In an ESPN Boston article, Joe McDonald offers his thoughts on the potential line combinations we can expect to see on opening night—barring any trades or additional roster moves.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that we can expect the first and second lines to remain fairly consistent with what we have seen over the past couple of seasons with Krejci centering Lucic and Eriksson—who replaces Iginla on the top line. The second line trio of Bergeron, Marchand and Smith will look to continue the chemistry and productivity we witnessed last year—both offensively and defensively.
The third line this year, according to McDonald, will feature a rookie, a seasoned veteran and a one-eyed Swede—that is Matt Fraser, Simon Gagne and Carl Soderberg. It is also this line that I feel David Pastrnak could earn a spot on as the season progresses, and a line that will be critical to the Bruins success during both the regular and post seasons.
The merlot line this year will have a bit of a different feel, and with Gregory Campbell not ready for opening night action, will likely feature Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and either Bobby Robins or Jordan Caron. For what it is worth, we have seen what Caron can do, and that tends to not be much, so Julien and the staff should give Robins this opportunity. But with a healthy Campbell, that is one of the best fourth lines in the league with their speed, grit and experience.
The defensive pairings—as of now—would be Chara and Hamilton, Seidenberg and Boychuk and Krug and McQuaid, with Kevan Miller being the odd man out of that rotation. You would be hard pressed to find a better top-four defensive unit in the NHL if the Bruins roll out this combination on Wednesday night.
It also goes without saying McDonald expects the Finn, Rask, to be between the pipes, with the young Swede, Svedberg, backing him up.
It will be interesting to see how the line pairings pan out as we approach the puck drop, but as McDonald points out, Julien likes consistency and “knows what works best in order to achieve success.”