Boston Bruins: Jake DeBrusk Breaking The Cold Streak

PHOTO CREDIT: Maddie Meyer-Getty Images

By: Michael DeRosa | Check me out on Twitter @michael_derosa4

With David Pastrnak expected to miss at least two weeks, it is now time for the Bruins’ secondary scoring to wake up. In last night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, it is clear that they took a step in the right direction. Danton Heinen has been fitting in perfectly with the first-line and is quickly silencing his critics. However, one must not forget that Jake DeBrusk also broke the ice last night. With him registering three points, it seems as though he is finally heading in the right direction to break out of his slump.

One important factor to note is that once DeBrusk gets going, he has shown that he can play at a very effective level. After starting the year off in a similarly slow fashion, he ended up going on a stretch where he was scoring at will. With that being stated, there is no question that he has the ability to be a difference maker at the NHL level. With Pastrnak out, he is going to receive even more opportunities to shine. It is now time for him to play at a consistent level.

This time of year is crucial when it comes to getting points. Although the Bruins are in a spot where the playoffs seem like a sure thing, history has shown that anything can happen in this league. Scoring from players like DeBrusk and Heinen are a necessity at this point in time. However, in a sense, there is an unsaid high level of expectations toward DeBrusk. He is a former first-rounder who has already shown in spurts that he can resemble an elite sniper in this league. It just is a matter of staying at that level permanently.

The NHL Trade Deadline could also be massive for DeBrusk. There is no question that the Bruins are looking to acquire a top-six winger. Artemi Panarin has been the major name that the team is linked to, but it is not limited to just him. There are plenty of rentals who can slot on that line who could help DeBrusk’s offensive consistency blossom, such as Micheal Ferland and Wayne Simmonds. Bringing in a legitimate second-line winger would be the best action for not only DeBrusk but the entire team in general.

Criticism has been handed DeBrusk’s way during his cold streak, and it is justifiable in a sense. There is no question that the team should expect their second-line winger to produce at a solid pace. At certain points, one may argue that he has looked invisible on the ice as well. However, at the same time, the line has struggled to find solid chemistry all season. When a team is constantly changing up lines, it can leave a negative impact. With him being a young player, it makes sense as to why this has occurred.

At the end of the day, it is quite apparent that the importance of DeBrusk breaking this streak is at an immense level. The Bruins have the potential to do something special this postseason, but they need players like him to play their bests. At one point of the season, it seemed likely that DeBrusk easily could have had a 25-goal campaign. The potential is there, but more importantly, the consistency needs to be as well. Expect these last few months of the regular season to lead to him breaking out. Last night truly was the start of that.

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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 Post-Game Recap: Los Angeles at Boston: 02/09/19

brad-marchand-derek-forbort-trevor-lewis-1040x572

PHOTO CREDITS: (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (29-17-8)

Away: Los Angeles Kings (23-27-4)

The Boston Bruins are back in action for another matinee game, the second one in two consecutive weekends. Boston is coming off of a shootout loss to the New York Rangers in a game where the team once had a 3-1 lead in the third period but allowed the Rangers to come back and win. The Bruins hold the first wild-card spot, two points behind Montreal with a game in hand.

The Los Angeles Kings are in the middle of a three-game winning streak, all of which coming this week. The Kings have struggled this year, having a below-.500 winning rate, but are somehow only six points away from being in a playoff spot, so these wins are crucial for them to make a big push late.

Bruins GameDay Lineup:

Bruce Cassidy announced that D Matt Grzelcyk is out with a lower-body injury and D John Moore is back in the lineup to replace him.

First Period:

After a touching, memorable ceremony to honour Patrice Bergeron reaching the 1000-game milestone, the Bruins and Kings went back-and-forth as I predicted in the pre-game preview. In the first seven minutes of this hockey game, there was no whistle. Boston was outshooting the Kings 5-0 during that time, but even then, the offensive seemed a bit slow and off.

Right off of the first whistle, L.A. started to find their game. They started to cycle the puck around the Boston zone – getting a pair of shots on Rask. Forward Jake DeBrusk got too reckless with the stick while the Kings were controlling and he is sent to the box for two minutes for hooking. On the shorthanded play, Brad Marchand has a chance to get out of the zone and get a breakaway but is interfered by Alex Iafallo and the Bruins are to the power-play after nine seconds of 4-on-4.

Los Angeles did a good job clearing the puck on the penalty-kill and preventing any good chances by the Bruins. The best chance for the B’s came in the dying seconds of the man-advantage, where McAvoy fired a shot, leaving a rebound open for Backes who failed to capitalize due to the magnet-like defence of the Kings.

The Bruins and Kings continue the period at a very high-paced level. Boston seems to be getting the better of the chances and getting more quality shots on Jonathan Quick while the Kings have not had too many opportunities on Rask. The defensive side of the puck has been solid as well with 2.5 minutes to go in the first for the B’s.

With just over a minute to go, David Krejci makes a sweet move and a nice pass to an open Peter Cehlarik but Quick dives across to make a big stop late. The Bruins have been getting better and better as this period goes on. All of their chances have been met by Quick. Looking good heading into the first intermission.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 15 LAK: 6

Score: 0-0

Second Period

Chances continue for the Bruins early in the second period as Krejci has an open net to shot at off a rebound, but the puck could not lay flat on the ice for him and no shot came from it. Right off that, a minute into the middle frame, Drew Doughty is sent to the box for delay of game.

Los Angeles had another solid penalty-kill like they had in the first period, even getting some shots on Tuukka Rask while shorthanded. The Bruins could not generate much offence on the power-play, another poor effort on the man-advantage.

Less than five minutes into the period, Danton Heinen made a nice pass across the zone to Patrice Bergeron who made an absolutely beautiful no-look feed to Charlie McAvoy cutting behind the play. McAvoy buries it past Quick into the open net for his second goal of the season. Assists go to Bergeron and Heinen.

Not long after the goal, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara would be caught at the blueline on an interference minor while trying to receive a pass from Brad Marchand. Bruins allowed one shot on the previous penalty-kill and they will go back shorthanded here.

Kings had arguably the best power-play of either team on this one. Iafallo had one of the best chances on the man-advantage, taking a shot on Rask who was moving side-to-side but Rask makes a brilliant blocker save. Once the penalty was successfully killed off, David Krejci is called on a slashing penalty and the Bruins are right back at a 5-on-4 deficit. LA is starting to get more confident while rushing into the zone.

Give too many chances and eventually, they will score. Alex Iafallo on virtually the same shot as on the last penalty fires a one-timer through Rask and it is a tied game. Iafallo’s eleventh goal on the season and gets back at Tuukka for the big save earlier in the frame. Assists go to Martinez and Kempe.

Even though the Kings tied it, the Bruins off the hands of their top line came right back with some good zone control. For a few minutes, it looked like a power-play for the B’s. Clean passes, shots on net, and nice job cycling the puck. No goals came from the zone time, but it was a good look for the team considering the goal against.

With six minutes to go in the period, the Bruins fail to get the puck out of the zone, lose coverage on Anze Kopitar who fires a shot past Rask and just like that, the Kings are leading 2-1. Assists go to Dustin Brown and Dion Phaneuf. Brown’s assist was his 599th career NHL point.

Defenceman John Moore had to go off with around four minutes left to go in the frame after taking a wrist shot off of the visor, appearing to cut his nose. If he is not wearing a visor, that is a much more dangerous situation than what it is. Moore did return to the bench a few minutes later.

The poor passing of the Bruins – especially on the breakout passes continue. A turnover in the neutral zone leads to Brandon Carlo tripping Iafallo as he entered the zone. Bruins to yet another penalty-kill. Los Angeles had three shots but the B’s do make a successful kill on the Carlo minor – ending the period for both teams at a 2-1 LA lead. The tides changed after a solid first period for Boston, the shots were 16-7 in favour of the Kings in the second. Things need to change if the Bruins want even a point in this one.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 22 LAK: 22

Score: 2-1 Kings

Third Period:

The opening minutes were quite close between the two teams, with the first line continuing the solid play. Danton Heinen has found success this game with great forecheck alongside Bergeron and Marchand and he would be rewarded with a goal less than four minutes in. McAvoy fired a shot and Heinen was there for the rebound. That’s three points in two games for Danton and his eighth goal of the 2018-19 season. Assists to McAvoy and Marchand.

A minute-and-a-half later and the Bruins strike again. Torey Krug’s shot bounces directly to David Krejci who fires it past Quick and early, the Bruins have a 3-2 lead in this hockey game. Right after the goal though, Chris Wagner is headed to the box for tripping Ilya Kovalchuk and Boston is once again to the penalty-kill.

The penalty-kill was going well for the B’s, holding off any really good chances by Los Angeles. Then, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand find themselves on a shorthanded 2-on-1, where Marchand buried the goal past Quick. The shorthanded tally was Marchand’s 24th of his career, tying him with Derek Sanderson for the second-most shorthanded goals in Boston Bruins franchise history.

Even with the three goals early in this period, the Bruins still have struggles getting the puck out of the zone – a trend that has been hurting the Bruins this game and comes back to do it again. Kevan Miller’s clear is picked off and Brandon Leipsic makes a slick pass to Nate Thompson, the former Bruin, who beats Tuukka Rask and around the halfway mark of the period, it is a one-goal game again.

LA has been putting on pressure like they have at numerous times throughout this game, but the Bruins manage to hold off any goals and get the puck out of the zone. Missed opportunity for the Kings not to score on a lengthy zone chance like that.

With 5:14 to go in the final regulation period, Derek Forbert finds a sneaking Carl Hagelin who is open backdoor but Rask sees him coming and slides over to make the saves. The chances are piling up for Los Angeles after nearly six minutes of play without a whistle.

Like I said earlier, give enough chances, and they will score. With 4:47 to go in the game, Oscar Fantenberg rips a bomb at the point from a Doughty pass and goes top shelf. Tuukka Rask does not see the puck until it hits the mesh – we are tied at four.

Each team had valiant efforts in the dying minutes of the third, but it heads to 3-on-3 overtime. This game should be over and we can look ahead to the Avalanche tomorrow. Boston cannot seem to hold any sort of lead for long, even when they score three goals in the first ten minutes.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 29 LAK: 28

Score: 4-4

Overtime:

Los Angeles gets the first really good chance of the always-exciting overtime session as Adrian Kempe gets alone on a breakaway but Tuukka Rask stones Kempe with the blocker. David Krejci made the bad pass that led to the chance but Rask did his job well.

With 3:33 remaining in overtime, Ilya Kovalchuk sticks his stick out, catching David Pastrnak’s skates – sending the Bruins to a 4-on-3 power-play in overtime. Brilliant chance here for Boston to strike and win the game.

And win is what they would do. Torey Krug finds Bergeron on the other side of the ice, Bergeron waits and fires a picture-perfect shot off of the post and in and the Bruins win 5-4 in overtime. Bergeron gets the game-winning goal, the third-most game-winning goals in Boston Bruins history.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 33 LAK: 29

Final Score: 5-4 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 GWG, 2 Assists, 7 Shots, 21:23 TOI

2nd Star: BOS D Charlie McAvoy – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +2 Rating, 23:35 TOI

3rd Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +3 Rating, 22:30 TOI

Boston takes on the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow in the TD Garden.

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Bruins Cassidy Is Here To Stay As He Nears Two Full Seasons

Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils

PHOTO CREDITS: (Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)

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

On Saturday, February 9th, Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will be the main man on the B’s bench for his 164th game – exactly two full 82-game seasons. Recently, individuals around the fan base have been questioning the work of Cassidy and whether or not he is the right head coach for the team moving forward in the years and seasons to come. In the shootout loss to the New York Rangers, Cassidy chose not to put forward Patrice Bergeron in the player-vs-goalie period, once again bringing up the judgement on his decisions.

Then there is the David Pastrnak situation. The Bruins are very much a front-loaded roster when it comes to the offence. Aside from the first line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak, the Bruins do not have much to fall back on when we are talking bottom-nine scoring forwards. David Krejci can put up numbers but always seems to be lacking good wingers at all times. Jake DeBrusk has more recently brought some life to the second line, but a hole remains on the right wing.

During the fast-paced action of a game, Cassidy may put Pastrnak with his fellow countryman, David Krejci and Canadian Jake DeBrusk to “spread out” the offensive firepower. However, not before long, the trio that is a true threat to any team in the NHL is back together and a large pool of centres and wingers are placed alongside Krejci to try and find that seemingly-rare chemistry.

We have yet to see multiple games of consistent Krejci-Pastrnak action unless it is on the power-play which, coincidence or not, is one of Boston’s strongest weapons of scoring opportunities. Krejci and Pastrnak have proven in the past that they can find that chemistry that has been discussed before on many occasions and build some good chances to put the puck past the goal line and into the back of the net.

Although, once they are on together, it brings along a weaker first line, where Marchand and Bergeron lose a highly-skilled scoring player who can make things happen on the ice. Recently in an interview prior to the Kings game on Saturday, Cassidy said that they are going to try out Danton Heinen on that top line. Heinen is not Pastrnak by any stretch of the imagination and has struggled this season after a strong rookie campaign in 2017-18. Cassidy did go on to say that Heinen is more a defensive player and the three of them will not have to worry too much about the top lines of other teams because all of them, especially Patrice Bergeron, are for the most part, responsible defensively.

The lack of depth scoring on the Boston Bruins in February 2019 can also be attributed to the lack of trades by General Manager Don Sweeney and with only a few more weeks until the NHL Trade Deadline at the end of the month, the clock is ticking to make that deal for another scoring player to play on the front end and bring some help to the top-six.

Either way, Bruce Cassidy has done well and continues to do well. In the past few games, the only line that has been reliable offensively has been that first line. In the three games of February so far, Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak have a combined eleven points. After them, David Krejci has two points, Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, and Peter Cehlarik have one, and the rest of the forwards are yet to score a single point in three games.

Dating back to January 1st, the dangerous first line has fifty-three points combined (22 Goals, 31 Assists) with Brad Marchand (7-13-20) leading the way in those 15 games. Only David Krejci has double-digits in points for 2019 and Jake DeBrusk is the next highest with only five points in fifteen games. It does not make the job of Cassidy any easier when they do not have a high quantity of quality players.

Look at the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Tampa Bay Lightning for examples. Both teams have many interchangeable parts on all four lines. Almost every forward on the roster can play on the first line with success and the team will most likely still win games. Do goaltending and defence play a large factor in that as well? One-hundred percent. But the flexibility of those four forward lines makes the job of Mike Babcock on Toronto or Jon Cooper on Tampa Bay a lot easier.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

 

Just like the blame cannot be placed on individuals for a team effort, the blame cannot be solely placed on Cassidy for the position the Bruins are in. On April 26th, 2017, the Bruins named Cassidy head coach of the team – replacing long-time coach, Claude Julien who was fired earlier in the year.

Cassidy coached twenty-seven games for the Bruins, finishing with an 18-8-1 record and leading them to a first-round playoff matchup with the Ottawa Senators in the 2016-17 season, a series that they lost in six games. This led into last season, where Cassidy implemented his faith and passion for the young players of this league, helping lead the B’s to a 50-win season. Bruce was right behind the team for their first-round win over Toronto and stuck by them in the five-game loss to the Lightning. The year for Bruce led to him being one of the three nominees for the Jack Adams Award – awarding the best coach in the NHL for that season. While he didn’t take the award home, the honour of being nominated for it is a great accomplishment.

Again this year, Cassidy has done a great job. It has been a difficult road to manage the struggling youth that once succeeded for him not only in Providence but in Boston during 2017-18 as well, the goaltending challenges of Rask and Halak, and the whole offensive situation that I’ve discussed over.

With the older players such as Chara, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, and Backes, being surrounded by the younger players such as Pastrnak, DeBrusk, McAvoy, Carlo, and Heinen, Cassidy has had a challenge of who to play with who at what time and when. For a team that seems to have rough nights, still battles back and is able to fight their way to earn a point or at the very least, remain competitive in the ever-so-difficult Eastern Conference.

Bruce Cassidy has a 97-45-21 record with the Boston Bruins since 2016-17. According to BostonGlobe.com’s Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD on Twitter), Claude Julien, the man who won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011, had a 94-48-22 in his first 164 career games with the Black N’ Gold.

Julien and Cassidy are almost identical in their wins/losses and they have started almost a decade apart from each other (’07/’08 debut for CJ, ’16/’17 debut for BC). Bruce Cassidy is not only a good coach, but he should remain a coach for the Boston Bruins. He has had success and will continue to have success if the right players are on his lineup. Does he make mistakes time in and time out? Of course, not many coaches in any sport are perfect, (unless you’re Bill Belichick on New England) and it is how he can rally behind the team after a loss and turn it into a win. Bruce Cassidy can do that with the best of them.

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Bruins 2015 NHL Draft: Grading Sweeney’s Selections

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

After taking a look at every trade by Bruins GM Don Sweeney, we now dive into his draft history. We begin with his first and most controversy draft, the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

In grading the picks, I’ll look at: where they were projected to go, what they have done so far, what players before and after have done so far, their fit to the Bruins at the time, among other aspects. These grades can easily change in a years time, some prospects take longer to groom before being. This entire grading as a whole is still way too early, you can really only grade a draft a decade down the line and see what impact (or lack thereof) the players have made.

Round 1, 13th Overall: Jakub Zboril

Grade: D+

It was well documented that the Bruins wanted to flip a couple of picks and move up in the draft to select the slick two-way defender Noah Hanifin. Obviously, they weren’t able to do that, and the Bruins also ended up missing out on similar D in Ivan Provorov and Zach Werenski to take the rains from Chara. Rather than go for a more offensive guy in Thomas Chabot (hindsight is 20/20) the Bruins ended up picking a more reliable, hard-working defenseman in Zboril. The young Czech D has slowly been developing in the AHL and has grown both offensively and defensively. While he didn’t play much (averaging 10:56 in his two games), he didn’t look out of place in his brief stint with the big club. He’ll carve a role the NHL at some point, there’s no questioning that, it’s just a matter of when and where.

(sportingnews.com)

Round 1, 14th Overall: Jake Debrusk

Grade: B+

Already a fan favorite in just his second season with Boston, Debrusk has been exactly what the Bruins’ management wanted him to be. The 22-year-old shows his work ethic every single shift he’s on the ice and is really starting to develop into a big goal scorer. If he wasn’t injured earlier on, he had a very good shot of hitting the 30 goal mark on the season. You can compare him to guys like Matthew Barzal or Brock Boeser who were drafted behind him, but Debrusk had embodied what it means to be a Bruin from the get-go.

Round 1, 15th Overall: Zachary Senyshyn

Grade: D

I like Senyshyn a lot. Despite being behind in development compared to some of his fellow draftees, he’s the type of player that the Bruins need. He’s got great speed, solid size, and being a right shot power-forward, it’s exactly the kind of player that would look great on the right side of David Krejci. My biggest problem with this pick is that the Bruins didn’t trade down in the 1st round to get him. Because he was projected to go early to mid 2nd round, you would think that if the Bruins wanted the player so badly, they could’ve moved down in the draft with one of these picks similar to what Toronto did in trading their 1st rounder (24th overall) to the Flyers for a 1st rounder (29th overall) and a 2nd rounder (61st overall). With all of the talent in the 1st round, there were bound to be other teams with the wish to move up in the draft to select a guy like Matthew Barzal or Kyle Connor. I have no problem with the player, I think at some point he will certainly become a consistent middle-six forward, but if Sweeney managed his assets a little better, maybe they come out of the draft with another talented prospect along with Senyshyn.

 

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Round 2, 37th Overall: Brandon Carlo

Grade: A

The Bruins hit a home-run with this pick. After playing just seven games in the AHL in the previous season, Carlo made the jump to full-time NHLer in 2016 as a 19-year-old. He played the entire 82 game season but definitely looked shaky at times. Since then, Carlo has really started to carve out a role on the Bruins back-end. I think he’s the Bruin that has improved the most since last season. He’s been an outstanding penalty killer and overall great shutdown defenseman while adding a lot more grit to his game. If Carlo could work on his offensive skills a bit more (just three points in 41 games this year), I can see him on the top pair for the Bruins for many years to come.

Round 2, 45th Overall: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson

Grade: B+

Now while calling him “Patrice Bergeron 2.0” is a bit far-fetched at this point in his career, there’s no doubt that the young Swede has the skill-set to be a full-time NHLer. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance both offensively and defensively in his 28 games with the Bruins, but the consistency just isn’t quite there yet. At times, JFK looks a bit lackadaisical and not giving his full effort, but if he can work out his quirks, his two-way prowess will allow him to be a very good NHL player.

 

(Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Round 2, 52nd Overall: Jeremy Lauzon

Grade: B+

With the ridiculous amount of injuries the Bruins’ D-core had, we got to see a lot of Lauzon in the NHL. He looked very comfortable in his 15 games in the NHL, there was nothing not to like. His 6’1, 205 lbs frame, combined with his puck-moving ability, makes him a two-way threat from the back-end. I’d say he deserves to be a regular NHLer next season, although he’s is unlikely to be that with the amount of depth the Bruins already have on D.

Round 3, 75th Overall: Daniel Vladar

Grade: B-

Goalies are always hard to judge after they’re drafted. So many of them are busts, but so many of them are late bloomers. Only two goalies (Mackenzie Blackwood and Adin Hill) have seen an NHL game from the entire draft. Vladar has been solid in the AHL but not outstanding. I’d expect him to challenge for the Bruins backup goalie position after Jaroslav Halak’s contract expires but the 6’5 Czech-man will have to wait a while until he gets his shot with the Bruins.

 

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(dobberprospects.com)

Round 5, 105th Overall: Jesse Gabrielle

Grade: C

Gabrielle is a very confusing player. After the Bruins drafted him in 2015, he went on to have two very good seasons in the WHL, lighting the lamp a total of 75 times in those two seasons. He’s got a bit of snarl to his game and some silky hands, but it just hasn’t clicked for Gabrielle in his pro career as of now. This year, he has a -22 rating in the ECHL and hasn’t even been given a look in the AHL. I’m not ready to call the player a bust just yet because he’s still just 21 years old, but something needs to change, whether it’s mentally or physically, if he wants a shot at making the NHL.

Round 6, 165th Overall: Cameron Hughes

Grade: B

A really good find late in the draft by the Bruins. After a so-so draft year at the University of Wisconsin, he progressed very nicely, upping his goal total each following season and eventually being named “captain” in his senior year in the NCAA. He’s continued on this path and has been a really solid player in the AHL this year, totaling 10 goals and 25 points in 45 games.

 

(Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

Round 7, 195th Overall: Jack Becker

Grade: C+

Now the chances of a 7th rounder making the NHL are slim, but there’s actually quite a bit to like with Becker. Now at the University of Michigan, Becker has had a decent year with 10 points in 25 games. He plays the game hard, but the best thing about Becker is his size. He’s 6’3, and with that frame, I won’t be surprised if he’s able to challenge for a bottom 6 role in the NHL at some point down the line.

So even with the controversial 1st round, there’s no questioning that the Bruins came out of this draft with a lot of talent. Many of the players have already sniffed the NHL and have very good chances to be everyday players with the Bruins. Sweeney’s average grade on this draft is just under a B- which is fairly accurate in looking at this draft. I do want to say again that these draft picks really can’t be properly judged until many, many years down the line but it was a fun thing to do as I’m continuing grading Don Sweeney’s tenure with the Bruins so far.

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Bruins Place G Tuukka Rask On Retroactive IR, Recall G McIntyre

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Associated Press)

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

Off the hands of the All-Star Weekend in San Jose, the Boston Bruins have announced some roster moves ahead of their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, January 29th. In addition to some forward breaking news that can be found on blackngoldhockey.com, the Bruins announced today that goaltender Tuukka Rask has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to January 19th and goaltender Zane McIntyre has been called up from the AHL’s Providence Bruins.

In the final game before the nine-day break, goaltender Tuukka Rask was involved in a scary collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil, resulting in Rask leaving the game with what appeared to be a concussion. Jaroslav Halak replaced Rask in the game and the Bruins went on to lose 3-2 the final score.

The extended break for the Bruins may have been the best thing possible for Rask and the organization. It has been confirmed today that Rask has indeed suffered a concussion from the collision and in today’s NHL, concussions are taken quite seriously as they should be. The time off has allowed the Bruins doctors and trainers to properly diagnose Rask and Rask has not had to miss any games in the meantime.

While the Bruins have ruled Rask out of the game against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow, they have not ruled out a possible return for Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The retroactive injured reserve placement means Rask can return to the Bruins lineup whenever he feels that he is ready. To replace him against the Jets, Boston has called up goalie Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis.

McIntyre has played in twenty-seven games with the Providence Bruins, compiling a record of 16-8-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.74 and a save percentage of .887%. The 165th overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins has made eight NHL appearances, going 0-4-1 in that time span along with a 3.93 goals-against-average and a .858 save percentage.

In my opinion, Boston will go with Halak against the Jets, as he is the better goaltender and has done well this season. McIntrye will most likely serve as a backup goaltender for the inevitable future but the possibility is there for him to get his first National Hockey League start in goal in the 2018-19 season.

Returning from the All-Star festivities, it is now crunch time for the B’s as we enter the final stretch of the ’18/’19 regular season. Boston currently sits in the first wild-card position, two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for third place in the Atlantic Division, but the Bruins do have two games in hand. Boston also has a five-point lead on the Buffalo Sabres who are the best team that is currently outside of the playoffs. Every game from this point on has its consequences and the healthy return of Tuukka Rask is needed to make that push for the post-season.

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Bruins Prospect Ryan Fitzgerald Named To AHL All-Star Classic

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PHOTO CREDITS: (ahl.com)

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

The Providence Bruins announced today, January 3rd, 2018, that forward Ryan Fitzgerald has been named to the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic on January 27-28, 2019 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Ryan Fitzgerald is in the middle of arguably his best season while in the American Hockey League. The 24-year-old North Reading, Massachusetts native has 7-19-26 totals in thirty-four games this season, leading all Providence Bruins players in assists and points. His seven goals on the year rank him fourth on the team for goals as well.

Before Fitzgerald joined Providence in the 2016-17 season, he played in four consecutive seasons in the NCAA with Boston College. In his 152 career NCAA contests, Ryan tallied 66 goals, 66 assists for 132 points. Fitzgerald’s best season came back in 2015-2016 where he scored forty-seven points (24 goals, 23 assists) in only 40 games played.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Gregory Vasil/Getty Images)

Fitzgerald was drafted by the Bruins in the 4th Round (120th Overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and was signed to a two-year entry-level contract in the Spring of 2017. The Bruins management liked his play with Boston College, deciding to sign him to that deal that allowed him to play in the AHL, where he has been for the past two seasons.

As fellow Black N’ Gold writer, Tim Richardson said in his Prospect Profile on Fitzgerald, the 5-foot-9 forward was expected to go in the second-round in 2013. Heading into his draft, Fitzgerald was that two-way player that almost every team would like to have in their centre core. He possessed good hockey IQ and defensive awareness on the ice but could also pitch in offensive such as he has done with Providence this season.

Entering his first All-Star game, Fitzgerald has an entire family of hockey players. Father Tom Fitzgerald played in 1097 career National Hockey League games, seventy-one of which with the Boston Bruins back in 2005-06. NHL forwards Jimmy and Kevin Kayes as well as Matthew and ex-NHLer Keith Tkachuk are Fitzgerald’s cousins according to Elite Prospects.

Many people in the Boston Bruins fanbase have urged management to try Fitzgerald in the NHL if (when) another injury hits the Bruins forward core. Fitzgerald seems to be more responsible defensively compared to some of the Bruins already on the roster and yet, he can still score goals and make plays as mentioned already.

Do you think that Ryan Fitzgerald should get a shot with the NHL Bruins at some point this season if an injury comes up again?

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World Juniors 2019: Bruins Prospects Heading Into Quarter-Finals

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PHOTO CREDITS: (saultsports.com)

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

The 2019 World Junior Championships have truly been entertaining so far this year. From dominating performances such as the 14-0 by Canada over Denmark and Slovakia’s 11-2 win over Kazakhstan. Valiant comeback efforts such as the United States scoring four unanswered goals in the final ten minutes to force overtime versus Sweden. And of course, the feel-good stories like the support of the underdogs – Team Kazakhstan as every shot, save, and goal were met with loud, roaring cheers.

The Boston Bruins, like many NHL teams, are well represented in the tournament. Jakub Lauko and Daniel Bukac on the Czech Republic, Jack Studnicka on Canada, Kyle Keyser on the States, Pavel Shen on Team Russia, and the addition of Urho Vaakanainen just before the tournament to Team Finland. Not only are these players playing in the tournament, but they are playing a crucial role for their respective countries.

G Kyle Keyser – United States

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

As one of the favourites to win the gold medal when the under-20 tournament concludes, the United States used the four preliminary games to judge who gets the starting role in between the pipes because once the team makes it into the Quarter-Finals, it is not too common to switch goaltenders as you would see in the National Hockey League regular season.

Keyser’s teammate, Cayden Primeau, is the other goaltender that is looking to grab that starting role. The Montreal Canadiens’ 2017 seventh-round selection played two games and so did Bruins’ goalie prospect Keyser. Keyser played two games – the 5-4 OT loss to the Swedes and the 2-1 win over Slovakia on Boxing Day.

Keyser’s 1-1-0 record alongside his 0.87 save percentage and 2.95 goals-against-average is ranked as the second-worst for goaltenders heading into the Quarter-Finals. Only Switzerland goalie, Akira Schmid has worse statistics so far in the World Juniors. It is fair to note that the five goals he allowed versus Sweden drastically impacted those numbers.

Against the Swedes, Keyser made many solid saves off of poor plays by his defensemen. The Swedish players had numerous 2-on-1s that were stopped by Keyser and his saves arguably gave the team the drive to come back and tie the game.

With that said, Team USA announced that Cayden Primeau, the other American goaltender, will get the start in the crease for the United States in their Quarter-Final game against the Czech Republic. Yesterday, Head Coach Mike Hastings said it was a coin toss as to who will get the starting role as both goalies earned it, but clearly, he decided to go with the Canadiens prospect due to his strong 4-to-1 win over Finland.

F Jakub Lauko – Czech Republic

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Drafted 77th overall (3rd Round) by the Boston Bruins in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, forward Jakub Lauko has had a successful season with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), scoring 12-14-26 totals in 26 games this season before being called to the World Juniors.

While at the U20 World Junior Championships, Lauko has one goal and one assist in four preliminary games. The 18-year-old forward scored his lone goal of the tournament in the 4-0 win over Denmark on New Year’s Eve. The tally ended up being the game-winning goal for the Czechs. Lauko also helped out in the opening game of the tournament, recording his only assist thus far on the overtime-winning goal against Switzerland.

Lauko has been good on the other end of the ice too. In the same game as his assist versus the Swiss, Lauko made a great defensive block on a 2-on-1 that kept the game tied around the midway point through the third period of play. Without that Lauko block, the Swiss may take a 2-1 lead and may end up winning the hockey game.

D Daniel Bukac – Czech Republic

Only one team in the World Juniors this year has two Bruins prospects on its roster – the Czech Republic and it seems more and more that the Bruins like having Czech players when you look at David Pastrnak and David Krejci on the full-time Boston roster up in the NHL.

As with the already-mentioned Jakub Lauko on the forward core, the Czechs have 6-foot-5, 209-pound defenceman Daniel Bukac on their blueline as well. The Bruins drafted Bukac with their seventh-round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft. The former player in the Western Hockey League joined the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League in the 2018 CHL Import Draft.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Doug Westcott)

Bukac is not known as an offensive defenceman by a stretch of the imagination. With his big frame, he is a solid shutdown defender on the back end and that was mentioned by the Ice Dogs General Manager, Joey Burke, when they added Bukac to their roster.

“Daniel is a big addition for our club. He provides help in an area we needed to improve in. A proven player at this level who brings size, defensive prowess as well as strength, adds a special dynamic to our group. Anytime you can add an NHL drafted player,  it always makes an impact. We look forward to the pedigree Daniel will bring. This is yet another exciting signing for us this offseason, and Daniel will be fun to watch in Niagara.”

Bukac has six points (two goals, four assists), in twenty-four games with the Ice Dogs before going to the WJC. Bukac has one assist in the World Juniors, against Denmark, when he assisted on the fourth and final Czech goal in the 4-0 win. Bukac has also been one of the top penalty-killers for the Czech Republic, who has a third-best 85.71% success rate on the penalty-kill.

Bukac, Lauko, and the Czech Republic battle Kyle Keyser and the United States in today’s quarterfinal.

D Urho Vaakanainen – Finland

Coming off a concussion that he suffered during his brief tenure in the National Hockey League, the eighteenth-overall draft pick in 2017 by the Boston Bruins joined his national country of Finland for the World Juniors.

Due to his NHL experience earlier in the year, Finland knew that they had to play Vaakanainen in a top role on the defensive core due to the lack of experience on the rest of the team. For the majority of the preliminary games, Vaakanainen played in the most minutes over all of the other Finnish players.

Dawning the “A” on his sweater, Vaakanainen also added two assists in the four games – in a 5-1 win over Slovakia on December 29th and assisted on the only goal by Finland in the 4-1 loss to the United States. Below are some scouting reports on the Finnish defenseman.

“An intelligent, two-way defender…reads the play really well, has his head up all the time and makes quick decisions with the puck.” – Futureconsiderations.ca 2017

“He has good puck moving ability and strong offensive upside. He is also a good skater and can rush the puck up ice with confidence.” – Hockeyprospect.com 2017

Urho Vaakanainen and Team Finland will play Jack Studnicka and the Canadians in the second quarterfinal of the day.

F Jack Studnicka – Canada

Before the tournament started, many analysts covering the competition said that Jack Studnicka was the best player in the pre-tournament events including the multiple games that Canada played in.

While Studnicka did not play at the high-scoring level that say, a Maxime Comtois on Team Canada has, but he has been key on the Canadian power-play, even though it has struggled. Studnicka played right in front of the opposing net on that man-advantage, in a position called the “bumper spot”. Someone else who is great in that spot on the ice on the Bruins, a guy by the name of Patrice Bergeron.

Studnicka is currently on a point-per-game status, scoring four points in four games. Three of those points are assists, but he did add a goal back on December 26th in the 14-0 Boxing Day shutout over Denmark. Jack continues to be one of the better players on Canada’s bottom-nine forward core.

The Bruins drafted Studnicka in the second-round, fifty-third overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. He is currently playing in the Ontario Hockey League with the Oshawa Generals, where he had 12-21-33 totals in 29 games before being sent to Vancouver/Victoria for the World Juniors.

F Pavel Shen – Russia

The final prospect of the Bruins to be listed and he just happens to be on the team who took the first place in Group A, after a narrow victory over Canada on New Year’s Eve. Shen has played a big part in Russia’s success in the tournament so far. Shen is currently tied for second on the team in points with four points in four games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

In the December 31st game against Canada, a game between two undefeated countries and that would decide who wins Group A, Pavel Shen had a game that put himself on the hockey map. The Russian drafted in the 7th Round back in this past draft scored the game-winning goal late in regulation off of a nice zone entry, drive to the net and a goal past DiPietro of Canada.

Shen’s goal-scoring talent has been shown in the past, such as when he scored three goals and one assist in six games during the CIBC Canada/Russia Series, where the top Russian prospects play the best CHL players in the three different leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL). Shen has the ability to score and he can do it well.

Many have said that Shen is a sleeper player in the tournament and one of the underrated prospects in the Bruins system. If his development continues the way it has, he very well could make the Providence Bruins and maybe even the Boston Bruins in the near future. Pavel Shen and Russia play Slovakia in the Quarterfinals tonight.

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Can Bruins David Pastrnak Win The Rocket Richard Trophy?

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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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-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

Bruins Post-Game Recap: New Jersey at Boston: 12/27/18

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PHOTO CREDITS: (CBS New York)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (20-13-4)

Away: New Jersey Devils (12-16-7)

The Christmas Break is over for the National Hockey League and the Bruins and Devils will battle it out as 2019 appears right around the corner. The Bruins entered the three-day break with a 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Hartford Whalers night, but before then, rocked a three-game winning streak.

New Jersey, on the other hand, has struggled this season. Before the break, they lost 3-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets and have lost four of their last five contests dating back to December 15th.

Bruins Morning Rushes

First Period:

Coming off the Christmas break against a sub-par team, the Bruins may have expected a better start to this hockey team, in addition to the return of DeBrusk, Chara, and Miller, the Bruins should have come out with an aggressive attitude and try to score early. With that said, the Bruins allowed an early goal against by Damon Severson.

Following a defensive zone faceoff win, the Devils exploded up the ice and used brilliant puck rotation to find an open Severson who fired a clean wrist shot past Halak only twenty-five seconds into this Thursday night game, 1-0 Devils.

4:15 into the frame, Stefan Noesen was sent to the penalty box for hooking Kevan Miller, giving Boston an early power-play. Boston seemed to be getting their feet underneath them after some poor play before the penalty. The Bruins moved the puck around well on the man-advantage, with the best chance coming from Jake DeBrusk who tried to shoot it close short-side, only to deflect off of MacKenzie Blackwood’s shoulder.

Even with the good power-play, the Bruins still struggled 5-on-5. Twelve minutes in, the B’s only had two shots while at even strength, something that cannot be true in any game, let alone one with only an injury to Charlie McAvoy.

As New Jersey attempted to enter the zone with aggression once again, John Moore gets his stick tangled in with Kyle Palmieri, sending Moore to the box for tripping. On the Devils power-play, just over thirty seconds in, Will Butcher feeds it to Palmieri, who rockets a slap shot towards the cage that takes a high bounce off of Halak, then bounces in right behind the goaltender, 2-0 Devils.

Boston manages to survive the remainder of the period and enter the intermission down by two goals. During the later stages of the period, the Bruins did have some good hockey in them, mainly led by none other than Patrice Bergeron who had some good slot shots that Blackwood stopped.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 10 NJD: 12

Score: 2-0 Devils

Second Period:

Looking for a better frame than the first, the Bruins took an early penalty, as Colby Cave went to the sinbin for a tripping infraction on Andy Greene only 3 minutes and ten seconds into the second period. Boston looked good on this penalty-kill, with the help of Jake DeBrusk, who makes his return tonight after missing a few games with a concussion. Bruins successfully kill off the penalty on Cave and game returns to 5-on-5.

The Bruins momentum continued to increase upwards with that top line that has dominated the NHL over the 2018 calendar year. David Pastrnak took a hard spin while shooting, only to ring the rubber puck off of the post. Arguably the best chance of the hockey game for the Bruins, but no such luck when it comes to scoring their first of the night.

As the seconds became minutes, the Bruins continue to pressure the Devils with numerous offensive opportunities while staying solid on the defensive end as well. Both Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller have looked comfortable in their return games after injuries. At one point, Miller erupted the TD Garden crowd with a massive hit on Jesper Bratt.

Just over five minutes remaining on the scoreboard, Chris Wagner buried a cross-crease pass from John Moore to put a cap on a strong shift by Boston’s fourth line. Moore made a smart decision to pinch, beating out a couple Devils players, then proceeds to have the vision to see Wagner who found the back door entrance towards the net. 2-1 hockey game now in Boston.

Again, Boston’s pressure was consistent in the period and seemed to even increase more after the Wagner tally. With 11.8 seconds to go, David Krejci gets tripped up by Andy Greene, sending Boston to a power-play. With no goals in the limited time, the Bruins will start the third period with 1:49 of power-play time.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 29 NJD: 21

Score: 2-1 Devils

Third Period:

It is usually a difficult task to start a period with a man-advantage as the team sometimes needs a few minutes to “warm-up” after the intermission between periods. Such belief is true as the Bruins could not capitalize on Greene’s late second-period penalty and the Bruins go to 0-for-3 on the 5-on-4 power-play tonight.

New Jersey shut down the Bruins momentum with a goal 4:15 into the third by Blake Coleman. The speedy forward sped past Brandon Carlo and made a quick forehand-backhand deke to bury it past Jaroslav Halak on the breakaway, making this a 3-1 game. Credit has to be given to Coleman who managed to hold off the big Carlo and make a move to the net to score his tenth goal of the 2018-19 season.

The Devils without Taylor Hall continued after the goal to put more pressure on the Bruins. Forward Miles Wood with a fire lit underneath him races towards Halak but is tripped up by Miller. The puck was across the red line, but the referees had a brief conversation on the timing of the “goal”, only to determine that it crossed the line after the whistle and there was no official goal on the play. Bruins, however, are called on the tripping minor and Miller serves the two minutes.

Not long after the successful kill, the Bruins tried to build some offensive chances, led by defenceman Matt Grzelcyk who made some solid passes and advances on Blackwood but the rookie goaltender held his ground on every one of them to keep this a two-goal Devils lead. The young Massachusetts blueliner has looked good for Boston tonight.

Around the seven-minute mark, Stefan Noesen nails Donato in the Devils zone up high while battling along the boards, only for New Jersey to make some good breakout passes – leading to Nico Hischier’s breakaway goal. The tally makes this game 4-1 and gives the 2017 1st Overall Draft Pick his tenth goal of the year.

With Jaroslav Halak on the bench, David Krejci tosses the puck high and deep into the Devils end where Sami Vatanen rifles a shot around the boards that is stopped by DeBrusk. Jake sends the puck towards the net and Patrice Bergeron deflects his twelfth goal of the year and it is 4-2 with 2:55 to go.

Less than sixty seconds later, David Backes finds Brad Marchand with speed into the zone, but Marchand’s in-tight shot is stopped by Blackwood’s pads. As the rebound escaped into the slot, David Backes lays an illegal hit to the head of Blake Coleman. Backes’ shoulder makes clear contact with the head and I would imagine that NHL Player Safety is taking a look at this play. Backes goes to the box with exactly two minutes to go.

Having Halak pulled from the cage, the game was 5-on-5 and Boston had some decent chances from Marchand and company. However, Torey Krug is unable to keep the puck onside and the whistle is blown. On the offensive zone faceoff, the Bruins lose it, leading to Blake Coleman burying the empty-net goal to seal the deal and make it 5-2 New Jersey.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 42 NJD: 33

Final Score: 5-2 Devils

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: NJD G Mackenzie Blackwood – 40 Saves, .952 SV%

2nd Star: NJD F Blake Coleman – 2 Goals, Game-Winning Goal, 4 Shots, +1 Rating

3rd Star: NJD D Andy Greene – 2 Assists, +3 Rating, 21:48 TOI

The Boston Bruins are now 20-14-4 on the season and have lost their last two games against two of the worst teams in the NHL Eastern Conference. Up next, the Bruins take on the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, December 29th in the final game of 2018. The Sabres last beat the Bruins 4-2 on Sunday, December 16th, 2018. Scheduled puck drop for Saturday’s game is 7:00pm EST in Buffalo, New York.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

—-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Official SeatGiant Ticket Info <—