Boston Bruins: Studs-And-Duds Of The Preseason


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The Boston Bruins ultimate stud: Bobby Orr


By: Andrew Thompson                                                          Twitter: @Godwentwhoops


The Boston Bruins have wrapped up their preseason and get ready to start their 2017-18 season. The Black and Gold now have to whittle down the roster in order to get ready for opening night. The B’s have a few hard choices ahead of them as they try to figure out who will be playing in Boston and who’ll be sent down to Providence.

There have been several players who rose to the occasion. There are a few that didn’t live up to their billing. We take a look at a few of the ‘Studs-and-Duds’ who are battling for a roster spot.



Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets during overtime of the preseason game at TD Garden on September 26, 2016, in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Sept. 25, 2016 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)


Stud: Jake DeBrusk

DeBrusk put up 10 shots on goal during the preseason. While he wasn’t able to light the lamp, his tenacity earned him high marks from the Bruins coaching staff. DeBrusk averaged 15:29 of ice time per game, the most among the B’s non-goalie prospects.

Debrusk summed up his time in camp after the Bruins 1-0 loss to the Blackhawks. “I thought this camp was better than the three I’ve been here for now,” said DeBrusk (who looks like he’ll break through and make the opening night squad). “Even though I had some points last year, I think that this was my best camp. I showed more of what I can do and that I’m ready for this league and ready for the pace.

“It’s up to management now and hopefully they see that I can help the team win in different ways. It’s gonna be either really exciting or back to the drawing board.”



Frank Vatrano #72 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck against the Ottawa Senators in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canadian Tire Centre on April 12, 2017, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
(April 11, 2017 – Source: Getty Images North America)


Dud: Frank Vatrano.

The Bruins were hoping that ‘Frank the Tank’ would have had an easy pass through training camp and the preseason. That hasn’t been the case. The 23-year old Vatrano seemed to be missing a step or two all through camp.

The 23-year old Vatrano wasn’t terrible. Vatrano put up 10 shots on goal during his four games on the ice for Boston.  But he wasn’t where he needed to be, and that can prove disastrous when you’re competing against hungry young prospects who want his job.

Vatrano’s stock has fallen a bit off. At the moment, he’s looking at being a fourth-line winger. He might even end up in the unwanted position of being the B’s thirteenth forward on opening night.

“Frank was trying to create some plays off the rush. He was trying to turn some pucks over and he’s going to have to continue to work on it. He hasn’t scored in preseason, which probably bothers him when you’re a goal scorer,” said Cassidy of Vatrano’s preseason performance. “But he has to remember there’s lots of other parts of his game that he’s got to stick with.”

bjorkStud: Anders Bjork.


The Bruins decided to give Bjork an early opportunity to prove himself early in the preaseon. Coach Cassidy decided to place Bjork with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Bjork didn’t disappoint. He put up two goals for the B’s in preseason (and had a goal disallowed against the Flyers) and did well in all areas of the ice.

By the final game of the season, they pulled Bjork out of the lineup as a sign of their approval and confidence.

“Bjork looks like he’ll start in the lineup,” said coach Bruce Cassidy before the Chicago game. “I don’t want to say concrete…looks like he’s going to be a fit.  We’ve used him with [Patrice Bergeron] and [Brad Marchand], but he can play the other side. So could he flip with [David] Krejci and [David Pastrnak] as well? We haven’t looked at that much, but it could happen.

“But we like where his game is at right now. We just think that Bjork is probably the furthest ahead of all the young guys.”

Patrice Bergeron was certainly impressed by the 21-year old Bjork. (If you can impress Bergy, you’ve done pretty darn well for yourself.)

“He’s got that speed and the smarts to get open and find the openings in the quiet ice,” said Bergeron. “It was a great play by him just to get open and for me to see him. He made it really easy. He skates well, he made some great plays, we just need to keep talking and finding each other more and more on the ice.”


Bruins Vatrano Could Be Placed On Waivers

( Above Photo Credit:  NHL .com )

By: Mark Allred              Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

That’s certainly a tough title for me to write but the influx of prospects in the Boston Bruins system may force this B’s organization to make some drastic moves to facilitate the younger youth outplaying current members of this team. As a fellow New Englander myself, the story of Frank Vatrano is always a great thing as you want local players to succeed as the sport continues to gain popularity, especially in the Northeastern Part of the United States.  With the Bruins first game of the 2017-18 National Hockey League campaign set to drop the puck this coming Thursday against the Nashville Predators, the roster is starting to take shape, and the unfortunate demotions to players like Vatrano are inevitable.

Even though Frank is set to play in his third year of his entry-level contract he is not waiver exempt as pointed out to me earlier today by Bruins fans and fantastic Twitter follows @Spoked_B and @bruinscapspace as they shared some very interesting information about Vatrano’s contract status.



The 23-year-old East Longmeadow, Massachusetts native has appeared in 83 NHL career games and earned 28 points in his first two years with the Bruins organization. If he clears waivers if in fact sent down to the American Hocke Leagues Providence Bruins, he’ll be a key asset to an impressive lineup with the B’s top minor-pro affiliate. Also, can’t forget about his time in the AHL where he scored 39 goals in just 43 career games.

Vatrano’s Potential Replacement

After his first professional hockey season, last year with Providence, 2015 first round selection Jake DeBrusk took hold of what it means to be a Bruins player and the expectations of a first rounder with a solid rookie year where he posted 49 points in 74 games. The beginning of the 2016-17 AHL season for the 20-year-old Edmonton, Alberta native was definitely an adjustment time to the higher level of play, but I thought he really turned up his game in December and continued into the playoffs where he contributed nine points in 17 games.


DeBrusk came into this summer offseason with one goal in mind, and he’s certainly on the right road to achieving that feat when the Bruins first game on Thursday night and could very well be his first career game as he’s just shown that he wants it more than Vatrano. The offseason workouts, Development Camp, right into this main camp and preseason games the kid is impressing Bruce Cassidy and coaching staff and definitely gaining fan conversation as many are seeing him for the first time since being selected in 2015. For those who don’t know about DeBrusk’s game or what kind of Bruins he’ll be,’s Curtis Joe had this to say in his scouting report.

A two-way winger with good mobility and scoring ability. Willing to battle in the dirty areas and can always find the puck and make the smart play below the hash marks. Shows good creativity and deception with the puck. Good individual skills and makes good use of any time and space found. DeBrusk won’t beat you up physically, but he can definitely beat you up on the scoreboard. All-in-all, a competitive two-way winger with the natural goal scorer’s instincts. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)

Boston Bruins 2017-18 Roster Predictions

By: Mark Allred                 Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Many Bruins writers are publishing their own roster predictions for the upcoming 2017-18 National Hockey League season, so I thought I’d throw my two cents out there with mine and an explanation of why for each line. With today’s news of forward, Drew Stafford signing a one-year deal with the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins roster is seemingly starting to take shape for many skeptics’s as well as I. With a little over $10 million in cap space according to and the status of forward David Pastrnak’s contract extension which remains in limbo, the B’s didn’t exactly get aggressive with the free-agent market and remain with the majority of players from last season.

Offseason Additions

The free-agent additions of veteran defenseman Paul Postma who spent his career in the Winnipeg Jets organization and 25-year-old Kenny Agostino who walked to free agency after leaving a St. Louis Blues organization where he spent a majority of his time in the American Hockey League with the Calgary Flames and most recently the St. Louis Blues. The 2010 fifth round selection of the Pittsburgh Penguins won the scoring title last season with the Chicago Wolves but only has five points in 17 career National Hockey League appearances. Postma, on the other hand, has yet to play a full 82 game schedule in his career in the NHL which can be pointed at AHL demotions and injuries but has 34 points in 191 games with the Jets organization. Both depth signings regardless and weren’t additions to get better from last season in any way but having them as an insurance policy if the developing youth that will be at Training Camp challenging for a roster spot and possibly an NHL debut.

Did The B’s Get Better?

In my opinion, no they didn’t as the above additions weren’t exactly explosive enough to show me they can play an 82 games season which starts on October 5th when they open the 2017-18 season with a contest against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. After an up and down 2016-17 season that the B’s finally made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the past three seasons, the minimal movements during this offseason have me thinking this team has the potential to make a playoff return, but how long they last is another question?

Now, of course, this Boston team could have a complete turnaround year and make a series run after a great regular season, but in the dog days of August to me, that’s not realistic. With a little more salary cap breathing room with current contracts set to expire soon, I can see some serious additions with the free agent class set to be available next summer and the year after that, but for now, lateral movements are not telling me many improvements.


Youth Insertion? 

This is a fascinating topic to me because I’m asked this quite often. No doubt with the core of younger players knocking on the door of NHL stardom, the additions are going to be very important, but I can’t expect a few players making the transition this upcoming year. The best player at the moment and most likely one of the highest prospects in Anders Bjork will get the chance to claim an NHL roster spot, but I believe he’s the only one that can crack the lineup.

This brings me back to when the Bruins General Manager has been preaching if you’re the better player than you’re going to play speech but where was the availability with Jimmy Hayes and his roster spot last season? If you didn’t place a player like Hayes and his struggles since coming to Boston on waivers to the AHL Providence, then how are we as fans going to believe if a player like Matt Beleskey, Riley Nash, or recently extended Ryan Spooner will be replaced with a developing player that might have something to prove? To me and the crazy way I think, I believe Bruins Management directed by the Jacobs ownership is adamant on getting full dollar value out of every contracted player and refuse to play an NHL salary to a player that’s been demoted to the minor-pro systems as a way to wake that player up.

Take a prospect like Peter Cehlarik as an example. Even at the AHL level was playing better than Hayes and the kid can play both wings, so to me there’s no excuse when it comes to moves like this and proves once again that the B’s penny pinchers are just that, CHEAP!

2017-18 Projected Bruins Roster

Below is my 2017-18 Boston Bruins projected lineup with heavy consideration to contractual obligations with my frustration with ownership that’s clearly stated above but an idea of what I see the roster looking like for the upcoming season.

Marchand       Bergeron       Backes

Bjork                Krejci             Pastrnak

Vatrano          Spooner          Nash

Beleskey         Acciari           Schaller

Chara           McAvoy

Krug             Carlo

K.Miller       McQuaid




Feb 28, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrates with right wing David Backes (42) and left wing Brad Marchand (63) after a goal during the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Offense Line #1 – You honestly can’t separate Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and won’t probably see that happen for a few years, but for now they operate as one of the best 2/3’s of a line in the NHL. Placing a player like David Backes on the right side has him being the net front presence for skilled players like Bergy and Marchy. Also, adds a little grit and policing aspect to that line as well.

( Above Photo Credit:  Locker Dome )

Offense Line #2  – The Chemistry I saw in the past with Czech Republic natives David Krejci and David Pastrnak was something special in my opinion and could continue to work well for the foreseeable future. The addition of prospect Anders Bjork who recently signed an entry-level contract with this line makes sense to me is because of Krejci’s creativity and the skill set of his two potential linemates in the rookie Bjork and superstar in the making Pastrnak. This line could also be an explosive second power-play unit when it comes to special teams.

( Above Photo Credit:    Boston Herald )

Offense Line #3  – With the return of Ryan Spooner via a contract extension, paired with the young, fast but sometimes inconsistent Frank Vatrano seems to be a work in progress since the departure of Carl Soderberg a few years back. Veteran Riley Nash on the right side is a decent skater and believe he can keep up with the acceleration of players like the Tank and Spoons but also plays that policing role with help from the defensive core at that time when liberties are being taken to fellow linemates.

Boston Bruins center Noel Acciari (55) lines up a punch in his fight against Minnesota Wild center Zac Dalpe (27) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

OffenseLine #4  – Although Matt Beleskey has yet to show exactly what he’s capable, a fourth line role along with center Noel Acciari and New Hampshire native Tim Schaller on the right side provide not only a fast gritty line but one that can produce some offensive production for a line often used as a trio of disturbance to the opposing team but one that could turn some heads the longer they stick together. It’s tough to see Beleskey and his salary on the bottom twelve of the offense, but a demotion to the AHL is highly unlikely which has me seeing him play on this line until he’s able to be moved or actually finds his game.

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 23: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators talks with Charlie McAvoy #73 and Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins after the Senators defeat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in overtime of Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 23, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Defense Line #1 –  Zdeno Chara is going to play the last season under contract with the Bruins this upcoming year and the way he took last year’s rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo under his wing should be the same way he does with a player like 2016 first-round selection Charlie McAvoy. I honestly can’t see the B’s retaining the 40-year-old Chara any longer after next season, so a mentorship in his last year with an up and coming star in McAvoy is going to be beneficial.

( Above Photo Credit: MyTradeRumors. com)

Defense Line # 2 – I believe a Torey Krug, and second-year Brandon Carlo could be a very good idea moving into next season and possibly the next few. Nice mix of stay at home attributes with some offensive capabilities. While Krug has the speed factor to be a better transitioning defensive team with minimal turnovers, I believe this pairing could create some nice chemistry and support on the back end.

( Above Photo Credit:  NESN .com )

Defense Line #3 – I like the Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid pairing because both players have different speed levels and could match up well as a bottom six defensive unit. Both are tough as nails and always available to stick up for a teammate in need when it comes to the opposition and their willingness to try to get under the skin of the Bruins offensively gifted top forwards, and defensive compare’s alike. McQuaid has good attributes to his game but is a little slow on the speed, but a player and potential defensive partner Miller has shown in the past that he can turn it up a notch and get involved when the team needs another threat pinching in.

Boston-02/08/2017 . The Boston Bruins practiced at Warrior Arena with new coach Bruce Cassidy, as Goalies Tuukka Rask(left) and Anton Khudobin take a break. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe(sports)

Goaltending Tandem – Whether you like it or not, the starting job belongs to Tuukka Rask for the foreseeable future, and at least for one more season, Anton Khdobin is sticking around to be the backup considering his contract status. With Bruins training camp coming up in the middle of September, the battle at camp from the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts is most likely going to be the highlights of the festivities when it comes to challenging for a job.

Both Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban were signed to two-year two-way contracts earlier this summer and will be in the mix to knock NHL veteran Khdobin out of the job if they both show up to impress the Bruins Brass. Even if Khudobin sticks around for a complete final season, it gives McIntyre a perfect opportunity to show he can have another outstanding season like he did last year with the Providence Bruins again and walk into the NHL Backup role under contract in 2017-18.

I know this is a long read and if you made it here I’d like to say thanks for your time. Like I said about the dog days of summer above, I’m always thinking about my favorite NHL Franchise and how things could be better or more consistency when it comes to winning percentage but I’ve been around for a bit and see certain trends that point to a rebuild or retool every six to eight years with the way things have been going lately. I know a deal for Pasta is going to get done but how likely is something like this going to happen again in the next few seasons while managing an uncertain league mandated salary cap and prospects under entry-level contracts such as McAvoy, Bjork, Carlo, forward Zach Senyshyn, or defenseman Jakub Zboril wanting to get paid? Of course, that’s an article for another day………..

2017-18 Boston Bruins Pump Up Video Below is courtesy of Jacob Pelletier on Youtube 

Boston Bruins Lineup Outlook Heading Into August

By Mike Cratty                                                                    Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

The Boston Bruins lineup has plenty of opportunities for change, mostly in the forward core. A fairly quiet offseason may end up being the proper course of action for this Bruins team, as they have pieces within the organization trying to burst onto the NHL scene or further their cases as legitimate NHLers.

This lineup isn’t set in stone, but it contains where I think players should be slotted into the lineup at this point.


Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak (RFA)

Anders Bjork – David Krejci – David Backes

Peter Cehalrik* – Ryan Spooner – Jake DeBrusk

Matt Beleskey – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari

Tim Schaller

Forwards that will compete for ice time: Danton Heinen, Frank Vatrano, Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly, Zachary Senyshyn, and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson.

*Peter Cehlarik will be recovering from surgery to start the season.

Three spots are up-for-grabs in the top-six, first line right-wing and the second line wings. David Pastrnak is a lock for one of the right wing spots. There is a very slight possibility that David Backes gets a shot at third line center. But a top-six right wing spot is more likely based on last season. The third-line wing spots are up-for-grabs as well. Players that could end up playing on the third line are Danton Heinen, Frank Vatrano, Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork, Sean Kuraly, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Zachary Senyshyn and David Backes. Long story short, there are a lot of players competing for ice time, especially on the second and third lines.

The third-line wing spots are up-for-grabs as well. Players that could end up playing on the third line are Danton Heinen, Frank Vatrano, Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork, Sean Kuraly, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Zachary Senyshyn and David Backes. Long story short, there are a lot of players competing for ice time, especially on the second and third lines.

Spooner has looked better at the center position throughout his career, so making him the third-line center from the start makes the most sense.

It sounds as though Ryan Spooner may actually start the season as a Bruin.

Don Sweeney mentioned how he expects to see Ryan Spooner develop into a more productive two-way player:

Many people thought he wouldn’t before he avoided salary arbitration by signing a one-year/$2.825 million deal. This doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility of Spooner being traded though. The quote above makes it sound like Don Sweeney wants to see Ryan Spooner get another shot.

As much as I’d love to see Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson in the lineup, I think Spooner gets first dibs, and if he slips, Forsbacka-Karlsson takes his place.

Although Spooner gets flack from some hockey fans, he is more established in the Bruins lineup. This is partly because JFK has played one regular season game as a Bruin, but the point still stands. JFK could play on the wing, but right now that just seems unlikely.

Frank Vatrano is a guy that could very well start the season outside of the lineup. With plenty of young left-handed players rising, he will really have to prove himself to earn the ice time, like Matt Beleskey, although Vatrano and Beleskey are very different players. Sean Kuraly is one of the left-handed forwards competing for ice time.

It seems like Sean Kuraly may be a perfect fit for the fourth line and he very much could be. Matt Beleskey will likely start in hopes for a bounce back season after tallying a career high in points two seasons ago. Riley Nash and Noel Acciari, on the other hand, seem to have solidified their positions on the fourth line.

Tim Schaller proved to be a solid bottom-six forward, so the 13th forward spot makes sense to start.


Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Charlie McAvoy

Kevan Miller – Adam McQuaid

Paul Postma

Defensemen that will compete for ice time: Rob O’Gara, Matt Grzelcyk.

The defensive core is made up of players who have already proven themselves to some degree. Where these defensemen will play is a toss up.

Zdeno Chara will hold down the first pair with Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo to start. Whoever of McAvoy and Carlo don’t end up with Chara will end up on the second pair with Torey Krug or Kevan Miller

Whoever of McAvoy and Carlo don’t end up with Chara will end up on the second pair with Torey Krug or Kevan Miller.

The third pair is a toss up, with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Paul Postma, Rob O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk vouching for a spot. Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy could be included in that group of players, but it seems more plausible to play them in the top-four to help them develop. Both players have shown flashes that they can be top-four defensemen.


Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Goalies that will compete for ice time: Zane McIntyre, Malcolm Subban.

There isn’t much to say for the goaltenders. The one main storyline is the backup position because Tuukka Rask has the starter position locked up.

Anton Khudobin turned things around towards the end of last season. If he struggles like he did at times last season, he could be sent down again, or maybe even traded to a team looking for goaltender depth due to injury or necessity. If any of those things happen, Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban will get the next shot at the backup position.

The Potential For Change In The Boston Bruins Lineup

(Photo Credit: NewsOK)

By Mike Cratty                                                                                               Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

The Boston Bruins lineup for this upcoming season looks to have some things in place, but others in question. There are a variety of answers to these questions that can be solved by a number of different players, some we may expect more than others. It all depends on what direction the team wants to go in and what message, or messages, they want to send to their opponents.

One way Don Sweeney could decide to go when helping form the roster for Bruce Cassidy and the coaching staff is via trade. Three guys that particularly stand out as fairly realistic trade candidates are Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano, and Adam McQuaid.

One underlying reason as to why Vatrano and Spooner have value is the fact that they are left-handed players that have shown that they can score to some degree. Sure, Frank Vatrano has done most of his scoring in Providence, but the potential is still there with his speed, bulldog mentality and impressive shot and release. With some work on his consistency on the score sheet, he could be a fine NHL scorer someday.

Some teams that come to mind in this situation are the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights, New York Islanders, and New Jersey Devils. The Kings, Ducks, Canucks, and Islanders have all been speculated to have been looking for a left-handed player that can score in the past. Spooner and or Vatrano could be of interest to these teams and possibly others in this case.

Teams like the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, and New York Islanders have had reported interest in Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane. Those three teams are teams that could use a guy with the potential to fit into a top-six scoring role on the left wing. Kane is a left-handed forward with scoring potential. The Canucks, Golden Knights, and Devils were all reported to have some interest in Ryan Spooner in the past.

Spooner isn’t as much of a scorer as he is a playmaker, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have interest to a team looking for scoring. He is effective on the half wall on the power play as well. Spooner has registered 64 assists in 158 regular season games over the past two seasons without playing a ton of top-six minutes, a lot of his minutes have been bottom-six and powerplay minutes. His power play prowess, puck distribution skills and skating ability are the main qualities that could catch the eye of general managers across the league.

Spooner’s trade value is up-in-the-air partly because he is a restricted free-agent waiting for an arbitration hearing. His hearing is set to take place July 26, less than a week from today. What Spooner could fetch in return is up in the air. A right winger could be acquired for the top-nine, some have thrown out Arizona Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair’s name. Duclair is listed as a left-wing, but might not have too much of a problem playing on his off wing. Spooner and Duclair are both restricted free-agents who could benefit from a change of scenery. Honestly, a Spooner for Duclair swap almost makes too much sense.

There’s also the possibility they trade Spooner and maybe more in hopes to acquire a top four defenseman or a draft pick or two. Sami Vatanen may make sense as a right-handed option, but the Bruins would likely have to add more than Spooner or Vatrano. The Bruins currently have five right-handed defensemen and only two left-handed defensemen on the roster. Maybe Adam McQuaid could be packaged in a deal with Ryan Spooner.

Rob O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk are realistic left-handed defenseman who could make the jump this year. This could just mean Spooner is traded for a forward or a pick or two instead of a defenseman. A decision to make room for O’Gara or Grzelcyk could provoke Don Sweeney to move Adam McQuaid because he is right-handed and is a very similar player to Kevan Miller. Kevan Miller really took a big step last year, especially in the playoffs. It’s fair to say that McQuaid is more likely to be moved than Miller.

Trading Spooner or Vatrano makes room for a young player trying to solidify a roster spot. Trading McQuaid could do the same, but for a young defenseman.

One change that may be flying under the radar would be making David Backes the new third line center. Hear me out, I’m not completely ruling out Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson being there. There is also the rather unlikely possibility of Ryan Spooner returning on a new deal to compete for minutes as the third line center.

David Backes played center in ten seasons as a St. Louis Blue. He played on the right wing a lot this past season in the top-nine and looked out of place at times. Moving Backes to play third line center could have some benefits. He isn’t known to be the best skater, although he isn’t necessarily a bad one and he is 33-years-old. It looked difficult for him to keep up with the Bruins top-six forwards at times.

There are a good amount of guys that he could play realistically with on the third line, some more realistic than others. Those guys are Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen, Frank Vatrano, Matt Beleskey, Zachary Senyshyn, Peter Cehlarik, and Jake DeBrusk. The young guys on this list don’t necessarily need to play top-six minutes right away to succeed. Say the third line ends up consisting of Jake DeBrusk, David Backes, and Anders Bjork. That sounds like a well balanced third line. A veteran in his natural position in the middle with two young, hungry wingers with a lot of skill that he can make plays with.

Whoever doesn’t play on the third line will compete for spots on David Krejci’s wings, depending on whether David Pastrnak starts out playing with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron or not. If Pastrnak does play with Krejci to start, in this situation, a young player will have a golden opportunity to start out on the first line. That’s not bad considering that player will get to skate alongside a guy who made a great case for the Hart Trophy, Brad Marchand, and a four-time Selke Trophy winner, Patrice Bergeron.

There is the more unlikely option that they bring in a right-wing to play on the third line or in the top-six. Alex Chiasson and Thomas Vanek are two names that come to mind. At this point, it sounds like the direction the team is heading in is one revolving around youth, which isn’t bad.

Matt Beleskey may make sense as a guy who has similar speed to Backes. Beleskey seems very eager to get back to his old ways like we saw in the 2015-2016 season where he had a career-high 37 points. It would be difficult to do that being stuck on the fourth line, although the fourth line could be dangerous with Riley Nash and Noel Acciari likely holding down the center and right wing positions.

If Backes does, in fact, start on the third line, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, could play on the fourth line with Riley Nash, Noel Acciari or Sean Kuraly on his wings. If that’s not the case, some AHL seasoning for a bit would not be the worst thing for JFK. The NCAA and NHL games are very different.

There are so many possibilities for what kind of lineup the Boston Bruins will roll out to start the 2017-2018 season. These tough decisions will come to fruition once we hit camp season, as well as the preseason.


Bruins Vatrano’s Future With Bruins Up In Air

( Above Photo Credit: DobberProspects .com )

By: Jesse Jimenez

Follow me on Twitter: @Jessemedscience

It wasn’t too long ago that Frank Vatrano burst onto the scene. The East Longmeadow, Ma native took the AHL by storm after scorching the league with 36-goals in as just as many games for the Providence Bruins. Vatrano, 23,  signed with the Bruins as a free agent after preceding his senior year at UMass Amherst. His quick release and powerful shot are well documented. The natural scoring ability impressed the Bruins brass enough to bring the pure sniper into the fold.

Vatrano managed to get into 39-games during the 2015-2016 season, potting 8-goals and 11-points in a limited role. In hopes of building off his NHL experience the previous season, Vatrano worked hard during the off-season focusing mainly on his conditioning and foot-speed. However, before the start of the 2016-2017 campaign, the 23-year old suffered an unfortunate left foot injury that resulted in torn ligaments. Although he managed to score 10-goals in 44-games his play was quite inconsistent — Perhaps a result of having a late start to the season.


( Above Photo Credit:  nhl .com )

Despite his elite shot, Vatrano rarely was able to get in position to show it off. The inability to regularly find the open spots at the NHL level really hampered is offensive contribution to a team that was desperately looking for secondary scoring. The 2016-2017 season showed some glaring deficiencies in Vatrano’s game. The lack of puck-skills and vision in the offensive zone were pretty apparent at times where he would rush a shot instead of waiting out a defensemen or looking for second options. Puck management and keeping possession of the puck was also unimpressive attributes.

The lack of production and uninspired play could not have come at the worst time for Vatrano as fellow youngsters Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork look primed to challenge for an NHL job. There’s a LW vacancy on David Krejci’s line, one Vatrano clearly had the inside track on, but that in itself is now out of his control. Unfortunately, beyond the scoring prowess, there’s not much else to Vatrano’s game. Creativity is close to non-existent, and although he has decent speed, it takes him a while to reach full throttle.


( Above Photo Credit:  usahockey .com )

Due to so many prospects on the cusp of skating on NHL ice this year Vatrano’s time with the Bruins may be coming to an end. With the club looking for top-4 options it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the young left-winger as part of a package in a trade. At the end of the day, Vatrano is still only 23-years old, and most of his short-comings are areas that a coaching staff can help the youngster refine. Whether he sees his full potential blossom in Boston or in a different sweater remains to be seen.

Signing Off,

Jesse “The Dominican PuckHead”

-Stay Inspired

Boston Bruins Need To Buy Out Jimmy Hayes


The Boston Bruins should just cut their losses and buyout the contract of forward Jimmy Hayes.

The Boston Bruins traded for forward Jimmy Hayes back in 2015. At the time, it seemed like a good move for the Black and Gold. The B’s were trading Reilly Smith (who was having a rough hot-and-cold season) and the remainder of Marc Savard’s contract.

The Bruins were hoping for a 20-goal scorer that could use his physicality to shut down opposing teams.

The move had every catch phrase Bruins fans seem to love. Hayes was the ‘big bodied guy’ who could put pucks on the net.  That he was a Dorchester native was the icing on the cake. The B’s front office and the fans were hoping that the 6’5″ Hayes could fill in the hole left by Milan Lucic.

That didn’t happen. Not by a long shot.

Hayes didn’t live up to his billing and the fans weren’t happy.  When his name got linked (later proven to be false) as a reason why Jimmy Vesey chose the Rangers over Boston, it made matters worse.

Jimmy Hayes found himself getting pushed around on the ice these last two seasons. Smaller players like Matt Beleskey (last season) and Frank Vatrano (this season) were providing the physicality the Bruins needed.  While I can’t speak to the actual effort put forth by Hayes these last two seasons, the results are pretty damning for the former ‘Pride of Dorchester’.

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In all honesty, Hayes was the worst player on the ice for Boston this season. He only played 58 games for the B’s this season. He put up just five points (two goals) for the Bruins. By comparison, Noel Acciari put up the exact same numbers, and did it in half as many games.

This fight kind of sums up Hayes’ time in Boston.

Hayes spent extended periods as a healthy scratch. When Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julien, there were hopes the shake-up would provide motivation for players like Hayes. That didn’t happen. He spent more time guarding the popcorn machine on the ninth level than making plays on the ice.

Moving forward, the Bruins are going to need cap space. They’ve got to sign David Pastrnak to his first ‘real’ contract, and that will likely be in the high-five/low-six million range. The last thing they need is a two million dollar albatross weighing them down.

Boston could find a way to package Hayes as part of a multi-player deal. It’s unlikely though. Unless they can figure out a way to make that happen, the Bruins should just cut their losses and buyout Hayes.

This is how a buyout for Jimmy Hayes would work out:

  • Jimmy Hayes is 27 years old at the date of the buyout
  • Salary remaining: $2,600,000
  • The buyout ratio is 2/3, which results in a total buyout cost of $1,733,333
  • There are 1 years remaining on this contract
  • The buyout will be spread out over 2 years
  • The annual buyout cost is $866,667

On some level, I hate this idea. The Bruins would be essentially rewarding Hayes for being a terrible NHL player.  Still, his numbers don’t lie. He was the worst forward (and possibly overall player) for Boston last year.

Hayes could still be a decent NHL player, but he’ll need to do it somewhere else.

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The Surprise Of The VHS Line


By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

So far in the Bruce Cassidy era, we have seen a four-game win streak, high tempo offense, Tuukka Rask standing on his head, and chemistry between Jimmy Hayes, Ryan Spooner, and Frank Vatrano. They have only played together for four games, but it has Boston Bruins fans talking all over Causeway Street. It takes a lot for a Bruin’s fan this year to admit that Hayes is playing well and I’ve seen people stick up for him on the internet lately, instead of bashing him; it’s crazy I know. The line has garnered a nickname, which is the VHS line; great name by the way.

Cassidy changed up the first three forward lines as soon as he took over the coaching duties of the Bruins. He moved David Pastrnak to the second line with David Krejci and Peter Cehlarik, forming the Central Europe line, no one has been able to come up with a clever name yet. David Backes has moved up to the first line with Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand, fitting in well with their chemistry. The big surprise is when he brought Hayes down from the ninth floor and stuck him on a line with Spooner and Vatrano.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins

(Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports)

We all saw the lineup card before the game and were scratching our heads. Why is Hayes back in the lineup? We all asked. Apparently, Cassidy saw something we didn’t, the line has played better with every game they play together, and the familiarity builds between them. Spooner has struggled at times this year, and it seemed like no one could find where he fit in, besides the powerplay. In the three games since forming the VHS Line, Spooner has had one goal and two assists. He has been able to play center again, use his skating and passing skills to his advantage and scoring a goal to help his club. Vatrano has had two goals and two assists since being put on this line and has looked like one of the fastest skaters on the ice, every game. Hayes had had two assists in those four games and has been able to use his size in front of the net to generate scoring chances.


(Jeff Chiu – AP)

I feel the line has worked well so far because each player brings a different aspect that compliments the other. Vatrano has a great shot with blinding speed, Spooner has an uncanny vision on the ice with a finishing touch, and Hayes has that body presence we haven’t seen since Florida and the confidence that his line mates will get him the puck. We don’t know what the rest of the season will hold for the Bruins and this line, but one thing is for sure, it’s exciting to watch right now.