Bruins 2021 Season Thread

cshea

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Camp opens on 1/3, games on 1/13. Neely talked today about the status of the team:

- Very delicate handling of the Chara question. It's a matter of role and what Chara is comfortable with. Says they are have some kids they are excited about at LHD that they do want to see play. He didn't name names, but Zboril is in that group. My read is they signaled to Chara that if he is back it would be in a much more reduced role, including not playing every night.

- That said, Neely was also asked about the trade market and UFA's and said they are exploring the trade market "a little bit" for defensive help.

- On the injury front, Marchand is back skating. Pastrnak is not, but Pasta is already in Boston so we won't have any quarantine shenanigans this time around. IIRC from the original release announcing the injuries, Marchand's timeline put him back around mid-January and Pastrnak was mid-February. There are no other injuries to report at this time.

- Not aware of any opt outs yet. 12/27 is the deadline for any Bruin player to do so. Kampfer opted out for the playoffs so I guess keep an eye on him. He seems like an ideal taxi squad candidate.

- Expects there to be a lot of lineup turnover this year with guys going in and out due to COVID. Neely didn't say this, but the taxi squad could actually be beneficial from a cap stand point. It could let the team carry an official roster at the minimum of 20 players on certain days to bank cap space. The 4-6 taxi squad guys still get to practice with the team and you can paper them up and down as needed. For example, if they want Vaakanainen and Studnicka on the team they could roster them on game days, then send them down to the taxi squad on days off and bank their cap space. The players would still get to practice with the team while "down."

- On the business side, they won't play outdoor games. It wasn't feasible without fans. They have plans in place for getting fans back into the Garden but obviously when that happens is out of their control.
 
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LogansDad

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Is it weird that I think that all three of the Bruins, Tampa and Toronto got helped quite a bit? I think they were the 3 best teams in the Eastern Conference and splitting them up could really work out in favor of all of them.

To focus on the Bruins, well, they avoid Tampa and Toronto (and Montreal, but they suck and F them). Yeah, Washington is in their division, but Holtby is gone and Ovechkin is a milliondy billion years old, though still a really good player.

Personally, assuming the kids (Debrusk, Bjork, Kase (using "kid" liberally here), Grz, Lauzon, Clifton) take even a small step forward, the Bruins can easily be a top 4 team in their division, even while allowing Pasta and Marchand to get back to full strength.

The Chara situation is worth watching. I don't want to see him in another jersey at this point, but does he really fit on the team in this time and place? I know he isn't the GOAT, but it is similar to Tom Brady to me, in that it isn't clear which path is best for him or for the team, and that's a pretty stressful position to be in for all parties involved.
 

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I'm really interested in seeing a full season of Kase. If he takes a step forward in his development, and stays healthy (two big ifs), that goes a long way to helping the Bruins mitigate the loss of Pasta for the first few weeks, and really lengthens the Bruins goal scoring depth.

Health, I think, more than anything is going to dictate this seasons outcome for the Bruins. The older guys (especially Bergeron and Krejci) are especially injury prone. Some of the younger kids we need to take a step up are injury prone. I could see this team winning the President's Cup again, or barely making the playoffs if health and progression don't play.
 

cshea

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I'm taking a stab at a very early training camp roster projections. It's 36 players and unlimited goalies.

Forwards

Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
DeBrusk - Krejci - Kase
Bjork - Coyle - Smith
Ritchie - Kuraly - Wagner

Lindholm, McKegg, Blidh, Carey, Frederic, Senyshyn, Studnicka, Hughes, Kuhlman, Lantosi

I don't think there will be a ton of competition here. Pasta will probably miss a month, so that'll free up a roster spot for someone. That could be an opening for Studnicka or Senyshyn to win an early opportunity. Studnicka seems like a taxi squad candidate to start the year until Providence gets started.

Defense

Grzelyck - McAvoy
Moore - Carlo
Zboril - Clifton
Lauzon - Miller
Vaakanainen, Kampfer?, Wolff, Ahcan, Berglund

That is all the signed D they have. Ahcan and Wolff were college UDFA signings this spring. I think there could be an invite or two here, maybe Cooper Zech who has an AHL deal with Providence. Or a vet like they did last year with Petrovic. here is going to be a lot of juggling here throughout camp and the season. The only thing I'm sure of is McAvoy is RD1 and Carlo is RD2, The other 4 spots are pretty much up for grabs. They probably carry 8 D to start and Vaakanainen goes to the taxi squad. He's exempt from waivers. They have 9 players who aren't so there will be some asset protection to consider. I put a question mark next to Kampfer because he opted out over the summer so I guess it's possible he opts out again.

Goalies

Rask
Halak
Booth
Vladar
Swayman

Pretty much the entire goalie depth chart with the exception of Kyle Keyser. I just noticed Keyser is currently playing in the ECHL. I think they'll probably just leave him there. Vladar is in the Czech league (.956 in 6 games), but I'm guessing he's on his way to Boston (along with Zboril). He's probably their 3rd goalie and in line to get the bulk of the work in Providence. Swayman has been idle and is beginning his first pro year. ECHL/Providence is likely for him. Booth is 23 but only has 14 games of AHL experience. I think he could be the taxi squad goalie for a short term emergency. The taxi squad goalie is required to travel with the NHL team so that could cause some juggling.
 

RedOctober3829

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Will they make any outside acquisitions other than a possible Chara deal before the season? Mike Hoffman is sitting out there without a job. Would he entertain a 1-year deal similar to what Duclair just took with Florida? Could open up some more cap room by trading Bjork.
 

cshea

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I think they are done at forward. There are question marks, but this is probably as deep a group as they've had in recent years.

Neely said yesterday they were exploring the market for defenseman "a little bit." Fluto wrote an article on The Athletic that quoted a league source saying the Bruins are likely exploring the trade market for a D before coming to a decision on Chara. There are 10 teams over the cap so maybe something shakes loose. But my overall impression is they're done altogether.
 

FL4WL3SS

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With Marchand and Pasta missing big portions of the start of the season, I don't think they have enough, unfortunately.

I don't see how this team makes the playoffs. Hope I'm wrong.
 

cshea

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With Marchand and Pasta missing big portions of the start of the season, I don't think they have enough, unfortunately.

I don't see how this team makes the playoffs. Hope I'm wrong.
Marchand may not miss a single game.

I think this regular season will be more of a challenge than they've had in recent years, but they still should be a playoff team.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I don't see how this team makes the playoffs. Hope I'm wrong.
This surprises me a bit- they cake walked their way to the President's trophy last season. Losing Krug hurts and having Marchy/Pasta at less than full capacity would make things harder, but I think it's pretty easy to see how this team makes the playoffs.
 

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I don’t think that they are a absolutely lock to make the playoffs, since it will be tougher given the depth of the division. Assuming Washington as a team that is definitely in and New Jersey and Buffalo as teams that are most likely out, that means two of the group of Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Rangers, and Islanders are missing the playoffs. That’s five good teams that should all be within 3-4 points of each other by seasons end. Personally I think that the Rangers aren’t quite there yet and Pittsburgh doesn’t have the depth or goaltending to beat the other three teams, but you could make an argument for any of those 5 teams winning the division, or finishing 6th.
 

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I don’t think that they are a absolutely lock to make the playoffs, but it will be tougher given the depth of the division. Assuming Washington as a team that is definitely in and New Jersey and Buffalo as teams that are most likely out, that means two of the group of Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Rangers, and Islanders are missing the playoffs. That’s five good teams that should all be within 3-4 points of each other by seasons end. Personally I think that the Rangers aren’t quite there yet and Pittsburgh doesn’t have the depth or goaltending to beat the other three teams, but you could make an argument for any of those 5 teams winning the division, or finishing 6th.
Who's their starting goaltender?

I'm not sold on Washington this year. Outside of C they have very little depth, and their record was better than their actual play last year. They could easily be on the outside looking in this year if Samsonov isn't great.
 

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Who's their starting goaltender?

I'm not sold on Washington this year. Outside of C they have very little depth, and their record was better than their actual play last year. They could easily be on the outside looking in this year if Samsonov isn't great.
I honestly forgot that Lundqvist is opting out. So yeah I agree, Washington has a big question mark in net as well. My overall point though is that two pretty good teams are going to miss the playoffs out of this division.
 

RedOctober3829

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I think they're a playoff team, but will be in a fight to make it there because of the depth of the division they are in. I think it's 6 teams for 4 spots(Boston, Washington, Philly, Pittsburgh, NYI, and NYR) as most have already said. That is why I was wondering if they should add to their roster to mitigate Pasta's absence. They can't afford to get off to a slow start.
 

cshea

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Washington- Samsonov is better than Holtby, but it's his first year as a starter so there is some unknown and they don't have reliable backups. They looked bad over the summer but were on pace to be a 100 point team pre-shutdown. Largely returning the same team, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Pittsburgh- Sid and Geno, full year of Zucker and also added Kapanen so their forward depth is better. Defense and goalies can be shaky. Had 86 points at shutdown last year despite missing Sid and Geno for long stretches. Did get dusted by the Habs in the summer.

Philly- I think they are the Bruins biggest challenge in this division. They finally have a goalie. They are deep up front and have a versatile blue line. The Couturier line is pretty much the only line in hockey that has given the Bergeron line fits over the past few seasons.

NYI- Coming off an ECF appearance,. Certainly the hottest team over the summer. They don't worry me too much head-to-head. They play a similar brand of hockey as the Bruins but the Bruins have more high end talent. In recent years, the Bruins are to the Islanders what the Capitals are to the Bruins. Not quite as extreme, but the B's are like 10-2-1 or something against them.

NYR- They are up and coming. 79 points at the shutdown and were likely going to fade away before COVID struck and gave them new life. That didn't last long as they were dusted by Carolina in RTP. Still, they've got an MVP caliber player leading the way with Panarin plus back to back top 3 draft picks with Kaako and Lafreniere. They may still be a bit too young and raw but they hung in there last season and some marginal improvements from the kids and they could challenge for a spot. I think losing Lundqvist helps. Shesterkin and Georgiev are both better than he was and they won't have the pressure to play their aging legend.

Buffalo- They added Hall, Eric Staal and Cody Eakin over the summer so they have better forwards. Defense and goaltending are problems. I think they'll fade away but I could also see them as a 2013 Toronto Maple Leafs type team. Short season could see a team ride a PDO bender to a playoff spot. Buffalo seems like candidate for that.

New Jersey- I don't see them staying in the race for long. They're best chance is Hughes and Hischier becoming the East's McDavid and Draisaitl but that seems unlikely and they have very little talent around them.

The Bruins should still get in, but this is a much deeper division than the one we are coming from. The top 5 should theoretically be Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh, Washington, NYI. One of those will miss the playoffs and that's assuming the Rangers remain flat/step back. Also, as I mentioned with Buffalo, short season tends to mean weird shit happens. There will probably be a team that makes the playoffs somewhere that has no business being there, like Toronto and Colorado in 2013.
 

FL4WL3SS

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Marchand may not miss a single game.

I think this regular season will be more of a challenge than they've had in recent years, but they still should be a playoff team.
Will he be back at full strength though? It's going to be tough happenings without that first line producing from the jump.

This surprises me a bit- they cake walked their way to the President's trophy last season. Losing Krug hurts and having Marchy/Pasta at less than full capacity would make things harder, but I think it's pretty easy to see how this team makes the playoffs.
From my perspective, the defense is going to be a huge problem. I'm not sure how it unfolds, but I'm probably being a bit pessimistic.

With the shortened season, the question marks on defense, and the loss of Pasta (and potentially Marchand), it'll be at least a rough start to the season which may be too much to overcome.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Will he be back at full strength though? It's going to be tough happenings without that first line producing from the jump.


From my perspective, the defense is going to be a huge problem. I'm not sure how it unfolds, but I'm probably being a bit pessimistic.

With the shortened season, the question marks on defense, and the loss of Pasta (and potentially Marchand), it'll be at least a rough start to the season which may be too much to overcome.
I can see that, although I’m higher on the D than you.

I also see the best goalie tandem in the league, a legit #1 defenseman to anchor the back line, excellent center depth, and (hopefully?) finally some depth and quality on the wings.
It’ll be a tough year, but I think there’s a lot of good parts going- and the knowledge that this is likely the last run for this group as constituted...

edit: the shortened season and need for a good start is a great point though
 

cshea

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I assume Marchand will be at full strength, but we'll have to wait until camp opens in 10 days to get a better idea of his progress. All I know is he's been skating and the original time frame put him at returning to the lineup in mid-January. That lines up with the start of the season so based on that information, he should be ready to go or very close to it. Pasta is obviously out longer term, mid-February was his original time frame. Missing a month in a 56 game season is not good. I do think they have options though. When he missed 16 games 2-years ago, they went 12-3-1 with Danton Heinen skating in his place. I'm not trying to suggest Pastrnak is replaceable, because he's not, but they've been without him before with less depth and survived it OK. The RW depth is improved with Kase, Smith and maybe even Studnicka getting a look. If Marchand's injury lingers a few weeks, then yeah, that's a problem.

The defense is certainly more of a concern. McAvoy is a top 5 defenseman in the league, so they can lean on him. Carlo will eat defensive minutes. We know Grzelyck can play but he's going to get a larger role so time will tell if he can handle it. After that there are 5-6 guys for 3 spots. Sorting through that in a short, compressed schedule isn't ideal, but if one of the kids (Zboril, Vaakanainen) emerges I think they'll survive OK.
 

FL4WL3SS

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I assume Marchand will be at full strength, but we'll have to wait until camp opens in 10 days to get a better idea of his progress. All I know is he's been skating and the original time frame put him at returning to the lineup in mid-January. That lines up with the start of the season so based on that information, he should be ready to go or very close to it. Pasta is obviously out longer term, mid-February was his original time frame. Missing a month in a 56 game season is not good. I do think they have options though. When he missed 16 games 2-years ago, they went 12-3-1 with Danton Heinen skating in his place. I'm not trying to suggest Pastrnak is replaceable, because he's not, but they've been without him before with less depth and survived it OK. The RW depth is improved with Kase, Smith and maybe even Studnicka getting a look. If Marchand's injury lingers a few weeks, then yeah, that's a problem.

The defense is certainly more of a concern. McAvoy is a top 5 defenseman in the league, so they can lean on him. Carlo will eat defensive minutes. We know Grzelyck can play but he's going to get a larger role so time will tell if he can handle it. After that there are 5-6 guys for 3 spots. Sorting through that in a short, compressed schedule isn't ideal, but if one of the kids (Zboril, Vaakanainen) emerges I think they'll survive OK.
All fair points, there's just zero margin for error this season. If there are any opt-outs, injuries, or god forbid games lost to Covid infection, then I don't think they can withstand any or all of that.

Having said that, I think there is a great opportunity for some of the younger players to take a big step forward. If that happens, they may be in better shape than I'm thinking.
 

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Washington- Samsonov is better than Holtby, but it's his first year as a starter so there is some unknown and they don't have reliable backups. They looked bad over the summer but were on pace to be a 100 point team pre-shutdown. Largely returning the same team, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Dude has 26 career NHL games. Was he better than Holtby last year? Sure - but that was a fucking WEIRD season and Anton Khudobin almost won a Stanley Cup. He also had an .898 sv% in the AHL in 37 games the year prior.
 

cshea

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Dude has 26 career NHL games. Was he better than Holtby last year? Sure - but that was a fucking WEIRD season and Anton Khudobin almost won a Stanley Cup. He also had an .898 sv% in the AHL in 37 games the year prior.
He also posted a .925+ save percentage in 73 KHL games as a junior aged player playing in the 2nd best league in the world. He's only 23, the .898 AHL season isn't great but he was also a 21 year old kid playing his first season in North America. FWIW, Rask's first year in Providence he only posted a .905 which is marginally better. Carter Hart only needed 18 games at .902 in the AHL before getting handed the reins in Philly and being a solid starter. Goalies are weird and projecting the future with them is very difficult, but I think Samsonov, while still unproven, is more likely to be good than bad.
 

RedOctober3829

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Bruins open up with back to back games in New Jersey on 1/14 and 1/16 followed by 1/18 at the Islanders. I like how they are doing multiple game trips at the same location.

Rest of schedule
Jan 21 and 23 vs. Philly
Jan 26 and 28 vs Pittsburgh
Jan 30 and Feb 1 at Washington

Feb 3 and 5 at Philly
Feb 6 and 8 vs. Buffalo
Feb 10 and 12 at Rangers
Feb 13 at Islanders
Feb 15 and 18 vs. NJ
Feb 21 vs. Philly
Feb 25 at Islanders
Feb 26 and 28 at Rangers

March 3 and 5 vs. Washington
March 6 vs Philly
March 9 at Islanders
March 11 and 13 vs. Rangers
March 15 and 16 at Pittsburgh
March 18 and 20 at Buffalo
March 25 and 27 vs. Islanders
March 28 and 30 vs. NJ

April 1 and 3 vs. Pittsburgh
April 5 and 6 at Philly
April 8 and 11 at Washington
April 13 and 16 vs. Islanders
April 18 and 20 vs. Washington
April 22 and 23 at Buffalo
April 25 and 27 at Pittsburgh
April 29 and May 1 vs. Buffalo

May 3 and 4 at NJ
May 6 and 8 vs. Rangers
 
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AMcGhie

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I'd give 50-50 odds the divisions and this model stay next season. I think the all-Canadian division is going to have a positive effect on revenue there to the point where they have to consdier keeping it. I also think the reduced travel costs from the play-2 model will also represent savings that they have to consider keeping.
 

FL4WL3SS

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I'd give 50-50 odds the divisions and this model stay next season. I think the all-Canadian division is going to have a positive effect on revenue there to the point where they have to consdier keeping it. I also think the reduced travel costs from the play-2 model will also represent savings that they have to consider keeping.
The cross country travel for the Canadian teams will be brutal long term.
 

Salem's Lot

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I'd give 50-50 odds the divisions and this model stay next season. I think the all-Canadian division is going to have a positive effect on revenue there to the point where they have to consdier keeping it. I also think the reduced travel costs from the play-2 model will also represent savings that they have to consider keeping.
FWIW the league wanted to go to this approach before the last CBA but the players didn’t want it without a 32nd team. All Canada division would be out since they’d need one US team in it.

I am a big fan of the 2 game sets. Nobody wants to lose two in a row to the same team and the intensity should pick up as a result.
 

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cshea

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I can see the faces of only two other players in that video. One is almost definitely Senyshyn (white shirt) and the other (black shirt) is a left-handed shot -- gun to my head, I'd say it's Grzelcyk.
Incomplete roster from today:

F: Bjork, Smith, Kase, Lindholm, Coyle, DeBrusk, Wagner, Krejci

D: Vaakanainen, Zboril, Lauzon

G: Vladar

I know McAvoy, Grzelyck and Rask have been spotted at Warrior over the last few days too. Think I heard Senyshyn and Frederic at some point as well.

Good to have some over the overseas guys back and through their mandatory quarantine’s without issue. Last thing we need is another debacle of a camp like they had in July.
 

Ale Xander

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FWIW the league wanted to go to this approach before the last CBA but the players didn’t want it without a 32nd team. All Canada division would be out since they’d need one US team in it.

I am a big fan of the 2 game sets. Nobody wants to lose two in a row to the same team and the intensity should pick up as a result.
Any possibility of expanding to either Hamilton or QC for an 8th/32nd team?
 

kenneycb

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Which team would we be most willing to gift to Canada? I’d probably go with the Wild as they’re arguably the most non-descript franchise with no history of note and no benefits like nice weather for Arizona. Plus they’re basically in Canada anyways.
 

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It’s clearly Buffalo.
Absolutely Buffalo. I remember reading that when they were in the finals in the late 90’s that half of their season ticket base lived on the other side of the border. I think they play both anthems no matter who the opponent is at home.
 

cshea

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Absolutely Buffalo. I remember reading that when they were in the finals in the late 90’s that half of their season ticket base lived on the other side of the border. I think they play both anthems no matter who the opponent is at home.
They do.
 

cshea

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On defense, Sweeney says it'll be a group effort to replace what's left. There will be a lot of "trial and error and a "by committee" approach.

That's what terrifies me in a compressed, short season. By the time they figure it out, the season could be over.
 

FL4WL3SS

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On defense, Sweeney says it'll be a group effort to replace what's left. There will be a lot of "trial and error and a "by committee" approach.

That's what terrifies me in a compressed, short season. By the time they figure it out, the season could be over.
This is also my worry. I'm probably overly pessimistic about the team, but I think the defense has a real shot at torpedoing the season.

Good news on Marchand and Pasta though. Hopefully they are close to 100% when they play.

I wonder when they will announce Bergeron as captain. This is something I've been anticipating for a decade. It'll be exciting when it happens.
 

RedOctober3829

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On defense, Sweeney says it'll be a group effort to replace what's left. There will be a lot of "trial and error and a "by committee" approach.

That's what terrifies me in a compressed, short season. By the time they figure it out, the season could be over.
Looks they’re just taking the reset approach to 2021 with the short season and they’ll live with whatever the results are. After the season they have a ton of cap room to remake the roster.
 

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This is also my worry. I'm probably overly pessimistic about the team, but I think the defense has a real shot at torpedoing the season.

Good news on Marchand and Pasta though. Hopefully they are close to 100% when they play.

I wonder when they will announce Bergeron as captain. This is something I've been anticipating for a decade. It'll be exciting when it happens.
Presumably at the first home game, though without fans, maybe it ends up being a press conference moment.

Who takes the second A in his place? Gotta be McAvoy, no? Bergeron got the A in his 3rd season. This will be McAvoy's fourth.