A Bruins’ Depth Dissection

lee_121817_bruinsjacddkets17_spts-15437

Photo Credit: Matthew J. Lee/Boston Globe

By: Spencer Fascetta                                                                           Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

Much has been made in recent weeks about the Bruins’ supposed depth issues, and how they need to be addressed at the trade deadline. However, I believe that there is, in fact, a roster jam, the likes of which are quite difficult to manage. So, let’s figure this out.

The NHLers:

This group all belong in the NHL and have spent no time in the AHL this season. They are on 1-way contracts and are not waiver-exempt OR are on entry level contracts, and made the team out of training camp, but have yet to set foot in the AHL this season. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that their spot in the lineup cannot be touched.

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Ryan Spooner
Tim Schaller Riley Nash David Backes
Noel Acciari

The Fringe:

Forwards:

Danton Heinen – Entry Level Contract, Waiver Exempt, Currently in Boston

Anders Bjork – Entry Level Contract, Waiver Exempt, Currently on IR

Sean Kuraly – Entry Level Contract, Waiver Eligible, Currently in Boston

Peter Cehlarik – Entry Level Contract, Waiver Exempt, Currently in Providence

Frank Vatrano – Entry Level Contract, Waiver Eligible, Currently in Boston

Austin Czarnik – Entry Level Contract, Waiver Exempt, Currently in Providence

Kenny Agostino –NHL Contract, Waiver Eligible, Currently in Providence

Jordan Szwarz – NHL Contract, Waiver Eligible, Currently in Providence

Matt Beleskey – NHL Contract, Modified No-Trade Clause, Currently buried in Providence

Bruins Senators Hockey

Photo Credit: Fred Chartrand

According to the table above, there are four forward spots on this roster that are relatively in flux. Two of those are easy. Danton Heinen is 4th in team scoring and should be receiving legitimate Calder Trophy consideration. He’s on the team, no question. Sean Kuraly has been part of the best 4th line the Bruins have had since the famed Merlot Line with himself, Schaller, and Acciari. I don’t foresee him going anywhere. That then leaves two forward spots for the remaining 7 guys that have played in the NHL this season. I don’t see Beleskey being recalled anytime soon, especially with the injury trouble he’s run into down in Providence. Unfortunately, that contract has the appearance of a sunk cost right now. Agostino has already been up and down this season and has cleared waivers every time. Although he has been good for the Baby B’s, he hasn’t done nearly enough while with the big club to indicate that he should be the next guy up. The same can be said for Jordan Szwarz, who I have never been tremendously thrilled with at the pro level. Just like that, we’ve pared the list down to four guys and two spots to be filled.

Frank Vatrano, Jonathan Bernier

Photo Credit: Mark J. Temill

These two spots are not going to be regulars at the NHL level, and that’s important to understand. Of the four remaining, Cehlarik and Bjork are still on their entry-level contracts – this means they are waiver exempt and will be for the remainder of their contracts. Austin Czarnik can spend literally a single day more on an NHL roster before he becomes waiver eligible – indeed, he was recalled specifically for the games he played in his most recent stint and promptly sent back to Providence immediately afterward so as to prolong his waiver-exempt status. Frank Vatrano is the only one who isn’t waiver exempt – because he likely would be claimed the second he gets placed on waivers, he gets the nod despite being underneath Bjork and Cehlarik in the pecking order. I don’t think Vatrano fits as a 4th liner, and he isn’t consistent enough to play in the Top 6. Unfortunately, this pigeonholes him to the point where it would be beneficial for Boston to explore what the trade market looks like for him. It’s always preferable to get an asset in return for a player rather than simply losing them on waivers. So, Vatrano is (currently) the 13th forward.

usa_today_10308450.0

Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports

Much like Vatrano doesn’t fit as a 4th liner, I don’t think it behooves the Bruins to stick Anders Bjork in the bottom six and to give him zero powerplay time. In Providence, he can gain some confidence, and be a go-to guy. Unfortunately, Heinen has become what they thought Bjork would be much more quickly that Bjork has been able to. He has also had a few injury issues. He should spend the rest of the year in Providence unless multiple Top 6 forwards end up unable to play or injured.

Cehlarik is a little more nuanced. Based on this analysis, he would be the 14th forward, but I prefer to have him playing on a regular basis, not sitting in the press box every 3 out 4 games. He also has had a lot of poor injury luck throughout his career, so I’d like to see him get through a full season healthy before he makes the jump full time.

Washington Capitals v Boston Bruins

Photo Credit: Steve Babineau

Defense:

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Kevan Miller

 

The Fringe:

Matt Grzelcyk – Entry Level Contract, Waiver Exempt, Currently in Boston

Adam McQuaid – NHL Contract, Waiver Eligible, 2 years remaining, Currently in Boston

Paul Postma – NHL Contract, Waiver Eligible, 1 year remaining, Currently in Boston

Rob O’Gara – Entry Level Contract, Waiver Exempt, Currently in Providence

112417bruinsjw09.jpg

Photo Credit: John Wilcox/Boston Herald

Now, there are only 4 d-men who have seen the light of day this year who I feel are battling for position on the roster. Matt Grzelcyk has spent the least amount of time at the NHL level, yet he has been far and away the best of the group. He has done more than enough to force the Bruins to keep him not only in the NHL for the duration of the season but in the lineup on a night to night basis. That makes him the 6th defenseman. McQuaid isn’t going anywhere on this roster despite my hesitation with such decisions, so that makes 7.

Now, if you’ve been keeping count, that leaves a single roster spot available between Paul Postma, Rob O’Gara, Austin Czarnik, and Peter Cehlarik. Cehlarik and O’Gara are waiver exempt – they have a place in Providence, so that’s where they will be. Czarnik retains his waiver exempt status as long as he remains in Providence, so unless something changes drastically, I doubt we see any more of him this season apart from the occasional emergency loan recall (which allows for a recall for a brief period of time without having to pass through waivers in either direction). Now, I cannot confirm nor deny that Paul Postma still exists, but he appears to be that 21st skater on this roster, as he would likely be lost if placed on waivers. So, the three scratches would be (in an ideal world) McQuaid, Postma, and Vatrano.

 

Hopefully, this has cleared this up for anyone confused to why there seems to be quite a bit of roster shuffling as of late. I also hope that people can see that the Bruins do not and SHOULD not have to add anything at the trade deadline. They have plenty of depth as it is.

 

Enjoy this? I hope so! If you did (or even if you didn’t), I encourage you to check out my YouTube Channel, which you can find here. Please share, like and subscribe!

Bruins All-Star Weekend Recap

909831884

Photo Credit: Steve Babineau (Getty Images)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

With only one Bruin at the All-Star events this weekend, there was less of a focus on Boston when compared to other top teams like Tampa or Vegas who had multiple attendants. But we did get some classic Brad Marchand moments, including the full acceptance of his role as a heel, along with being a great offensive addition to the Atlantic team.

Brad also started to go after people on Twitter again, as shown here by his response to a radio station in Pittsburgh. He’s been known to pop on the site occasionally to let the public hear some of his world famous trash talk.

In more team related news, Charlie McAvoy was back on the ice after a successful heart surgery. He was out skating by himself and cleared up with the media that he had the surgery, took some time off to let it initially heal, and is now working his way back to game shape. I expect that he could be back as soon as the Buffalo game on Feb. 10th, but no one knows for sure other than him and the team medical staff. With Noel Acciari out for the time being with a lower-body injury and Marchand still needing to serve four more games of his suspension, Anders Bjork was recalled from Providence to fill in the hole in the lineup.

Anders Bjork was slotted alongside Bergeron and Pastrnak for the start of the game against the Senators but has now been switched out for Danton Heinen, who is having himself a very underrated season. I like this move because Heinen is more accustomed to the pace and speed of playing with and against an NHL team’s top line after playing 14 more games in Boston than Bjork has.

The Bruins play the Anaheim Ducks tonight in Boston at 7pm EST. They are currently on a five-game win streak and have points in their last 18 contests. This is the second and final time the Bruins will play the Ducks in the regular season this year. Back in mid-November, the Ducks beat Boston in Anaheim 4-2. This should be a pretty good game, with almost everyone on both teams coming back from the All-Star break rested and ready to go to work.

 

Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

BFR1 – Bruins Game 46 – Shenanigans – BOS 3, NJ 2

BFR1 - Game 46 Pic

By: Spencer Fascetta                                                                           Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

 

Yeah, I had some feelings about Brad Marchand’s suspension, and the Department of Player Safety in general. Acted them out for your entertainment. Enjoy.

Bruins Bjork Makes AHL Debut Tonight

( Above Photo Credit:   NHL .com )

By: Mark Allred          Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On Wednesday the Boston Bruins announced that the team has moved forward Anders Bjork to the American Hockey League to work on his game with the top minor-pro affiliate Providence Bruins. This move from an organizational standpoint is the best way to deal with a struggling player in his first-year of professional hockey as a way to light a fire under the young player and get his head back in the game to where it was at the start of the 2017-18 National Hockey League campaign.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Brandon Share-Cohen is a very talented writer covering the Bruins organization for the popular The Hockey Writer website and mentioned in his article many keywords such as “consistency” and “dominance” in his insightful article above, but I believe the most important word at least for me after reading Brandon’s thoughts was the mention of the word “opportunity”. The Providence team is in first place in the Atlantic Division and also at the top of the Eastern Conference and clicking on all cylinders when it comes to the developing youth and teamwork at the minor-pro level.  When you look at all the positives from the outstanding job that this team has done thus far in the 2017-18 season, and the collaborative efforts from first-year Head Coach Jay Leach and Assistants Spencer Carbery and Trent Whitfield, the addition of Bjork to an impressive developing depth may fix the recent struggles on the man advantage.

As the NHL Bruins have the best line in the league as mentioned by many top hockey personalities and writers with Patrice Bergeron centering long-time linemate Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, the AHL team in Rhode Island also has one of if not the best trio’s in the minor-pro level. Austin Czarnik centering veteran’s Kenny Agostino and Jordan Szwarz have been one of the most dynamic lines this season offensively but the struggles on the power-play and the fact that the Providence team has only one goal in the last 26 chances dating back about a month ago is quite concerning regardless of finding ways to win.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Not only is this movement to the AHL a good move for both player and organization, but it’s a great time of the season to address this particular area of special teams regardless of how long Bjork actually stays with Providence. I believe that addressing the need on the man advantage now gives the Baby B’s the opportunity to create chemistry and work on this specific part of their game for a long AHL Calder Cup Playoff run. Also, firmly believe that not being able to put the puck in the net might’ve been one of a few reasons why the B’s couldn’t beat the Syracuse Crunch in a seven-game series to advance to the 2017 Calder Cup Finals. Last spring in the extended season the Bruins took on the Wikes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and won the best-of-five first round series 3-2 and went 6 for 22 on the power-play but declined after meeting the Hershey Bears in a best-of-seven series winning 4-3 but only had one goal on 21 chances.

The 2017 Conference Final against the Crunch the B’s were clearly outmatched but went 2 for 14 on the man advantage losing the best-of-seven round 4-1. The Providence Franchise hasn’t seen the final round since the 1998-99 season when the B’s put together a 56-16-4-4 record and marched on to win the Calder Cup beating the Rochester Americans.

When looking at the Providence power-play in AHL league rankings, the B’s are 5th from the last place scoring 18 goals in 137 chances so far this year in 32 games played giving then a 13.1 percent. That has to change to be successful no matter what league you play in.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Providence Journal Bruins beat writer Mark Divver reported in a tweet above that the Boston Bruins talents prospect forward will not only make his debut tonight in a game at the Dunkin” Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island but he will also split the best line in hockey having veteran Agostino drop down to the second line on the left to make room for Bjork on the first. Puck drops tonight at the dunk for the first time in a long time as the club has been on the road for an eight-game trip lasting close to a month so the home barn will be buzzing with excitement for the hometown teams return.

Support Your Baby B’s!!!

If you’d like to watch tomorrow’s stars today, I highly suggest you take advantage of the cheap tickets and family atmosphere that’s available at every Providence Bruins home game at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence,  Rhode Island.  You can get ticket information and other great info by clicking HERE to enter the official Baby B’s website.

Also, if you do happen to go and support the team at the Dunk, be sure to stop by the Providence Bruins Fan Club table behind sections 101 and 102. Fantastic season ticket holders and Fan Club volunteers Jenna Labush, Rhonda Labush, and Steven Labush are always there with other valued members to help with any information and questions. You can also use the address below or visit the Official Fan Club page on the Providence Bruins website by clicking HERE. Follow the Baby B’s Fan Club on Social Media!

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/pbruinsfanclub

Providence Bruins
Fan Club

PO Box 40963
Providence, RI 02940
401.426.8277

Bruins’ Rookies: Actually Good

Nashville Predators v Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 5: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Charlie McAvoy #73 after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators during the first period at TD Garden on October 5, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Spencer Fascetta                                                   Twitter: @pucknerdhockey

A lot has been made about the Bruins’ clear push to embrace a youth movement this season. They actually lead the league in games played by rookies. But, apart from Charlie McAvoy, who has more than lived up to the hype, the B’s 3 other primary rookies (Matt Grzelcyk has been good, but has not played enough to qualify here), Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, and Danton Heinen, really lack the name recognition of the more high profile rookie leaders this year. This is your Matt Barzals, Nico Hischiers, Will Butchers, etcetera. Because of how important young talent has become in this league, and because these three haven’t generated as much hype thus far, I thought I’d look into what kind of value they actually bring to the B’s.

Vancouver Canucks Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden

BOSTON – OCTOBER 19: Boston Bruins’ Anders Bjork is congratulated by teammate Brad Marchand after his first goal of the first period. The Boston Bruins host the Vancouver Canucks in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

To begin with, I took the data collected through Manny Elk’s Corsica.hockey database. Using NHL.com’s stats page (the only time I will EVER use that abhorrent piece of garbage) to determine the top scoring rookies, I pared my sample frame to the top 25 scoring rookies in the NHL this season as of the winter holiday roster freeze. They are:

Adrian Kempe (LAK)

Alex DeBrincat (CHI)

Alex Kerfoot (COL)

Alex Tuch (VGK)

Anders Bjork (BOS)

Brock Boeser (VAN)

Charles Hudon (MTL)

Charlie McAvoy (BOS)

Christian Fischer (ARZ)

Clayton Keller (ARZ)

Danton Heinen (BOS)

JT Compher (COL)

Jake DeBrusk (BOS)

Jakub Vrana (WSH)

Jesper Bratt (NJD)

Joshua Ho-Sang (NYI)

Kyle Connor (WPG)

Mark Jankowski (CGY)

Martin Frk (DET)

Mathew Barzal (NYI)

Mikhail Sergachev (TBL)

Nico Hischier (NJD)

Pierre-Luc Dubois (CBJ)

Will Butcher (NJD)

Yanni Gourde (TBL)

This includes all 4 rookies of note for the Bruins, as well as a large enough sample size to properly analyze their relative impact across the league. Corsica’s database offers 5 different datasets for individual players: Summary, Relative, Individual, On-Ice, and Context. I took all 5 datasets and combined them into one large dataset to analyze the largest number of statistics possible. Then, using some of my own magic, I cooked up a few graphics to help demonstrate why the quartet of DeBrusk, Bjork, McAvoy, and Heinen deserve much more respect than they are currently getting.

Point per 60 Distribution.png

This first graphic displays the individual point distribution per 60 minutes of play. The idea behind a “per 60 minutes” statistic is to account for the effect of playing time on production. A top line player is likely to score more than a 4th liner solely based upon them spending more time on the ice than the 4th liner. Points per 60 and similar statistics show how productive a player is the ice time they are being given. The graphic shows each player’s goals per 60 (red), primary assists per 60 (orange), and secondary assists per 60 (green) stats. Obviously, Brock Boeser is a goal scoring machine. Adrian Kempe appears to be shredding opponents in slightly less ice time than his peers.

Chicago Blackhawks v Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 25: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins congratulates Anders Bjork #10 after he scored a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period at TD Garden on September 25, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

As for the Bruins’ 4, Bjork (5th from the top) seems to be relatively well balanced. He looks less productive simply because he is listed directly above the absurdly productive Boeser. However, he is above the median regarding points per 60 production.

McAvoy (8th from the top) appears at first glance to have a really low level of production. This is, however, more of an inditement of his ice time, which will be touched on later. In short, McAvoy is playing significantly more minutes per game than anyone else on this list. So, let’s discount him on this graphic.

Heinen (11th from the top) is, based on this metric, an incredibly productive player. What’s important to note about him on this graphic is how much of his production are primary points. This means he is directly responsible for a majority of the offense he is producing or contributing to, something that is much more likely to be a repeatable action than a gluttony of secondary assists.

DeBrusk (13th from the top) is 3rd (yes, THIRD) in goals per 60 in this group, behind only Boeser and Kempe. He is also 5th in overall points production, behind only Kempe, Boeser, Barzal, and the much, much older Yanni Gourde. For anyone who didn’t think he was worth that 1st Round pick in 2015, consider that he has been a healthy scratch twice already this year. Gourde hasn’t, Kempe was a recall a few games into the season, Boeser has missed only a single game, and Barzal hasn’t missed one for the Islanders. DeBrusk hasn’t had the minutes that Kempe, Boeser, or Barzal has. This is incredibly impressive.

Zone Start Distribution

Next, I chose to look at how each player’s zone starts were distributed. The percentage of their shifts starting in the offensive zone are shown in red, neutral zone starts in orange, and defensive zone starts in blue. Coaches will often shelter younger or less defensively responsible players by starting more of their shifts in the offensive zone. Bjork is a prime example of this. He is not on the penalty kill in Boston, and no rookie in this group starts a higher percentage of their shifts in the offensive zone. The only one who starts a lower percentage of their shifts in the defensive zone is (curiously enough) Tampa’s Mikhail Sergachev, one of only 3 defensemen on this list.

Nashville Predators v Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 5: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins, right, celebrates with Matt Grzelcyk #48 and Anders Bjork #10 after scoring his first NHL goal during the second period against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden on October 5, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Similarly, DeBrusk sees a majority of his shifts start in the offensive zone, and starts the fewest number of his shifts in the defensive zone. Where this gets interesting is Heinen. Heinen is arguably the most balanced individual on this list. There is still a slight advantage to the offensive zone, but his zone starts are almost entirely equally distributed. There is tangible evidence for this, as he is the only one of the B’s 3 big rookie forwards who consistently sees time on the penalty kill. It appears he has Bruce Cassidy’s trust in his own end. McAvoy also sees a large number of his shifts start in the offensive zone, and has the same offensive, neutral, defensive progression as Bjork and DeBrusk, but it is much less pronounced than those two, and he starts more of a percentage of his shifts in his own end than the other two defensemen on this list, Will Butcher, and Mikhail Sergachev.

 

Shot Efficiency

This is quite possibly one of my favorite graphics I made. This is a model of a player’s shot efficiency. It compares their shooting percentage to the shots generated for per 60 minutes of play. Players to the upper right of the graph are producing lots of shots, and finishing at a consumer rate. The bottom right quadrant is full of players who are shooting at a higher than normal shooting percentage and will, in all likelihood, see their percentages regress towards the mean. The opposite is true in the top left quadrant. These players are generating a ton of shots, but just aren’t finishing at the rate at which one would expect them to. The dotted vertical line is the average NHL shooting percentage, 9%. You might be asking, “Why are they all different sized dots?” Excellent question. The dots are all scaled based on the percentage of overall ice time skated by the team that the individual player skated, or TOI%. Players with a large dot are relied on to play more minutes for their team, whereas the tiny dots represent players who regularly see time on the 3rd or 4th line for their respective team. Each of the B’s 4 rookies has been labeled.

MATT3877.JPG

(Boston, MA, 10/20/16) New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy and Boston Bruins center Danton Heinen go after the puck during the third period of the Bruins home opener at the TD Garden on Thursday, October 20, 2016. Staff photo by Matt Stone

Now, what do each of their relative positions on this graph tell us? Well, only DeBrusk is shooting above the league average, at 10.64%. Bjork and Heinen are relatively close to the average of 9%, at 8.7% and 8.81% respectively. McAvoy is a defenseman, so his shooting percentage is likely to be lower than the average. He is still hanging around the group average though, at 7.85%, a very impressive rate for a rookie blueliner. All three forwards are at or above the average shooting percentage for the group. Heinen and Bjork are almost at the exact center of the graph, while DeBrusk is actually producing slightly fewer shots per 60 minutes, but appears to be a slightly better finisher at this juncture. Also, McAvoy has the biggest dot. Just thought I’d throw that out there again.

Offensive Efficiency Rookies

So, we already looked at shooting efficiency, why not how efficient they are offensively in general? This graphic uses the same size scale (TOI%) and compares a player’s goals for percentage (the goals they factor into for and against their team divided by all goals scored for and against the said team) to their EXPECTED goals for percentage. Players in the bottom right are underproducing according to this graph (i.e., their expected goals for percentage is higher than their current one by a considerable amount), and those in the top left are overproducing their expected rate.

All four Bruins fall to the right of the 50% mark regarding actual goals for percentage. This means all 4 of them help produce more goals for their team than they allow while they are on the ice. I feel like that might be relatively important. McAvoy and Heinen are both well into the “good” quadrant, and Heinen has the highest expected goals for the percentage of any rookie on this list. DeBrusk and Bjork both fall into the “underproducing” category, which tells me they are probably going to start to score more.

NHL: OCT 05 Predators at Bruins

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 05: Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy makes a point during an NHL game between the Boston Bruins and the Nashville Predators on October 5, 2017, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Predators 4-3. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Of note, Heinen’s expected goals for percentage is nearly 60%, meaning, based on how he has played, his team should expect to accumulate 60% of the goals scored while he is on the ice. That’s ridiculous. What’s funnier is McAvoy’s actual goals for percentage is OVER 60% (although his expected rate is closer to 55%, still quite good).

Corsi per 60 Distribution

Final graphic with this group of rookies. This once again uses the TOI% size scale and compares a player’s Corsi For per 60 to their Corsi Against per 60. In short, how are the shot attempts being distributed while they are on the ice? I will let this one speak for itself a bit because Corsi is relatively self-explanatory. A higher number equates to a higher percentage of the shot rates they control per 60 minutes of ice time. “For” is for their own team, and “against” is against their team. Therefore, the Y-axis on this graph is offensive shot attempts, and the X-axis is defensive shot attempts they allow. The dotted axes are the expected average of 50%. I’d say that DeBrusk falls into the “FUN” category (lots of shot attempts for AND against), whereas the other three are relatively defensively responsible. Bjork has the highest Corsi For per 60 rate of the four at 61.81. Interesting…

Now you should have a pretty good idea of how McAvoy, Bjork, Heinen, and DeBrusk all stack up against the league’s best young guns. But what about in the Black and Gold?

Offensive Efficiency

Remember that Offensive Efficiency graphic earlier? Here’s the Bruins’ distribution. I have labeled each of the four we have been discussing, as well as the B’s top line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak, all of whom fall into the “ludicrous” category, and Adam McQuaid, just because he is so clearly the worst of the group despite getting a sizeable chunk of the ice time. This time, I compared shots for the percentage to goals for percentage. As you can see, all four rookies fall into the “Good” quadrant and are better than more than half of the B’s roster. Of note is Matt Grzelcyk, who is unlabeled, but represented by the bright pink dot in the far top right. While he’s on the ice, the team is producing 65% of the shots, and around 77% of the total goals. If he had played more, he would also be a part of this analysis. It also demonstrates clearly that he should not come out of this lineup in favor of Adam McQuaid, who is absolutely abysmal and has not been on the ice for a goal for this year. Also, Brad Marchand is producing almost 91% of the total goals scored while he is on the ice. I’m sorry, what????

Boston Bruins v Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE, AZ – OCTOBER 14: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins and teammates on the bench celebrate a goal against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 14, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

So, in short, you really ought to take Heinen, Bjork, and DeBrusk seriously. McAvoy has gotten a bit of Calder attention based on the sheer amount of minutes he is being asked to play, and the competition he is being asked to play against, but the other 3 really haven’t been mentioned at all. DeBrusk and Heinen should absolutely be getting legitimate Calder consideration, and Bjork isn’t very far behind. And Don Sweeney hit it out of the park by committing to this youth movement this year. All of these kids appear to indeed be alright. *Insert really ham-fisted Capri-Sun Pun here*

All data courtesy of Corsica.hockey. Data scraped on December 24th, 2017. Master data tables and graphics created by Spencer Fascetta (aka PuckNerd) utilizing Microsoft Excel and Tableau.

Please give me a follow on Twitter (found above) and check out/subscribe to my YouTube Channel (@PuckNerd) for more of my content!

Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast #75 12-11-17

By: Mark Allred      Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Welcome back to episode 75 in partnership with the Grandstand Sports Network. On this week’s show, we talk about the games of last week and schedule for the upcoming week. We went over a wide range of Bruins related topics in this episode and also had the great pleasure of having first-time guest Drew Johnson, a Quinnipiac University Journalism Major. Drew covers the Bruins/NCAA Hockey for The Hockey Writers website. We also have our weekly Bruins prospect update for the week of 12/03/17 to 12-/09/17.

Please follow our new partners over at Grandstand Sports Network Twitter: @Grandstand_SN grandstandsportsnetwork.com

If you’d like to support the show and are an Amazon or Fanatics, shopper, we ask that you, please use our blackngoldhockeyblog.com advertising partner banner located to the right of the screen in our affiliation link area. By going to our website every time you shop we get a commission.

You can also financially support our show by donating $1 and have exclusive access to our new “What Ya Bruin” Mailbag segment where paying contributors get their questions answered with the highest priority. Go to patreon.com/blackngoldhockeypodcast for another way to cut the operating costs.

Follow us on Twitter at:
Mark Allred @BlackAndGold277
Rob Tomlin @Rob40bruins
Court Lalonde @courtlalonde
Podcast Account @BlackNGoldPod

Have a question or a comment for the hosts? Please send us an email at blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com

Thanks for tuning in and all the support! We’ll be back next week for another show of Bruins Hockey related material. Take Care and GO Bruins!!

Bruins and NHL Announce 2019 Winter Classic

( Above Photo Credit: IndyStar .com )

By: Mark Allred          Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Although the news of the 2019 National Hockey League Winter Classic was broke by Barstool Sports Chicago writer @BarstoolChief back on November 7, 2017, the league and Boston Bruins have officially made the event public weeks later with today’s mention of the B’s and Chicago Blackhawks meeting up for the 12th annual outdoor event at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This is the third time the Boston Bruins will be involved in this event having played the first at Boston’s Fenway Park in 2010 and the second played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Bruins are .500 in outdoor games since the league made this a yearly event with the first a Marco Sturm overtime winner at one of Baseball’s oldest ballparks to a no-show effort in 2016 when they matched up against the rival Montreal Canadiens at the home of the powerful New England Patriots.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The Chicago Blackhawks have not fared well in the outdoor festivities as the team is winless in three appearances and outscored by opponents 13-7 but anything can happen with the elements as I’ve read many stories about folks saying the fabled football cathedral has been one of the coldest places to watch a game being so close to the Great Lakes especially located at the southern tip of Lake Michigan.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This will be a homecoming for current Bruins first-year pro, Anders Bjork who played his collegiate hockey for the Fighting Irish during his three-year career in South Bend. In 115 career NCAA games for the Irish, the 2014 fifth round selection of the B’s contributed 40-69-109 numbers and will be sure get much support as an alumni member even though he and his Bruins teammates will be the visiting team.

( Above Photo Credit:  Notre Dame Athletics )

Bruins Prospect Donato Continues Impressive Streak

( Above Photo Credit:  Chowdaheadz Blog )

By: Mark Allred            Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins prospect and Harvard University forward Ryan Donato continues to be a force for his Crimson team this year after his first six games to begin the 2017-18 NCAA Men’s Hockey season. The 6′-1″ 181-pound center and Boston native added to his career-high six-game point streak last night with a third-period goal in a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Gophers.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The 21-year-old Donato is currently in his junior year at Harvard, and in74 career games for the Crimson has 31-38-69 numbers and leads his team with eight points this year. The crafty forward was selected in the second round of the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft and has a big decision coming up during the hockey offseason. It’s very common that hockey players at the NCAA level around their junior year to sign with the team that selected them and incorporate that individual into the minor-pro levels of the organization. Just from what’s being said throughout the Boston hockey scene, it’s highly likely the son of former Bruins player and current Harvard Head Coach Ted Donato might want to complete his education and return for his Senior year.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Another year of collegiate hockey might be beneficial to not only the young talented forward but the Boston Bruins organization when you look at the developing depth in Providence and the yearly insertions of replenishing the prospect pool. Having not had many opportunities to watch the games he’s played in a while appearing for his Crimson team, I’ve seen many great attributes on display from the past three to four development camps either at the Ristucccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Massachusetts, or the new Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Mass.

Donato is also the type of player that could be on the same road as fellow prospect Anders Bjork followed to the NHL as the Bruins look to add more younger talent to a league that’s seemingly getting faster and more skill year-by-year. Regardless of the if and when, Ryan will be a valuable asset no matter where he lands in professional hockey either making the leap to the highest level in the world or continue to build character with a team like the Providence Bruins to continue his development for future placement on the Boston roster.

Donato looks to add to his streak tonight as the Harvard team is set to play the Minnesota Gophers team again tonight at 8pm. Information to keep up to date information about tonight’s contest can be found below from the official Havard Men’s Hockey Twitter account.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Boston Bruins Rookies Playing Big Roles

jake-debruskmatt-grzelcykzdeno-chara-d13cdae03b8c6ee0

Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer (AP Photo)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

The Bruins have finally bought in on playing the young guys, mainly due to an unprecedented amount of injuries to their veteran players. Players like McAvoy, DeBrusk, and Bjork have been in the lineup since the first game, but the others have been thrown into the mix as regulars have been injured. They have definitely added to the energy and youth of the team, but have they come with their fair share rookie mistakes too.

Charlie McAvoy burst onto the scene for Bruins fans last spring when both Krug and Carlo were unable to play in the playoffs. In his first few games, McAvoy limited his mistakes and played very well for being thrown into the lineup of elite NHL players around him, on his team and the other team. He is leading the entire NHL rookies in time on ice (22:58 avg) and leading by an extra 3 minutes compared to the second place player (Keller, 19:44). This is also the second highest rookie TOI since the 2010-2011 season. Jonas Brodin has the highest since ’10-’11  with 23:12 in ’12-’13. McAvoy has shown his ability on the powerplay too. He is regularly out with large PP minutes and has contributed a lot to the physical part of the game. He is one of the better rookie defensemen in the NHL.

Anders Bjork was a big surprise for many people outside of the Bruins organization, but once you see his numbers at Notre Dame and how well he works with Bergeron/Marchand, there’s less of a shock. Bjork, when he is playing on his usual line with 37/63, excels because of speed and the chances he creates. He leads all Bruins rookies in points (9) and is tied for highest goals (3). He hasn’t been able to reach his full potential yet with injuries to both Bergeron and Marchand, along with the majority of the lineup. I believe that when the B’s get healthy, Bjork will start to make more of an impact.

Sean Kuraly is one of my favourite players in the lineup. He brings that old Bruins style of play. Real gritty. Dump and chase. Tire them out through physical play. Kuraly has the most hits as a forward with 29 so far in 16 games played. He also leads the Bruins rookies in shots and tied for most game-winning goals. He seems to have a bright solid 3rd/4th line center kind of future.

The Bruins have a multitude of rookies playing in their lineup on a nightly basis, and this is both a good thing and a bad thing. There will be a learning period. The adjustment from the AHL to the NHL is a big one, and some players need more time than others. Most of the rookies now are almost over that hump, but they still need time. Not everyone can make the jump like Bergeron did all those years ago in 2003.

 

Sources:

NHL.com, TSN.com, Hockeydb.com, Twitter.com

Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

Bear Sightings: Boston Bruins vs. Vancouver Canucks (10-19-17)

screenshot_20171020-0022251922799546.png(**NOTE**:  All images were screencapped by me;  the footage is owned by NESN & the NHL)

By:  Karen Still           Follow Me @bluinsfan2017

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the first edition of Bear Sightings—images were taken by me off of my phone for your viewing pleasure, as well as my thoughts on the action.  Let’s get started!

Score:  Bruins 6 — Canucks 3

First and foremost it was Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the TD Garden.  The boys practiced in special lavender jerseys, which has become an annual tradition throughout the NHL.  There was also a ceremonial puck drop, and it was done by 8-year-old Layla Flint, who is battling leukemia (and winning!).  She was escorted by Captain Zdeno Chara and also got a very special hug from Brad Marchand:

screenshot_20171019-225210291760609.pngscreenshot_20171019-225329776185322.png

And now…

“Our Bergy’s Backes and you’re gonna be in trouble…” (okay I’ll see myself out now).

screenshot_20171019-224401388073322.pngscreenshot_20171019-224427836530369.png

On a serious note the return of these two gentlemen, one who is the heart and soul of the team and the other who is a respected leader both on and off the ice, was probably akin to Christmas morning to our boys in the B.  With Bergeron having been dealing with a nagging lower-body injury (and was a game-time decision), and Backes suffering from an intestinal infection called diverticulitis since the start of the season, Coach Cassidy has been having to juggle lines to find something that would click in the interim.  And as we know that despite his best efforts, it was rather unstable, only furthering just how vital and important #37 and #42 truly are to the team if not just for their mad hockey skills, but their presence–just being there.

And did the Bruins ever run to those presents and tear into them with a 6–3 win:  Anders Bjork with 2 goals, Pastrnak, Krejci, Marchand and Bergeron himself with a goal each (and 3 assists—seemed like Bergy was most definitely making up for lost time!).

SO GOALS — LOTS & LOTS OF GOALS!

#1

screenshot_20171019-2301091379036898.png

#2

screenshot_20171019-231644411490722.pngscreenshot_20171019-2316571795127293.png

#3

screenshot_20171019-2318281440775226.pngscreenshot_20171019-2319091276709756.png

#4

screenshot_20171019-23203196577580.pngscreenshot_20171019-232108667604191.png

#5

screenshot_20171019-2353071383862011.pngscreenshot_20171020-0001411423000306.png

#6

screenshot_20171020-2139331687067741.pngscreenshot_20171020-2139361837725450.png

If all those goals weren’t enough, there were two fights, the first of which a lot have said was the catalyst for at least 3 of them:  Erik Gudbranson slammed Frank Vatrano into the boards hard, which landed him not only a 5-minute major but a game misconduct.  He was afterward met by the unexpected sight of a working man’s man in Tim Schaller, who didn’t take too kindly to the attack on his teammate.  It was quite the entertaining fight.

screenshot_20171019-230657707733918.pngscreenshot_20171019-230705268634709.pngscreenshot_20171019-230844428580850.png

Now, for something that will be called The Token Ugly.  Every game has one, whether it’s a camera-breaking face or a player who’s just downright awful.  For the inaugural post, this game’s Token Ugly is……

Derek Dorsett

Seriously, this guy is something special:  first, he tried to pester the Pest.

screenshot_20171019-232633927711171.pngscreenshot_20171019-232635113039705.png

And if that wasn’t enough, about 5 minutes later, he picked a fight with Kevan Miller! (who in their right mind would do that?)

screenshot_20171019-233645401387679.pngscreenshot_20171019-2336471923273149.png20171020_1153431193396905.png

Miscellaneous Bear Sightings!

screenshot_20171019-224836287920908.pngscreenshot_20171019-224956203473354.pngscreenshot_20171019-2254181767793529.pngscreenshot_20171019-2347581580824652.pngscreenshot_20171020-2135381037042058.pngscreenshot_20171020-2157021846493000.pngscreenshot_20171020-215723673415789.png

Thank you for joining me! See you next time and Go Bruins!