Our writing team makes predictions on the Bruins this year. We talk about team MVP, dark horses, bounce-back players, breakout candidates and who may disappoint. We also tell you where we think the Bruins will finish in the Atlantic division:
MVP: Tough to bet against Bergeron as the Bruins MVP, although Rask would be a close second.
Breakout player: Loui Eriksson will excel with Krejci as his center and Lucic on the opposite wing.
Bounce-back player: Seidenberg, not a big surprise, but in my opinion is the Bruins best defenseman.
Dark horse: Soderberg will continue the effectiveness he showed during the end of last season, making that third line one of the most formidable in the league.
Underachiever: Zdeno Chara, and not so much under achieving, but I think his age will catch up to him a little bit and we will not see the production we are used to.
Atlantic division prediction: I think the Bruins will win the Atlantic with 111 points posting a 53-24-5 record , but Tampa Bay will be close behind them
MVP: Tuukka Rask. Rask will again be a top goalie in the NHL this season and will heavily contend for the Vezina. Last year, according to NHL.com, Rask was the only goaltender to be in the top 5 in shutouts, Goals Against Average (GAA) and Save %.
Breakout player: Dougie Hamilton. He’s the future of the Bruins defense core and will be contending for the Vezina in the coming years. Big year coming from Dougie.
Dark horse: Matt Fraser. With Eriksson moving up to the top line, Fraser will get a chance to play on the third line with Carl Soderberg. Soderberg will feed him the puck and Fraser will finish. I’m predicting 18 goals for the 24-year-old this year. He may even crack the top line if Eriksson struggles or gets hurt again.
Bounce-back player: Brad Marchand. When Marchand is on his game, he is an extremely effective player for the Bruins. He scores and kills penalties. Marchand just needs to be smart about being an agitator and produce in the playoffs.
Underachiever: Louis Eriksson. He won’t replace Jarome Iginla’s 30 goals from last season. The Bruins traded for Eriksson expecting his 65-70 point production, but I think he’s more of a 50-55 point guy. He has not looked good in training camp.
Atlantic division prediction: Their defensive depth is second to none in the conference and they have arguably the best goalie in the league. That being said, the black and gold have some tough division opponents in Tampa Bay and Montreal who will give them trouble all season. The division will be tight but the Bruins will win it with 107 points posting a 50-25-7 record.
MVP: I think the Bruins MVP will be a close call between Rask and Bergeron, but ultimately Bergeron will come out on top.
Breakout player: Toss up between Loui Eriksson on offense and Dougie Hamilton on defense for me.
Bounce-back player: Gut instinct says Seidenberg - pretty self explanatory.
Dark horse: Soderberg, 100%. He’s here to play, and I don’t think people necessarily understand or have seen what he is capable of.
Underachiever: Chara - based on age, and not lack of effort, obviously.
Atlantic division prediction: 110 points. Bruins clinch the Atlantic after a tough battle with Tampa Bay. 53-24-5.
MVP: Patrice Bergeron. He's almost always in the right place at the right time and a 30 goal scoring Selke winner, you can't go wrong with that.
Breakout player: Matt Fraser. I think he's shown through this pre-season and camp that he is ready to play a regular shift at the NHL level and ready to take a place on the third or fourth line and contribute. But, if Fraser were to not make the opening night roster, I would say Soderberg is primed up for a breakout season, if last season doesn't count as a breakout season. I could see him nipping at a 30 goal season by the end.
Bounce-back player: Seidenberg for obvious reasons but I think we could put Loui Eriksson in this category as well. He missed 21 games from two separate concussions and his new line mates played 80 games each last season. They are going to need him healthy and on the ice to make up the chemistry they lost from losing Iginla. Eriksson almost doesn't have choice but to be the bounce back player to help the Bruins to success.
Dark horse: Daniel Paille. If he can play both wings there is a chance Paille will be playing more on that third line than the fourth and I think that if he can get some more chances on the ice playing more in an offensive role than just a straight checking line I think we could see some decent production out of the PK specialist.
Underachiever: I'm in the Chara camp as well. He seemed to be a little bit behind last season, not that shutdown defender that he usually is on every single play of every single game but I definitely noticed a change in his game last year.
Atlantic division prediction: I'm thinking if Tampa stays healthy (Stamkos) they have the potential to battle for the President's Trophy. I say 2nd in the division for the B's with 105 points 49-26-7.
-Let us know your thoughts on all of these categories in the comments section.
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