Boston Bruins season preview
Many changes have been made to the structure of the Boston Bruins lineup after their historic 2022-23 season, which ended in a massive playoff disappointment. It’s going to be very difficult to replicate an NHL record-setting regular season of 135 points (65-12-5), but the Bruins will battle their way back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the spring of ‘24. It won’t be easy in the Atlantic Division, but this team will compete like they always do.
The B’s made a ton of moves this offseason, especially to their group of forwards, as they said goodbye to legendary Patrice Bergeron. They also lost Taylor Hall, Tyler Bertuzzi, Nick Foligno, and Garnet Hathaway. So, it’s safe to say that the second-best offensive team in the NHL last season is going to look a little different upfront in 2023-24.
This will certainly not be the same team we saw last season, but the Bruins still have their two leading scorers from last season in David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. They can always be counted on to provide offense, but now that the Bruins have lost their top two centers, the middle of the ice is a concern for this team. The Bruins should be a middle-of-the-pack offensive team this season.
The 2022-23 season was an incredible defensive showing for the Boston Bruins. They were far and away the best team in their own end, only allowing 2.12 goals against per game, as well as finishing in the top 10 for high-danger chances against per 60 (11.54) and expected goals against per 60 (2.77).
The team lost Connor Clifton and Dmitry Orlov this summer, but they brought in tenured veteran Kevin Shattenkirk. I wouldn’t say they strengthened their blue line, but I also wouldn’t say that it got worse. I don’t think Boston will finish in the top three defensively again, but I do believe they will be strong in their own zone.
There is no denying the fact that the Bruins had the best goaltending tandem in the NHL last season and they will be back together again for the 2023-24 campaign. Linus Ullmark won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender, skating to an astounding record of 40-6-1 with a .938 save percentage and a 1.89 goals against average. He also finished with the second-best mark with +42.4 goals saved above expected. His backup (who is more like a 1B), Jeremy Swayman, earned 24 wins and boasted an eighth-best +24.0 goals saved above expected.
Their numbers from last season will be difficult to replicate, but the Bruins’ goaltending is the furthest thing from a concern.
Player To Watch – D Charlie McAvoy
McAvoy has been impressing hockey fans since he first set foot into the NHL back in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but this season is going to be different for him. With Bergeron retiring, McAvoy could potentially be named the captain of this Bruins team. He took on leadership responsibility early on in his career, and now he is the number one guy on the Boston blue line. He has put up back-to-back 50+ point seasons, and I truly feel that he has the potential to hit that 60+ point plateau. This will be a big year for McAvoy.
To me, the Bruins are without a doubt a playoff team. Are they a lock to finish in the top three of the division? I wouldn’t say so, but they will definitely get in. The Atlantic Division will be an absolute battle, but thanks to their goaltending the Bruins should be competing for a playoff spot.