with a 25.9% success rate on the power-play, the third best in the National Hockey League. However, the B’s did allow a league-leading 15 short-handed goals against, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The penalty kill was not terrific for a top-3 NHL team, but that could also be due to the large mass of injuries to the blue line that hindered the defensive consistency of Boston. The Bruins have the 16th-best PK percentage, killing off just under 80% of the penalties they took. Regarding on penalties, the Bruins took the second-highest penalties-per-game, averaging 9.7 penalty minutes during the course of the season, behind only the New York Rangers.

Player Statistics

Even with all of the injuries throughout the regular season, the Bruins still managed to do quite well on an individual basis as many skaters and goaltenders set new career-highs and played some of the best hockey of their NHL career. Players that are included within the following section are players that are likely to play in the first-round series or have had an impact on the team. AHL players and some rookies, as well as traded players, will not be included.

Forwards:

  • Brad Marchand – 79GP – 36-64-100
  • David Pastrnak – 66GP- 38-43-81
  • Patrice Bergeron – 65GP – 32-47-79
  • David Krejci – 81GP – 20-53-73
  • Jake DeBrusk – 68GP – 27-15-42
  • Danton Heinen – 77GP – 11-23-34
  • Sean Kuraly – 71GP – 8-13-21
  • David Backes – 70GP – 7-13-20
  • Chris Wagner – 76GP – 12-7-19
  • Noel Acciari – 72GP – 6-8-14
  • Joakim Nordstrom – 70GP – 7-5-12
  • Charlie Coyle – 21GP – 2-4-6
  • Karson Kuhlman – 11GP – 3-2-5
  • Marcus Johansson – 10GP – 1-2-3

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron all set new career-highs in almost every category and that line proved that even with the absence of some of them, can produce at a high-level and they are truly one of the best lines in all of hockey today. Below that, David Krejci assisted on 53 goals and Jake DeBrusk nearly hit the 30-goal mark. Both of those two can add some much-needed depth scoring in the playoffs.

Trade deadline acquisitions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson have not been as amazing as may be hoped, but both have had to deal with a brand new system and brand of hockey in addition to Johansson missing games due to a lung contusion. Forward Karson Kuhlman has been great, scoring five points in eleven games and has been reliable for replacing the injured forwards on the roster.

Defencemen:

The devastating injuries ran hard through the defensive core of the B’s, forcing the club to use twelve different defenders throughout the year, with only one of them playing more than 70 games (Brandon Carlo – 72GP). Even heading into the best-of-seven series against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins will be without John Moore and Kevan Miller for a good portion of the series.

  • Torey Krug – 64GP – 6-47-53
  • Charlie McAvoy – 54GP – 7-21-28
  • Matt Grzelcyk – 66GP – 3-15-18
  • Zdeno Chara – 62GP – 5-9-14
  • John Moore – 61GP – 4-9-13
  • Brandon Carlo – 72GP – 2-8-10
  • Kevan Miller – 39GP – 0-7-7
  • Steven Kampfer – 35GP – 3-3-6
  • Jeremy Lauzon – 16GP – 1-0-1
  • Connor Clifton – 19GP – 0-1-1
  • Urho Vaakanainen – 2GP – 0-0-0
  • Jakub Zboril – 2GP – 0-0-0

Torey Krug has been what he has been for the last few years – a good offensive defenseman that is deadly on the power-play. Krug is the quarterback of the Bruins man-advantage and he knows how to feed the forwards on the ice, a characteristic represented by his 47 assists on the season.

Other than that, when the players have been healthy and on the ice, they have been pretty good for the most part. It seems that health will be the biggest deciding factor for the Bruins’ defense versus Toronto.

Goaltenders:

I recently wrote an article on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website about the work of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak and how the combination of the two could be the biggest advantage that the Bruins have against the Leafs for the postseason series. You can check out that piece HERE.

  • Tuukka Rask – 45GS – 27-13-5 .912 SV% 2.48 GAA 4 Shutouts
  • Jaroslav Halak – 37GS – 22-11-4 .922 SV% 2.34 GAA 5 Shutouts

Both Rask and Halak have statistics in the top ten of the league in all of the main goaltending categories including goals-against-average and save percentage. While Tuukka is the deserving starting man in between the pipes, Halak is a great second option if the play of Rask falters at all throughout the series.

Boston Bruins vs. NHL

With one win shy of 50 wins on the season, the Boston Bruins picked up victories over every single team in the NHL except for two – the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks. Other than that, the Bruins had at least one victory over everyone, with some of them being clean season series sweeps.

Boston won the season series over the Ottawa Senators (4 games), New York Islanders (3 games), Vegas Golden Knights (2 games), San Jose Sharks (2 games), Minnesota Wild (2 games), Los Angeles Kings (2 games), Chicago Blackhawks (2 games), Arizona Coyotes (2 games), and the Anaheim Ducks (2 games).

Boston found success over the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs, sealing 75% of the possible points in the season series when it was all said and done. In fact, Boston ended the season matchups with four of the five other Original Six franchises with an above .500 point percentage, with only the Detroit Red Wings beating Boston in the four-game series in 2018-19.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins scored the majority of their goals in the second period, tallying 93 total goals in the middle twenty minutes. Aside from that, they allowed the most goals in the third period (79).

When the B’s managed to score the game’s first goal, they found great success, finishing the season with a 34-7-5 record. Looking at the other side of the coin, Boston had a 15-17-4 record when the opposing team scored the first tally of the contest, something to be noted heading into the playoffs.

Injury Report (April 10th)

  • F Sean Kuraly – Hand – Will not play Game 1, could return later in series
  • D John Moore – Upper-Body – Will not play Game 1, could return later in series
  • D Kevan Miller – Lower-Body – Unlikely to miss the start of the postseason
  • F Chris Wagner – Lower-Body – Cleared for Game 1

Without further ado, that is the entire 2018-19 NHL regular season all wrapped up and finished. The Boston Bruins begin their road to their first Stanley Cup since 2011 Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. For a full preview on the best-of-seven series, check out fellow BNG Site writer, Yanni Latzanakis’ article HERE.

May the best team win.

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Bruins Marchand Voted Best/Worst Trash Talker in NHL

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PHOTO CREDITS: (cbc.ca)

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

As announced today, March 20th, 2019, the NHL Player’s Association (NHLPA) voted Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand the best and somehow, worst trash talker in the National Hockey League. Over 500 current NHL players participated in the voting process and it is meant to add some fun awards to the league.

The NHLPA Player Poll has been in the running for the past two seasons and it covers a variety of different categories – all of which voted on by the player body. Below are some of the winners from the 2018-19 season.

  • Best Forward – EDM Connor McDavid
  • Best Defenceman – TBL Victor Hedman
  • Best Goalie – MTL Carey Price
  • Best Shot – WSH Alex Ovechkin
  • Best Female Player – CWHL Hilary Knight
  • Best Arena Atmosphere – T-Mobile Arena (Vegas Golden Knights)
  • Best Ice – Bell Centre (Montreal Canadiens)
  • Best Team Mascot – Gritty (Philadelphia Flyers)

And many more. For a full list of all the winners – CLICK HERE.

Back to Boston – Brad Marchand took home two winning awards from this voting event. Marchand won the best trash talker, earning 21.3% of the votes, beating out Drew Doughty (11.8%), Ryan Reaves (5.5%), Claude Giroux (4.8%) and Nick Cousins (3.3%). Somehow, Marchand also won the complete opposite of that award – the worst trash talker in the league, receiving 12.5% of the votes, ahead of Antoine Roussel (5.5%), P.K. Subban (5.1%), Nick Cousins (4.7%), and Brendan Lemieux (3.5%).

We all have a good idea on what exactly goes on the ice, even though we don’t get the mics on the players for every game. Although, that would be an interesting addition to the sport. Nonetheless, Marchand seems to be in the thick of things with words flying from his lips to the biggest or smallest of players in the league today. Brad has used this asset for exactly that – an asset.

In a meaningful game for a playoff position or a game against a heated rival like the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Flyers, etc., Marchand is able to stir the pot and get under the opposing team’s skin – hoping to get them off their game. In the past, Marchand has not been great with keeping this contained, as suspensions and fines, (with many, many warnings), have piled up. This season, however, the 30-year-old Marchand has not, (*knock on wood*), been handed a single suspension – not one and has gone on to set a new career-high in points.

Funny enough, Brad Marchand is not only good (or bad) at trash talking his opponents, but he has a fun time poking fun at fellow Bruin teammates. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is one of Marchand’s main guys to have a little fun with on social media, especially on Twitter. Brad likes to make fun of Krug’s height which ironically, is the same as Marchand according to Hockey Reference. Here are a few of those gems.

Don’t worry though, Krug has had his fair share to return to Marchand on Twitter.

The friendly fire between Krug and Marchand is just a testament to how close this team has become over the past few years of success and even failure. Just this little back and forth banter between two of the most important players on the team right now shows that this team is more like a family and that is crucial come playoff time.

Aside from Marchand’s dual awards, the Bruins were in the running for a couple other ones as well, but just fell short. Forward Patrice Bergeron received 9.2% of the votes for the most difficult player to play against, finishing third behind McDavid (30.9%) and Crosby (16.0%). That’s not it as Bergeron was also voted 4th in the “Player You Would Start a Franchise With”, getting 1.7% of the votes for him, behind McDavid (60%), Crosby (18.5%) and Matthews (4.3%).

With the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, it is a nice little reminder that the players do enjoy their share of fun and games in these final few weeks of the regular season. Were these awards correct in your eyes or did the players get something wrong? Let me know on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj!

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Four Boston Bruins Players That Could Win The 7th Player Award

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Every year, the New England Sports Network, better known as NESN, releases a fan vote where fans of the Boston Bruins can vote for who they think should be awarded with the annual 7th Player Award. The 7th Player Award is awarded to the Boston Bruin who “has performed above and beyond expectations”. In years past, the team honour is handed out at the end of March, so the countdown is on for the winner.

Before we get into who should win the award for the 2018-19 season, let’s take a quick look at the past winners of the last decade. Information regarding this is courtesy of Ice Hockey Fandom.com. 

  • 2008-09 David Krejci
  • 2009-10 Tuukka Rask
  • 2010-11 Brad Marchand
  • 2011-12 Tyler Seguin
  • 2012-13 Dougie Hamilton
  • 2013-14 Reilly Smith
  • 2014-15 David Pastrnak
  • 2015-16 Brad Marchand
  • 2016-17 David Pastrnak
  • 2017-18 Charlie McAvoy

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy are the most recent winners of the award and for good reason. Marchand exploded three years ago with a 37 goals and a new career-high in points with 61. David Pastrnak also had a great year when he won it back in 2016-17, scoring 34-36-70 numbers from his 26 the year prior. Finally, last year, Charlie McAvoy scored 32 points in his debut NHL season and truly came out as one of the best young offensive d-men in the league.

In the past, the award has been handed out at the end of March, just ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in April. We are already over a week into the third month of the new calendar year, so now is the perfect time to take a look at some of the players who can with the 2018-19 7th Player Award.

Jaroslav Halak -> 18-10-4, 2.33 GAA, .924 SV%, 4 Shutouts

When Anton Khudobin did not agree to a new contract with the Boston Bruins following the 2017-18 season, the concern came as to who the Bruins were going to fall on for the role of the backup goaltender position. Ideas of younger, prospect goaltenders from either the Providence Bruins or other affiliate teams were thrown around, but it was the free-agent market that would provide the solution for this new-found problem.

Boston signed journeyman goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract with an annual average salary of $2.75 million. Last season, Halak finished up his fourth season with the New York Islanders, the fourth NHL team of his 13-year career. Halak finished last season with a 20-26-6 record, a 3.19 GAA, and a .908 save percentage – not great numbers.

Lucky for Bruins fans and himself, Halak turned a new leaf while wearing the Spoked-B sweater and is showing glimpses of top-level play, the type of play that we saw from him during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Early on this season, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on his game. He was struggling in net and was losing more often than he was winning. However, Jaro Halak made an appearance and took over the show in the meantime, keeping the Bruins afloat in the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff race.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned the fact that he may look to split the number of games that Rask and Halak play down the final stretch and that shows that Halak has done enough to earn starts when it matters. When the original signing was made, many people, including myself was not a fan mainly due to his performance in the previous season but he has exceeded everyone’s expectations and should be a favourite for the 7th Player Award because, without him, Boston may not be second in the Atlantic division.

Chris Wagner -> 66GP, 12G – 6A – 18P, 4th Liner

Chris Wagner never once scored ten goals in his five-year NHL career. In fact, he never scored more than 15 points in a single season, a mark he once hit in 64 games with the Anaheim Ducks last year in 2017-18.

When the Bruins signed Wagner, the Walpole, Massachusetts native to a two-year deal on the opening day of free agency, the signing of Joakim Nordstrom and the hope that the young, up-and-coming players within the Bruins organization will get more NHL minutes, it seemed like Wagner was going to be a spare tire – a depth piece for injuries or for a replacement for a player who is struggling but no, Wagner has become a near-permanent member of the 2018-19 Bruins.

Part of the reason for his success is the help of his linemates, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari, who have helped bolster the game of Wagner to a level never seen before in the NHL. The trio has brought a high level of intensity and energy to the bottom-six while being able to add in a few goals here and there. Additionally, Wagner leads the Bruins with 226 hits, a stat that ties him for 6th most in the National Hockey League.

In today’s NHL, all four lines of any team need to have the ability to score goals when they are so required to do so, yet provide a level of physicality and defence that can keep them in the thick of things. Chris Wagner has been a big reason for the success of that line and he deserves to be in the conversation for the 7th Player Award. No one expected the performance of Wagner to be this solid and a brief stroll in past Twitter comments will highlight that.

David Krejci -> 69GP, 19G – 41A – 60P, +3 Rating

Without a doubt, David Krejci is one of the best second-line centres in the NHL and is one of the best playmakers in the league for the past few seasons. It may seem hard for a player of that stature to win an award that presents the player that has exceeded expectations, but he needs to be in the conversation.

Since putting up 17-46-63 numbers in the 2015-2016 campaign, Krejci seemed to be on a decline for point production. In 2016-17, Krejci scored 54 points in a full 82-game season followed by a 44-point year last year in only 64 games played. However, with the growing chemistry with left-winger Jake DeBrusk, Krejci is on pace for just over 71 points this season. That total would be the second-highest single-season point total for Krejci since his 22-51-73 effort back in 2008-09 – ten seasons ago.

In that 2008-09 season, Krejci averaged 0.89 points-per-game. In comparison, Krejci is averaging 0.87 points-per-game, the third-highest PPG average in his 13-year NHL career. Krejci has found 15 of his points on the man-advantage, meaning the bulk of his numbers have come from five-on-five play, a huge attribute to take into consideration.

Throughout the past few seasons, the Sternberk, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) native has been on the receiving end of hard criticism but quite clearly, he has used that as motivation for his success this season. The 32-year-old has three game-winning goals this season, including the overtime goal in the 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on March 5th. Linemate Jake DeBrusk said the following about his chemistry with Krejci right after the game versus Carolina.

“I think when you play with a guy for almost 2 years now, you generate that w just games played & different things like that. He’s been playing great all year. He’s the biggest reason why I’ve had success personally as well. To have a guy like that in my corner is something that I don’t take for granted.” – Quote from Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon on Twitter)

David Krejci exceeded the expectations that were placed on him back in September before the puck dropped to begin the regular season. His name is back in the minds of teams across the league if they so happened to forget about him and he has been a factor for the success of the Bruins.

Sean Kuraly -> 66GP, 6G – 11A – 17P, 4th Liner

Sean Kuraly joins linemate Chris Wagner on this four-player list because, in a way, they have to be. Kuraly and Wagner, with the inclusion of Acciari, have surprised most Bruins fans and hockey fans throughout the league with their energy, tenacity, and offensive capabilities while throwing in the occasional hit or fight.

Sean Kuraly came to Boston on June 30th, 2015 in a trade with the San Jose Sharks that sent goaltender Martin Jones off to California and Kuraly with a 2016 1st Rounder (Trent Frederic) to Boston. Martin Jones was acquired by the B’s from the L.A. Kings in exchange for beloved Bruin, Milan Lucic only a few days prior.

Kuraly didn’t play with Boston until 2016-17, skating in eight games, scoring a single point. Kuraly was given an opportunity in the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Ottawa Senators and he earned his way into the hearts of Bruins fans all over with two massive goals, one of which in the second overtime session in Game 5 of that series, forcing a Game 6.

After that remarkable game for Kuraly, he ended up playing 75 games during the 2017-18 season, scoring six goals and eight assists for a total of 14 points. In the offseason of this past year, Kuraly signed on the dotted line to a three-year, $3,825,000 contract extension, securing himself a position on the NHL roster for the time being.

Kuraly has done that and more. The Dublin, Ohio, USA native has matched his career-high in goals (6) and set a new career-high in points (17) and has played in twelve less games than in last year’s season. The threat of the fourth-line could be courtesy of the always hard-working Sean Kuraly. Kuraly still possesses that clutch goal-scoring talent, scoring two game-winning goals so far in 2018-19 – both coming in back-to-back games against the Sabres on December 29th and the Blackhawks in the Winter Classic on January 1st.

Kuraly has been one of those quite but deadly pieces to the puzzle that is the 2018-19 Boston Bruins – which can come across as a pleasant surprise for him, the management, and the fanbase.

My Winner: Chris Wagner

It seems like when the Bruins are down a goal late in the hockey game, scrambling to find their legs and score the tying goal or even the winning goal, Chris Wagner is inadvertently in the thick of things when the goal eventually crosses the red line. Wagner has scored the game-tying goal on three different occasions, two of which in the third and final period. Also, in each of those games where he scored the tying marker, the Bruins went on to either win the game or lose in a shootout.

I’ll be 110% honest here – I was fully anticipating Chris Wagner to be scratched for more games than he played and to see limited ice time when he is indeed in the lineup. Losing out on Tavares and Kovalchuk in free agency, at the time, it appeared as though Sweeney and the rest of the B’s management staff had no one else and wanted to go for depth. Tim Schaller, the now Vancouver Canuck, did not re-sign, but it looked like Nordstrom would replace him. Instead, the Bruins have a physical, gritty fourth-liner that has been big when scoring meaningful goals this season.

Chris Wagner is my personal pick to win this year’s 7th Player Award, who do you think wins the annual accolade? Was it one of the players I listed or does another player come to mind? Let me know via Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) or on FaceBook comments!

Side Note: In the poll above, I listed D Brandon Carlo as an option, yet he is not on my list. I personally expected Carlo to be good this year, so he did not necessarily ‘exceed’ my expectations, but he has been great.

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Why Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy Should Be In Conversation For Coach of the Year

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Boston Bruins have been on a roll lately and are currently on a 14 game point streak as of their February 28th matchup with the NHL’s best Tampa Bay Lightning. This team is feeling it right now, and season-long confidence from Bruce Cassidy and coaching staff has fueled this team to a top team in the league. Bruce Cassidy should be in the conversation with NHL’s elite coaches.

Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins have skyrocketed to the top of the Eastern Conference and the NHL’s overall standings. As of Thursday, they sit at 83 points which is second in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference and Third place in the overall league standings. They even came in second in the NHL’s weekly power rankings. Just one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, every point down the stretch is still critical for Boston and their playoff positioning.

At the forefront of every good hockey team is obviously good players. But, accompanying high-end talent on the ice, is high-end talent behind the bench. The Bruins have that in Bruce Cassidy. Bruce Cassidy was hired as interim head coach on February 07, 2017 after the firing of Claude Julien who coached the Bruins for 10 seasons and is the winningest coach in Boston Bruins franchise history. He then became the 28th head coach on April 26, 2017.

Bruce Cassidy undoubtedly has big shoes to fill. Throughout extensive injuries last year and this year, the Bruins under Bruce Cassidy have the second best record in the league since he was hired in February of 2017. Bruce Cassidy is currently 105-44-22 in parts of 3 seasons in Boston. He just recently became the second fastest Bruins coach to reach 100 wins when his team defeated Chicago 6-3 on February 12, 2019. With 100 wins in 166 games, only Tom Johnson was quicker in the 1971-1972 season when it took him 138 games to get to 100.

It is evident that Bruce Cassidy’s system is working in Boston and in my opinion, has to be in the conversation for the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s Coach of the Year. They continue to win games, and his voice in the locker room is strong. Bruce Cassidy has lost many players for parts of this season to injuries like David Pastrnak, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, and many others. As a result, he has shown a lot of confidence in the young players stepping into the lineup or into new line roles like Heinen, DeBrusk, Cehlarik, Kuhlman, Frederic, Vaakanainen and others. But despite these man-games lost, the Bruins are still climbing the NHL standings and solidifying their spot in the 2019 playoffs.

As the Bruins have battled their injuries this season, Cassidy has had to balance a lineup that has seen a lot of youngsters from Providence fill in for the injured B’s and has taken a lot of criticism for his line pairs. However, I think Cassidy has done his best with the lineup, and his system has worked. Thanks to their second-best powerplay percentage at 26.4%, strong leadership, experience, trade deadline help and consistent contribution up and down the lineup, the Bruins have emerged as a strong Stanley Cup contender from the East.

Wins speak volumes with whoever is in the lineup for the Bruins. Regardless of who has stepped in for Boston this season, the Bruins continue to win under Bruce Cassidy. Along with the likes of Bill Peters in Calgary, Barry Trotz with the Islanders and John Cooper with the Lightning, Bruce Cassidy has to be in the conversation for the Jack Adams Trophy as Coach of the Year.

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Opinion: Boston Bruins Will Not Make A Big Trade At 2019 Trade Deadline

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away and the anticipation of every fan in the National Hockey League is growing by the hour. Similar to every season, in the weeks and days leading up to the February 25th deadline, the trade rumors are through the roof. NHL insiders and analysts alike are scrambling to find the latest, most in-depth scoop on any team involving trade.

For the past couple of seasons, especially this one, the Boston Bruins are one of the main teams in the mix to make a deal at or around the deadline. It is well known that the core of the Bruins – Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, etc. – are not getting any younger and it would be a good send off for some of these players to get another Stanley Cup ring under their belts.

In addition to that, the Bruins have some holes on their roster that need to be filled. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has had an issue with the depth scoring since Opening Day back in October. In the two wins last weekend against the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche, Cassidy had star forward David Pastrnak on the second-line with Krejci and Cehlarik while Danton Heinen joined Bergeron and Marchand in an attempt to spread out the offence and spark offence on other lines than the top one.

Heading into the Trade Deadline, Boston is quite clearly going to push for a top-six winger, most likely to play with David Krejci, so Pastrnak can be reunited with Bergeron and Marchand, if they do end up making that push. With a quote coming from an article published on NHL.com by Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin on Twitter), General Manager Don Sweeney does indeed recognize that need.

“My feeling is that we would like to try and add without necessarily giving up what we know is a big part of our future,” Sweeney said in comments provided to NHL.com by the Bruins. “We committed assets last year to take a swing where we felt we needed to address an area of need and we will try and do a similar thing this year. I can’t guarantee that’ll happen. This time of the year, prices are generally pretty high, but we’re going to try. We’re going to try because I think we still need it.”

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

If the Boston Bruins want to be considered a Stanley Cup Contender this season or even just a really solid team coming out of the Eastern Conference, then Sweeney needs to pull the trigger and in my eyes – that is the move to make. Make a trade for a top-six winger who can score. However, even though I’d like to see a move made, I think for a few reasons that Boston will not make a big trade this Trade Deadline.

High Risk – High Reward, Maybe.

To make a trade, you have to send someone the other way – simple equation to all trades in every sport. The Boston Bruins appear to have a large pool of prospects in not only the AHL with the Providence Bruins, but across many different hockey leagues all throughout the world. With that said, the performance of these young players in the NHL this season may be a cause for concern for other General Managers on the other end of the phone call.

Ryan Donato and Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson were arguably the best prospects in the system as we closed in on the 2018-19 season, but with their lackluster performance in the NHL, resulting in their demotion back to Providence, it is a very good chance that the GMs across the league are worried that these prospects are “flops”, which could be completely false, but it is most definitely something they are discussing.

donato

PHOTO CREDITS: (CHARLES KRUPA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO)

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin is without a doubt, the number one player on the market. Boston Globe’s Matt Porter discussed what the idea of what Columbus may be wanting for the pending unrestricted free agent.

“The market for (Panarin) is reportedly a first-round pick, a player, and a prospect. It is a high price, especially for someone who could leave a team empty-handed on July 1. But the Bruins are interested, and they’re not alone,” Porter reported.

If I were a betting man, (I am not), I would imagine Jake DeBrusk having to go to Columbus as well as a Ryan Donato or Trent Frederic and the 2019 1st Round Pick. All that with the added dilemma on what happens to Panarin after the season ends, does he test free agency, or does he sign an extension in Boston? That is a high price for a rental player and it does not guarantee a Stanley Cup for Boston.

Even if it isn’t Artemi, players such as Mark Stone, Wayne Simmonds, Michael Ferland, or Kevin Hayes – the Bruins will have to give up assets that may or may not appeal to the future of this franchise. It has been mentioned that it is a buyer’s market right now, but teams with valued assets will most likely charge an arm and a leg for that player because they can most likely get those same assets back from one of the other 30 NHL teams.

Are the assets going out worth it? That is to be determined, but nothing is official.

Sweeney’s Trade History

Even though GM Don Sweeney expressed his interest in trading, he also said in the same quote that he wants to avoid moving a large part of their future for a possible rental player. When saying that, he wants to avoid a repeat of last year’s deadline acquisition with the New York Rangers.

Put in the same position as this year, the Bruins needed help on the top-six forward core. In what looks like now like a panic move, the Bruins sent forward Ryan Spooner, defenceman Ryan Lindgren, and Boston’s 2018 1st Round Pick (traded to Ottawa for D Jacob Bernard-Docker) to the New York Rangers for forward Rick Nash who played in eleven regular season games (3-3-6 totals) and another twelve playoff games (3-2-5 totals, -7 rating) and then retired this year.

Sweeney moved a lot of youth – mainly Lindgren and that 1st Round Pick for a player that played in a combined twenty-three games in a Spoked-B sweater. Don Sweeney has stated in the past that he does not want to move another first-rounder and if it is for a player that may decide on hitting the free-agent market come July 1st, the chances of him giving in are quite slim.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Sports)

When considering that, there are teams, such as Toronto, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, or Nashville that would gladly trade their first-round selection because they believe that they can be a serious Cup contender and that their pick will be a late round pick and in that regard, would not be that hard of a price to pay. Sweeney does not want to make a mistake on a trade nor make a move just for the idea of making a move, leaving some bargaining power off the table.

Free Agency Class – UFAs and RFAs

One thing that a lot of the hypothetical trade targets have in common, is that their current contract expires on July 1st. If the Bruins management decides to make a move for one of these players, it does not guarantee that they will remain on the team for the 2019-20 season. That plus the fact that the B’s will have to trade some pieces, like I have already mentioned, that may not be in the plans of the future.

Here are 10 unrestricted free agent players that could fill the Bruins holes in the free agent market IF they do not re-sign with their current organization and they decide to sign with Boston:

  • CBJ LW Artemi Panarin – 52GP – 21-42-63 in 2018-19
  • OTT RW Mark Stone – 55GP 25-31-56 in 2018-19
  • OTT C Matt Duchene – 46GP – 25-28-53 in 2018-19
  • NYI RW Jordan Eberle – 51GP 13-13-26 in 2018-19
  • OTT C/RW/LW – Ryan Dzingel 54GP 21-20-41 in 2018-19
  • NYR C/W Kevin Hayes – 46GP – 13-25-38 in 2018-19
  • DET RW/LW Gustav Nyquist – 56GP – 14-33-47 in 2018-19
  • NYR RW Mats Zuccarello – 41GP – 9-23-32 in 2018-19
  • ANA LW/RW Jakub Silfverberg – 47GP – 12-8-20 in 2018-19
  • CAR LW/RW Micheal Ferland – 48GP – 15-16-31 in 2018-19

Of course, there is no guarantee that any of these players make it to free agency and if they do decline offers from their respective teams, then there is no guarantee that they are swayed enough by the Bruins management members to come to Massachusetts and join the Bruins. However, the same can be true if the Bruins trade an arm and a leg for these players for them to just leave at the beginning of July. If Boston fails to win the Cup with them, then it is another bad move.

In the same breath, the 2018-19 free agent class has one of the most-skilled RFA class of any year’s past. When sending an offer to an RFA that makes it past July 1st, you must not only get acceptance from the player, but from the team, who has the option to match your contract offer. If the Bruins can land a player that is under a restricted free agent status, then compensation picks that vary on annual salary amount will have to be paid to the team. Under every option, the Bruins right now, are able to offer any amount. It is important to know that all picks are for the nearest Entry Draft so in this case, 2020 NHL Draft unless the compensation is multiple picks from the same round, then it can be from numerous years. Check it out below via CapFriendly Offer Sheet Calculator:

  • $0 – $1,339,575 – No Compensation
  • $1,339,576 – $2,029,659 – One 3rd Round Pick
  • $2,029,660 – $4,059,322 – One 2nd Round Pick
  • $4,059,323 – $6,088,980 – One 1st Round Pick and One 3rd Round Pick
  • $6,088,981 – $8,118,641 – One 1st Round, One 2nd Round, One 3rd Round Pick
  • $8,118,642 – $10,148,302 – Two 1st Rounds, One 2nd Round, One 3rd Round
  • $10,148,303 – ∞ – Four 1st Round Picks

If Sweeney and the Bruins make a move that will most likely have to require that first rounder, it makes a RFA offer less likely because Boston will be without a pick in the first round for three years in a row. The options for Sweeney are a lot, but the questions that are being asked often are the following.

Can the Bruins afford to move the youth and prospects that they have built up for a rental? Will a trade for a longer-term player work out? Will the lack of 1st Round Pick(s) impact the team in a negative manner for the long-term? Should Boston make a real push with Chara, Bergeron, etc., getting older and their time for another Cup running slim?

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

The questions continue from there but with the weeks and days counting down, only the B’s management know what they can get and what they want. We as fans just have to bite the fingernails off as we anticipate the breaking news, or lack thereof.

In one final conclusion, I do not think that the Boston Bruins will make a big, franchise-altering trade at the Trade Deadline this season. If there will ever be a big trade, it will be at the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver or on the opening day of NHL Free Agency. Don Sweeney’s track record has not been pleasant nor will the assets going the other way for a player that may or may not stay with Boston next season all combined together with the simple fact that nothing guarantees a Stanley Cup. What do you think about the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline?

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Bruins Halak Finishing up Elite First Half of Season

Jaroslav-Halak-Bruins(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara, USA Today Sports)

By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith

When the Boston Bruins signed Jaroslav Halak as a free agent this offseason, he wasn’t really expected to be anything beyond a serviceable backup. He signed a two-year contract worth $5.5 million with the Bruins, while Anton Khudobin left to sign with the Dallas Stars for two-years and $5 million. The Bruins shelled out a bit more money for Tuukka Rask’s backup for this season, but Halak provided a nice veteran option to play whenever Rask needed a rest.

Halak has played some of the very best hockey of his career and been a pleasant surprise for a team that has suffered through a lot of bad luck with injuries. The official halfway point of the season is right around the corner, and Halak definitely needs to be discussed among the potential Vezina Trophy candidates. He leads the league with a .928 save percentage and is fifth with 2.28 goals against average, although his biggest impediment to being taken as seriously as possible for the award is his relative lack of playing time. Halak has played in 22 games this season while splitting time in net with Rask and has gone 12-6-2 in 21 starts.

His stats are impressive, but he hasn’t been leaned on as his squad’s workhouse this season due to the Bruins depth chart situation. It’s a luxury to have two very capable goaltending options, but it probably means that neither one would get the proper due in terms of that Vezina Trophy by the end of the season. A lot of his chances for the award are going to be based on whether the Bruins coaching staff begins giving him significantly more starts over Rask in the second half of the season. Even with the elite statistics in categories like save percentage and goals against average, it’s likely going to take Halak getting more starts to win the Vezina Trophy.

The last 10 Vezina winners in non-lockout shortened seasons illustrate a pretty clear picture of what Halak needs to get to. In terms of wins, the fewest amount by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is 35. The highest win total is 48. The average is about 41. The lowest goals against average by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is 1.96 goals against average. The highest is 2.31 goals against average, and the average is about 2.10 goals against average. The highest save percentage by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is a .938 save percentage. The lowest is a .920 save percentage, and the average is about a .929 save percentage.

Halak has a save percentage right now that is just about average for what a Vezina winner has put up recently. Even with the goals against average a bit on the high side, it’s still not the highest amongst the recent winners. The wins are the biggest problem for him right now, though, but that’s to be expected given that his goaltending partner is getting so many starts. Tim Thomas won the Vezina with 35 wins back in 2010-11, but he still ranked tied for ninth that season in that category. Halak is tied for 18th in wins right now, and there are currently four goaltenders who are tied for seventh with 15 wins. Halak is a few wins behind the top 10 in that category, which is around where he’d have to be if he wants any realistic chance to win the Vezina.

He’s in excellent shape with his save percentage, and even his goals against average as of now isn’t acting as a huge impediment for his odds. The real challenge for him is in the wins category, and that’s dependent on how many starts he gets in the second half of this season. He might ultimately not play in enough games to really generate sufficient buzz for the award. It would also be tough for him to keep the save percentage and goals against average where they are with more starts, but given how locked in Halak has been in the first half of the season, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to expect him to finish the season with stats worthy of securing the Vezina Trophy.

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Can Bruins David Pastrnak Win The Rocket Richard Trophy?

boston-bruins-david-pastrnak-100th-goal-101318.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo)

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

Without a doubt in anyone’s mind, David Pastrnak is the best goal scorer on the Boston Bruins in 2018-19 and he will most likely retain that title for many years to come. With that in mind, how good of a goal scorer exactly is Pastrnak?

The National Hockey League has had the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy since 1999 and was first established at the end of the 1998-1999 season, where Teemu Selanne was awarded the trophy. The award was named after Richard, who spent the entirety of his eighteen-year NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens. “Rocket” was the first NHL player to reach the 500-goal milestone and was the first NHL player to hit 50 goals in a single season, doing so in only 50 games back in 1944-45.

For over a decade, the Rocket Richard Trophy has gone to one man seven times – Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. From the 2012-13 season to the 2015-16 season, Ovechkin won the trophy every single season, until Sidney Crosby broke that streak in 2016-17, only for Ovi to reclaim the trophy last season. Ovechkin’s best trophy-winning season was his 65 goals in 2007-08, the most by a winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AFP)

Since then, however, the winner of the trophy has scored less than fifty goals – Crosby with 44 and Ovechkin with 49 last year. In the history of the trophy, no Boston Bruin has ever won it. David Pastrnak is considered to be one of the best young scorers that the Bruins have had in recent memory, can he be the first Bruin to win the prestigious winner?

At the end of December 2018, Alex Ovechkin still leads the NHL in goals with 29 in 37 games played. Six goals behind him in seventh place, David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins. The 22-year-old winger is scoreless in his past three games (CAR, NJD, BUF) and if he scores a few times during that stretch, he could find himself within the top five for goals.

It is somewhat hard to look at the future of a hockey season when you are not even past the halfway point. In the past eighty-two regular season games dating back to the 2017-18 season, including Boston’s most recent game against the Buffalo Sabres, Pastrnak has scored 43 goals. In comparison to Ovechkin’s league-leading forty-nine tallies last season, Pastrnak would only be six goals away from leading the National Hockey League – the exact distance he is apart from the lead right now.

With that stat, it is fair to note that Pastrnak had some rough patches when it came to scoring goals last season. From December 14th, 2017 to January 2nd, 2018, Pastrnak failed to score a single goal in ten consecutive games. If only he scored on six of those, he would have tied Ovechkin’s tally from last year. Of course, that includes the 23 goals this year that Pasta has scored.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Images)

Already this season, the Bruins have struggled with injuries – including hard injuries to Pastrnak’s well-known linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Although, when Marchand has been healthy, he has not been as effective at putting the puck in the back of the net, scoring only twelve times in thirty-eight games. On the flip side, Marchand leads the team for assists with twenty-nine helpers.

When the Bruins’ first line is fully healthy and they are clicking offensively, the numbers can truly skyrocket. Bergeron already has a passer’s touch and if Marchand continues to have the vision to send the rubber to the piece of tape on Pastrnak’s stick, Pastrnak can rake in the goal numbers.

Is it possible for David Pastrnak to score more goals than any other player in the entire National Hockey League? Of course, it is. The Bruins are finally going to have a healthy roster, *knocks on wood* and can have the opportunity to finally gain some ground on the NHL standings. However, goals have been an issue for the players further on down the lineup.

When Patrice Bergeron was out for multiple weeks with a sternoclavicular/rib injury earlier this season, centre David Krejci filled in on the top line. Pastrnak did not seem to have issues scoring alongside Krejci. Krejci, an above-average passer is able to find his fellow Czech on the ice and create scoring opportunities.

In fact, Pastrnak is in the middle of his best goal-scoring season, scoring an average of 0.59 goals-per-game. His next highest came in the 2016-17 campaign when he averaged 0.45 GPG. If he continues his current pace, Pastrnak has the chance to hit 48 goals this season and that very well could contend for the league-lead. This is barring no injuries and for Pastrnak to continue at this very same pace. It is very possible that David can score more or less than that average moving forward.

If I were a betting man, which I am most definitely not, I would not bet money on David Pastrnak winning the Rocket Richard Trophy THIS season. I do, however, think he can contend for the trophy and within the next five years, he will win the award. Since being drafted twenty-fifth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Boston, Pastrnak has done nothing but improve in nearly all assets of his hockey game.

If the trend continues, he will only score more goals. But with predictions and future events, the only true answer is in the hands of one thing – time.

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