For this first Bruins final roster projection, we’ll run under the assumption that David Krejci (lower body) is going to be healthy when the season gets going on Oct. 3 in Dallas. The Czech center’s second-line right wing is one of the big question mark areas for this roster along with the wingers on the third line. Otherwise the B’s roster is pretty much packed with returning players from last season’s Stanley Cup Final team, and veterans with NHL contracts who are going to make it difficult for any of the young pups to crack the NHL roster.
The most interesting battle area is Krejci’s right wing where Karson Kuhlman, Brett Ritchie, Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen and perhaps even Oskar Steen are in the running to ride shotgun with No. 46 and Jake DeBrusk. Bruce Cassidy has admitted to some level of intrigue when it comes to a guy like Steen who’s got skill and a feistiness that should play in the pro game, and a bit of a résumé after going for 17 goals and 37 points in the Swedish Elite League last season.
“I have found [Krejci] to be very adaptable for obvious reasons because we’ve used a lot of guys there [on his right wing],” said Cassidy. “I think he has guys he’d prefer to play with and he’d tell you that. But so does [Bergeron], so does Kuraly and so does Coyle. At the end of the day he’s been very good about different linemates, and it’s just the hand he’s been dealt. Or the hand that I’ve dealt him is maybe the better term.
“I think it’s worked out for the most part over the last year-and-a-half. He’s done a good job. He had 70-something points last year. I think what he’s done is try to pull along whoever is on his wing.”
All that being said, it would benefit the Bruins and Krejci if they could eventually find a top-6 right wing for the second line who could score some goals, finish off some plays and even bring the bigger body that Nathan Horton and Jarome Iginla brought in his glory days.
That may be where the powerful Ritchie fits in if he can consistently hang with Krejci and DeBrusk at the offensive end of the ice.
A lot will come down to the final couple of exhibition games, and the absence of Krejci from the lineup could make it extremely difficult to evaluate potential new wingers for the playmaking center. So we’re willing to bet that means Bruce Cassidy and Co. will go with the old standby of Kuhlman as second-line right wing to start the season after showing the coaches enough to play in Games 6 and 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last spring.
With all of that in mind, here’s Bruins Roster Projection 1.0 with things sure to change a little after tonight’s preseason home tilt against the New Jersey Devils:
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Jake DeBrusk||David Krejci||Karson Kuhlman|
|Danton Heinen||Charlie Coyle||Brett Ritchie|
|Joakim Nordstrom||Sean Kuraly||Chris Wagner|
Scratches: Par Lindholm, David Backes
|Zdeno Chara||Charlie McAvoy|
|Torey Krug||Brandon Carlo|
|Matt Grzelcyk||Connor Clifton|
Scratch: Steven Kampfer
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