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Drew Johnson The Hockey Writers

Published on Monday, August 21, 2017





Boston Bruins Roster Predictions 2017-18

An early playoff exit can leave a team feeling stranded during the offseason. Just how much does a club need to add, and who’s getting voted off the island to make room?

The Boston Bruins found themselves in this state following their 2017 playoff series against the Ottawa Senators. For those out of the loop, let’s recap some highlights of the club’s offseason to date:

Ryan Spooner disappointed both Claude Julien and Bruce Cassidy last season. Many in Boston’s media called for GM Don Sweeney to trade him. Other players receiving attention for their lackluster play were Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes. The latter was bought out by Boston on June 30th.

Jimmy Hayes was bought out by the Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

On the trading front, the Bruins were reportedly attached to defenseman Jonas Brodin. Once a Brodin trade failed to surface before the Las Vegas Expansion Draft, rumors simmered, and the Bruins lost defenseman Colin Miller to the Golden Knights. Of course, Kevan Miller was protected over Colin to the despair of many Bruins fans. In the end, Sweeney made the right call.

September is rapidly approaching, and the Bruins are virtually unchanged since the Entry Draft. In fact, young prodigy David Pastrnak is still without a contract. Considering the roster’s current state, here comes a prediction of the Bruins 2017-18 lineup.



Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron

Anders Bjork

David Pastrnak David Krejci

David Backes

Frank Vatrano

Ryan Spooner

Jakob Forsbakka Karlsson

Matt Beleskey Riley Nash

Noel Acciari

If Sweeney is unable to add a veteran capable of top-six minutes, then Anders Bjork or another rookie will get their chance to shine. Bumping Pastrnak down to play with David Krejci and David Backes reinstates the “David Line” while potentially giving Krejci the sniper he’s been missing on his flank. This would also round out the scoring with Marchand sticking with Bergeron on the first line. Who do you play your top defensive pairing against? All the while, Bjork or another rookie will get the chance to grow and learn under a four-time Selke winner in Bergeron.

Anders Bjork is the Bruins’ most promising forward prospect (Photo Credit: Tom Sorensen)

Boston fans were out for Spooner’s head this summer but it seems that he will be a Bruin this season after signing a one-year deal. The 25-year-old will once again try to prove that he can be a reliable third line forward in the NHL. Joining him in that battle is Frank Vatrano who has yet to meet expectations. His speed and stick skills are impressive and he could potentially leap to a top-six role if he continues to improve. Jakob Forsbakka Karlsson is just one other rookie who will be battling for NHL minutes this year. If Spooner doesn’t  pan out, he is likely next in line for the third-line center position.

It’s unfortunate to see $3.8 million be wasted on a fourth liner, but that is the case the Bruins find themselves in with Beleskey. At his best, No. 39 could make a bid for third-line duties. He will, however, start the season as a grunt. Riley Nash will once again fulfill his role as the anchor on the Bruins fourth line. He will likely be accompanied by Noel Acciari who was re-signed this offseason.

Defense & Goalies

Zdeno Chara Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug Kevan Miller
Adam McQuaid Charlie McAvoy

Once again, Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo will take the helm on the Bruins back end. Carlo had a stellar rookie season and will continue to see minutes against the NHL’s top lines. Chara, who will be playing for a contract next season, will need to prove that he is still defensively sound. His offensive game has been running downhill since the 2012-13 season. If he’s a Bruin next year it will be as a veteran asset, not a top-two defenseman.

Brandon Carlo

Brandon Carlo had an impressive rookie campaign (Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

This writer would love to see Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy as a defensive pair, but that might have to wait. Adam McQuaid and Miller would have a tough time together on the breakout and working the point on offense. Thus, Krug will balance out Miller while McQuaid can be moved to the left side to keep McAvoy on his natural right. Keep in mind: the goal is to eventually have McAvoy and Krug together. While McAvoy won’t have an All-Star season as some cup-thirsty Bruins fans predict, he should improve his defensive game as a member of the last pair while also contributing offensively.


Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Zane McIntyre

While Rask didn’t make the NHL Network’s Top 10 Goalies list, he is certainly considered so by most hockey fans. He will quite obviously get the starting role. But just many starts he will get is up for debate.

Anton Khudobin has a rough start to the season last year but improved once Coach Cassidy took over. He will likely get backup duties to start the year. Whether or not he is a Bruins by the season’s end, however, is up for debate.

Anton Khudobin had a half-hearted season (Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE)

Zane McIntyre will be Boston’s go-to netminder in Providence. Daniel Vladar could also see a call-up in the near future. Sweeney could also opt to seek a backup in free agency or trade. This is more likely to be pursued after the Khudobin gets a chance to prove himself.

Special Teams

The Bruins will look to continue their success on the power play:




Brad Marchand

Patrice Bergeron

David Pastrnak

Anders Bjork

David Krejci David Backes



Torey Krug

Charlie McAvoy

Ryan Spooner

Brandon Carlo

Let’s look at the major changes. For starters, Chara is not on the power play. Can we please all come to the conclusion that the value Big Z has left resides on the back end? With this lineup, we can see what Krug and McAvoy can do as a tandem.

Pastrnak will make the leap to play with Marchand and Bergeron to allow Bjork to play on his natural left side. This is a good way to test out Bjork’s chemistry with Krejci as well. Backes will likely start on the wing but could be replaced by the likes of a third-liner if one is to come alive offensively.

Pastrnak could be reunited with Bergeron and Marchand on the power play (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Spooner has been productive on the Bruins power play in recent years. In fact, 46 of his career 117 points have come on the man-advantage. He is well-suited for the role of a puck-mover at the point. Carlo could certainly join him to hone his offensive skills.

On the Penalty Kill, one can assume that Bergeron, Marchand, and Nash will all find themselves at home on the unit. Acciari, Forsbakka Karlsson, Bjork, and Vatrano will all make bids for the role as well. Spooner will likely be bolstering his defensive skills this offseason and could also join the conversation. Beleskey is also worth mentioning.

Improvements and adjustments can still be made and should be pursued by management. The Bruins still have rookie camp, main camp, and a full pre-season left to go. Considering the team’s current roster, however, the locker room in TD Garden is shaping up nicely.


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