Bruins 2021 Season Thread

cshea

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Dom's preview is out at The Athletic. Heavy on the analytics, but I think he does the best previews out there, even if he hates our guts.

https://theathletic.com/2296668/2021/01/06/boston-bruins-2020-21-season-preview/
He has them as the favorite in the MassMutual East and the 3rd best team overall. He hasn't released all teams yet, but I'd imagine Tampa and Colorado are the 2 teams ahead of them. Maybe Vegas instead of Colorado.

He made an interesting comparison. He compares the Bruins roster construction to that of the 18/19 Toronto Maple Leafs. Elite forwards, 2 good defensemen. He has the Bruins forwards as better than the Toronto group and McAvoy/Grzelyck better than Reilly/Gardiner, but I think it's an apt comparison. That Leafs team ended up with 100 points and obviously the Bruins knocked them out of the playoffs. The Leafs added Muzzin during the year that season so if the Bruins find their Muzzin, it could be game over.
 

cshea

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Scrimmage coming tomorrow and Friday. Two 30-minute running clock periods with the ice cleaned in between. Each of the 4 goalies will play a period. I think it won't be a straight up scrimmage, they'll probably manufacture situational play. Hope the team streams it or something.

Kinda wild the regular season starts in 8 days.
 

FL4WL3SS

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Scrimmage coming tomorrow and Friday. Two 30-minute running clock periods with the ice cleaned in between. Each of the 4 goalies will play a period. I think it won't be a straight up scrimmage, they'll probably manufacture situational play. Hope the team streams it or something.

Kinda wild the regular season starts in 8 days.
This is the first season I'm excited for since Covid started. I didn't watch much of the Sox, Bruins, Celtics shortened seasons. My interest in sports during the pandemic has been pretty non-existent.
 

cshea

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No streaming. Looks like hte teams are

Bjork - Bergeron - Studnicka
Frederic - Kuraly - Wagner
Carey - Lindholm - Senyshyn

Lauzon - McAvoy
Zboril - Miller
Ahcan - Kampfer

Rask
Vladar

versus

DeBrusk - Krejci - Kase
Ritchie - Coyle - Smith
Hughes - McKegg - Lantosi

Grzelyck - Carlo
Moore - Clifton
Vaakanainen - Wolff

Halak
Swayman
 

cshea

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Are you confusing him with Montreal's Josh Anderson, the forward? This Josh Anderson doesn't have a career to revive. He's and ECHL defenseman.
 

BostonFanInCanesLand

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If Ritchie isn't the breathing trash can he was last season that third line has a chance to be a really serious weapon. Dom has them as the best 3rd line in hockey already based on Coyle and Smith. If Richie can actually skate and not take a penalty per shift, they could be a difference maker.
They seem committed to giving Ritchie a shot - hope he capitalizes on the opportunity.

I’d like them to try a 4th line of Frederic/Kuraly/Bjork.

View: https://twitter.com/_TyAnderson/status/1347217019054272514
 

LogansDad

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I saw flashed from Ritchie last year that made him look like a competent player, which is more than can be said for the previous one. If he can find some consistency, that would be nice.
 

TheRealness

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I saw flashed from Ritchie last year that made him look like a competent player, which is more than can be said for the previous one. If he can find some consistency, that would be nice.
I don't meant to be as flippant as I was upthread about his conditioning, but any sign he is in better shape? The guy has skills, but his motor, speed and consistency were all major question marks. I am quite curious as I feel if he gets in better shape, he could be a real force on that line.
 

joe dokes

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No streaming. Looks like hte teams are

Bjork - Bergeron - Studnicka
Frederic - Kuraly - Wagner
Carey - Lindholm - Senyshyn

Lauzon - McAvoy
Zboril - Miller
Ahcan - Kampfer

Rask
Vladar

versus

DeBrusk - Krejci - Kase
Ritchie - Coyle - Smith
Hughes - McKegg - Lantosi

Grzelyck - Carlo
Moore - Clifton
Vaakanainen - Wolff

Halak
Swayman
I am really pulling for Miller. I liked him a lot when he played and thought he was still improving, even at a relatively advanced age. Now, even though they can really use him, just being an NHL player gain is a victory I'd like to see.
 

TheRealness

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I am really pulling for Miller. I liked him a lot when he played and thought he was still improving, even at a relatively advanced age. Now, even though they can really use him, just being an NHL player gain is a victory I'd like to see.
I would guess Miller and Clifton split time at the 3rd pair RD. Miller against heavier opponents, and Clifton against faster ones. Assuming health for both of course.
 

cshea

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I don't meant to be as flippant as I was upthread about his conditioning, but any sign he is in better shape? The guy has skills, but his motor, speed and consistency were all major question marks. I am quite curious as I feel if he gets in better shape, he could be a real force on that line.
I think Ritchie gets unfairly ragged on. He was traded here from Anaheim, played 7 games and then the shutdown occurred. After the shutdown, similar to Kase and Pasta. he missed multiple practices at both Warrior and then in the bubble. He may not have ever been 100% in the summer Let's see how he looks after he's more settled in.

I don't think he was great but I also don't think he was the disaster many believe he was. I think going through the Brett Ritchie experience clouded judgement on Nick.
 

burstnbloom

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I think Ritchie gets unfairly ragged on. He was traded here from Anaheim, played 7 games and then the shutdown occurred. After the shutdown, similar to Kase and Pasta. he missed multiple practices at both Warrior and then in the bubble. He may not have ever been 100% in the summer Let's see how he looks after he's more settled in.

I don't think he was great but I also don't think he was the disaster many believe he was. I think going through the Brett Ritchie experience clouded judgement on Nick.
I don't know if that's true. Richie was visibly slow and behind the play in the small sample size and you can forgive that but he took SO MANY penalties as a result of his type of play. If that was a one off, no big deal, but that's been his MO as an NHL player. He has to be quite a bit better than he was to be useful. He's getting put into a position to succeed with two strong puck possession players who generate a lot of chances. He has the talent to make a difference, but he needs to play markedly better than he did last year.
 

cshea

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Down to a main group in practice. Sure looks like the opening night lineup and roster.

Marchand - Bergeron - Studnicka
DeBrusk - Krejci - Kase
Ritchie - Coyle - Smith
Bjork - Kuraly - Wagner
Lindholm, Frederic

Lauzon - McAvoy
Grzelyck - Carlo
Zboril - Miller
Moore - Clifton

Rask
Halak
 

Haunted

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I'm a little nervous about the defense but even without Pasta that is a solid forward list.
 

Ferm Sheller

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I'm really interested in seeing whether Miller can stick as a top 6 Dman. He's 33 and hasn't played in two years.
 

cshea

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Rosters are due tomorrow evening so today will be waivers day. Bruins will likely waive:

Gregg McKegg
Zach Senyshyn
Steven Kampfer
Paul Carey
Anton Blidh*

* Blidh hasn't been on the ice yet as far as I can tell. Probably a testing/travel quarantine issue. Not sure if this means he will end up on IR.

I think all 5 of those guys, plus Vaakanainen, will make up the taxi squad. While he noted that the main group that practiced yesterday was likely the full roster, he did leave the door open for Vaakanainen to make the team. That means they'd either carry 9 D to start or waive John Moore.
 

burstnbloom

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I'm a little nervous about the defense but even without Pasta that is a solid forward list.
Agreed. Forwards are one of the deepest, most talented groups in the NHL. They have some ground to make up to cover for the back end though. McAvoy is elite. Gryz was elite in his sheltered role, one hopes he can still be above average with more opportunity. The rest are a bit of a question mark. Carlo suppresses offense but hes the human embodiment of the pre lockout devils. No one scores when he's on the ice. Neither team.

I think McAvoy can carry Lauzon and Gryz will be able to spread his wings a little with a super conservative partner but I do think you need more than they have to win a cup.

edit - also, Senyshyn is going on waivers and most likely won't get claimed. very sad.
 

joe dokes

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I'm really interested in seeing whether Miller can stick as a top 6 Dman. He's 33 and hasn't played in two years.
I am pessimistic as to a full time role. But as for opening night, even without fans, Cassidy is doing him a solid to play him even if he can only give them 10 semi-competent minutes.
 

cshea

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edit - also, Senyshyn is going on waivers and most likely won't get claimed. very sad.
His chance was last season and he blew it. Not that his AHL resume suggested he was going to take a leap, but they entered camp with a RW depth chart of Pastrnak, Backes, Brett Ritchie, Wagner. Couldn't break through that group of luminaries.He then got called up early in the year and had his opportunity...and blew it. He played well in game 1...then got hurt in the 2nd game and that's probably all she wrote. RW is now a strength of the team with the additions of Kase and Smith plus Studnicka's temporary positional switch to RW. It'll probably take a catastrophic run of injuries for him to see time in Boston. Even on the 4th line he's behind Wagner, Bjork, McKegg as guys who can play RW.

Oh well. It is what it is at this point. Maybe Zboril will end up being something.
 

burstnbloom

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His chance was last season and he blew it. Not that his AHL resume suggested he was going to take a leap, but they entered camp with a RW depth chart of Pastrnak, Backes, Brett Ritchie, Wagner. Couldn't break through that group of luminaries.He then got called up early in the year and had his opportunity...and blew it. He played well in game 1...then got hurt in the 2nd game and that's probably all she wrote. RW is now a strength of the team with the additions of Kase and Smith plus Studnicka's temporary positional switch to RW. It'll probably take a catastrophic run of injuries for him to see time in Boston. Even on the 4th line he's behind Wagner, Bjork, McKegg as guys who can play RW.

Oh well. It is what it is at this point. Maybe Zboril will end up being something.
Agreed and at this point its a sunk cost that we have all accepted. Too bad, you can dream on the frame and the speed but he never put it together.
 

Salem's Lot

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I'm sure many teams are doing this, but the Bruins are trying to keep Rask and Halak as far away from each other as possible.

View: https://twitter.com/ConorRyan_93/status/1348709300068347913?s=20
Well the creases are 200’ apart at practice aren’t they?

All kidding aside, I’m glad Bruce and the organization as a whole are being proactive about avoiding possible Covid outbreak scenarios. Being able to play more games on time with as full a roster as possible might be the difference between making the playoffs or not in a tough division like this.
 

cshea

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Perused the lengthy list of players on waivers to see if anything jumped out that the Bruins might be interested in. Doesn't really look like it. Only 2 names really stood out, Nick Holden and Oliver Kylington. The only reason Holden jumped out is because he's a veteran LHD with some experience with the Bruins (deadline pick up in 17/18). He's signed for another year after this so I think that rules him out. That and he stinks.

Kylington would be more of a wild card. He's a 23-year old LHD that was drafted in the 2nd round in 2015, same class as Zboril, Lauzon, Carlo. He's played 85 games for Calgary so he's got some experience under his belt. I admittedly haven't watched a ton of Calgary over the years so I don't know too much about him. He's put up 5-10=15 in 87 career games. The analytics on him don't look great, but they're also not truly horrible. The cap hit is negligible, $787,500 so it might be worth it to add another young player into the mix on defense. The only real downside is you have to keep him on the NHL roster, they can't pick him up and then try to stash him in the AHL. The Bruins are also last in waiver priority (last years standings) so I don't think he'll get through to them, and it's probably a red flag if he did. I would think some defense needy team (Ottawa, Detroit) would be jump on him as a flier for free.
 

cshea

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All 5 Bruins on waivers yesterday cleared. Those 5 plus Vaakanainen make up the skaters portion of the t axi squad in all likelyhood.
 

cshea

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Sweeney giving some updates today:

- Marchand will return to practice tomorrow and is good to go for Thursday. He got dinged during one of the scrimmages over the weekend.

- No firm timetable on his return, but the expectation is that Pastrnak will start integrating with the main practice group when they return from the road trip (so next week).

- They will probably carry a 27-28 man roster including the taxi squad (max is 29).

I think they need to make 1 more cut from the main group i posted a few days ago. I think that was 24, so someone's gotta go. They could paper Studnicka down until Thursday and figure it out then, or IR Marchand or Miller. In any event though they'll need to waive one more player in the next few days.
 

jk333

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This year will be be all about how the young defenseman perform. McAvoy as the 1, Gryz as the 2, Carlo as the 3 and whoever performs best as the 4.

If all the young guys flop, has anyone seen Yandle play lately? He’s expensive but could maybe be subsidized and fill that role out.
 

BostonFanInCanesLand

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Today’s practice lines:

Marchand – Bergeron – Studnicka
DeBrusk – Krejci – Kase
Ritchie – Coyle – Smith
Bjork – Kuraly – Wagner
Lindholm/Frederic

Lauzon - McAvoy
Grzelcyk – Carlo
Zboril – Miller
Moore – Clifton

Rask
Halak
Vladar

Frederic and Vladar to the taxi squad would get the team to 13/8/2 (23 man roster).

Cap Friendly currently lists the taxi squad as Frederic, Vaak, Studnicka, McKegg, and Vladar.

(Cap Friendly also has Kuhlman as the 12th forward and Miller, Marchand and Pasta still on the IR. So clearly some updates coming before Thursday’s game.)

View: https://twitter.com/NHLBruins/status/1349392516798435336


https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/bruins
 

cshea

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They put Lindholm on waivers today. They'll either assign him to the taxi squad or IR/demote Kuhlman to get to the 23-man roster for tomorrow. The season opening roster is 21, subtracting Lindholm or Kuhlman gets them to 20 and they can then activate Marchand, Miller and call up Studnicka. Won't do much cap wise, so $3 million in current space which should accrue to $13 million by deadline day. They are thin on assets and prospects to trade but the cap situation is pretty ideal for adding anyone they want.

Also, PP wise, when Pasta gets back I think it could be Krejci that gets bumped to PP2, not Coyle. Usually the formation they use is Grzelyck up high, Pasta and Marchand on the half wall, Bergy in the bumper and Coyle as net front. So Krejci is the Pasta replacement on PP1. They like having guys like DeBrusk and Coyle as net front because they can bang in front and go into the corners for puck retrieval. That said, in the bubble, they did have success with Krug, Krejci, Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergy on PPI with Marchand moving to net front.
 

TSC

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Some quick thoughts on last nights game.

1.) Miller did not look like someone who hadn't played a game in 2 years. He was physical, he was decisive, he looked like he did before he got injured. A lot of that could have been adrenaline, but if his play (somehow, miraculously) didn't drop off - that's a huge huge win for the Bruins.

2.) Zboril also looked good. He kept his game very simple, but I also didn't see a lot of panic or unforced errors.

3.) If Bjork ever finds a way to turn his 3-4 amazing shifts a game into a more consistent effort, he could be a really really good second line NHL player. Like others have mentioned, the consistency just isn't there shift to shift, yet.

4.) TUUUUUUUUUUUUKKKKK

5.) Studnicka does not seem to have much chemistry, yet, on the Perfection Line. It seemed like Marchand was spending a lot of time coaching him before puck drops/after whistles.
 

burstnbloom

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Some quick thoughts on last nights game.

1.) Miller did not look like someone who hadn't played a game in 2 years. He was physical, he was decisive, he looked like he did before he got injured. A lot of that could have been adrenaline, but if his play (somehow, miraculously) didn't drop off - that's a huge huge win for the Bruins.

2.) Zboril also looked good. He kept his game very simple, but I also didn't see a lot of panic or unforced errors.

3.) If Bjork ever finds a way to turn his 3-4 amazing shifts a game into a more consistent effort, he could be a really really good second line NHL player. Like others have mentioned, the consistency just isn't there shift to shift, yet.

4.) TUUUUUUUUUUUUKKKKK

5.) Studnicka does not seem to have much chemistry, yet, on the Perfection Line. It seemed like Marchand was spending a lot of time coaching him before puck drops/after whistles.
Good thoughts. I was very happy with Zboril. He definitely looks like he's taken a step forward. You can dream on the skill set. He is a really great skater, plays physical and is a really good passer. The decision making and inconsistent effort problems have dogged him in his pro career but if he turns the corner, that will be huge.

I thought Lauzon had a tough game. Everything is so max effort for him that he sometimes look like he's teetering on the edge of disaster. He has a very tough job playing with Mac and its one game but I'm a little nervous.

Gryz had a really great game. 70% on ice scoring chances with him on the ice. I'm really rooting for him.

Bjork and Frederic don't want to sit. Stud needs to show up on Saturday or Bjork is going to end up in that spot.

Ritchie looked much better. He's clearly in better shape.

Tuukka is still pretty pretty pretty good.

Hockey!
 

IdiotKicker

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Kase is going to frustrate the hell out of me this year. He’s so talented in actually getting into good shooting spots, whether through off the puck movement or B-side-Krejci hands and change of speed, but I wonder if he’s someone who just lacks that ability to finish. I know he has only played over 60 games once in his career, but the lack of results in terms of scoring in his career worry me a bit. I wonder at what point we end up having to accept that this is what he is, rather than seeing the potential for someone who could be a 25-30 goal scorer. He does all the hard work of getting himself great looks, but just can’t put them in the net. His ability to score and offset some of the streakiness of DeBrusk on the second line is key to a more balanced attack this year, so I think this is a big one to watch.
 

burstnbloom

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Kase is going to frustrate the hell out of me this year. He’s so talented in actually getting into good shooting spots, whether through off the puck movement or B-side-Krejci hands and change of speed, but I wonder if he’s someone who just lacks that ability to finish. I know he has only played over 60 games once in his career, but the lack of results in terms of scoring in his career worry me a bit. I wonder at what point we end up having to accept that this is what he is, rather than seeing the potential for someone who could be a 25-30 goal scorer. He does all the hard work of getting himself great looks, but just can’t put them in the net. His ability to score and offset some of the streakiness of DeBrusk on the second line is key to a more balanced attack this year, so I think this is a big one to watch.
I understand this. He gets the puck on his stick in dangerous places CONSTANTLY and he has yet to score. It's crazy. I take solace in the fact that he scored on 12.6% of his shots in his career before last year, where that dropped to 4.9%. It's much more likely that he's just snakebitten and it'll revert to something closer to average than he just can't score anymore. Until he does though, it's going to be annoying.
 

cshea

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He's a tough player to evaluate due to his injury history and quality of line mates in Anaheim. he finsished at an above average rate in Anaheim, shooting 12.6% until last year. Another data point that suggests he can finish is he's 7 for 15 in shootouts in his career. He's got a set of hands and skill. Shooting percentage can run hot and cold and we're dealing with a very small sample size. He's been here for 10 months but he's only played 12 games. He's still settling in a little.

My biggest concern with Kase is his healthy. When healthy, he always posts very strong analytics. If he keeps doing that, the goals will come.
 
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cshea

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Other observiations:

- Lauzon wasn't good. The Bruins were out attempted, out shot, out chanced when he was on the ice and he was also on for both goals against. The 2nd goal was fluky of course, but that's kind of why you want to be north of 50% in the possession metrics. If you're in your own en,d more often than not, the fluky shit is going to go against you instead of for you. It's only one game, not ready to write him off, but it bears some watching.

On the other hand, I like Zboril's game. I don't watch Providence so I didn't really know a ton about him. Looks he he's a good skater. I thought he made smart and simple decisions with the puck. As he gains experience and gets more comfortable in the league, I think we'll see him start taking more chances like pinching down the wall and jumping up into the rush. I think his took kit might make him a better partner for McAvoy down the road this year than Lauzon. Cassidy had him on the ice in OT which is a sign of trust (although it didn't go so well).

Studnicka and the first line had a rough game. Not too concerned long term, but Jack could be in the press box tomorrow if Smith's ready to go.

Frederic was outstanding. I'd leave the 4th line alone, they had one of their best games in a long long time last night. I don't think Freddy will ever produce much offense, but he could fill the Kuraly role going forward if/when Kuraly leaves as a UFA.
 

cshea

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This was brought up in the news thread, but the Panthers are sitting Keith Yandle out and are seeking a trade. LeBrun says the Bruins did discuss it with the Panthers in December but it doesn't seem to have gotten very far.

https://theathletic.com/2324216/2021/01/14/yandle-panthers-season-trade-nhl-lebrun/
It's a little unclear exactly what is going on here. It seems the Panthers are done with him and aren't going to play him. No reason has been given other than Yandle's agent saying it's not performance related. In any event, Lebrun reports that there is speculation that the Bruins and Panthers talked about a trade in December. Yandle is from Mass so the assumption is that he would waive.

I guess it is a situation worth watching. Large ticket left though, 3-years $6.35 AAV. He'd fit in a Krug-type role. He's among the best PP QB's. I don't like the contract but if Florida retained and took back Moore it may be feasible. I'd like to get more of a sample on the kids before dipping back into the trade market though.
 

burstnbloom

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This was brought up in the news thread, but the Panthers are sitting Keith Yandle out and are seeking a trade. LeBrun says the Bruins did discuss it with the Panthers in December but it doesn't seem to have gotten very far.

https://theathletic.com/2324216/2021/01/14/yandle-panthers-season-trade-nhl-lebrun/
It's a little unclear exactly what is going on here. It seems the Panthers are done with him and aren't going to play him. No reason has been given other than Yandle's agent saying it's not performance related. In any event, Lebrun reports that there is speculation that the Bruins and Panthers talked about a trade in December. Yandle is from Mass so the assumption is that he would waive.

I guess it is a situation worth watching. Large ticket left though, 3-years $6.35 AAV. He'd fit in a Krug-type role. He's among the best PP QB's. I don't like the contract but if Florida retained and took back Moore it may be feasible. I'd like to get more of a sample on the kids before dipping back into the trade market though.
I think he'd be a nice fit if they take more and retain some money but Yandle is a PP specialist at this point. My real concern is that he has a NMC and will take a protection slot in the expansion draft. I don't want to expose Carlo or Gryz at the expense of Yandle and that makes dealing for him a non-starter for me.
 

mwonow

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I think he'd be a nice fit if they take more and retain some money but Yandle is a PP specialist at this point. My real concern is that he has a NMC and will take a protection slot in the expansion draft. I don't want to expose Carlo or Gryz at the expense of Yandle and that makes dealing for him a non-starter for me.
That's a good point, I hadn't even considered the expansion draft ramifications.
Me either, I was still on the 'man, that D is thin' train. Thanks for expanding the discussion.