Haggerty's Bruins Report Card
Haggerty's Bruins Report Card
With the Bruins’ most successful regular season since the Bobby Orr Era now comfortably in the books, it's now that time for everyone to switch toward the best time of year in the professional sports world: the Stanley Cup playoffs. Since the playoff series between the Bruins and Detroit Red Wings doesn’t begin until Friday night, we'll take one more day to reflect on a Boston regular season worthy of the franchise’s second President’s Trophy since the award’s inception in 1989-90.
The 54 regular season wins and 117 points were clearly the best in the NHL this season, and the most for the Boston Bruins since a Stanley Cup-winning B’s team finished with 54 wins and 119 points in 1971-72 while ranking as one of the greatest teams in NHL history.
Therefore today’s report card is going to hold a lot more A’s than C’s, D’s and F’s no matter what the haters and message board heroes would like to see. So without further ado, here is the Bruins’ report card for the 2013-14 season:
Patrice Bergeron scored 30 goals for the second time in his career, had 62 points, won 58.6 percent of his face offs and finished second in the NHL with a plus/minus of plus-38. He also impressed the fancy stats crew with an NHL-leading 5v5 CF% mark of 61.2.
David Krejci led the entire NHL with a plus-39 two years after he finished as a minus player for the Bruins in their post-Stanley Cup season, and led the Bruins with 69 points.
Jarome Iginla hit 30 goals for the 12th time in the last 13 years, and gave the Bruins their most consistent season of production from their top forward line.
Zdeno Chara started shifts in the defensive zone 51.8 percent of the time, and finished with a plus-25 despite consistently playing against the other team’s best players. He also contributed 17 goals and was a power play beast in front of the net for the most improved PP in the league.
Tuukka Rask is the runaway favorite to win the Vezina Trophy with an NHL-leading seven shutouts, and his 2.04 goals against average and .930 were both among the top four in the league.
Torey Krug finished his first full NHL season with 14 goals and 40 points, and was a huge difference-maker on the power play.
Behind the 'B's'
Truthfully this is the B-plus crew because all of these players were excellent as well. Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic both put together seasons of at least 24 goals, 50 points and a plus-30 while also supplying their needed emotional spark during the regular season. A little bonus credit for Marchand who battled back from a slow first month to put together a regular season consistent with his last few years.
Reilly Smith finished with the kind of numbers -- 20 goals and 51 points – that would have blown away people had they been privy to them prior to the season, but also experienced a very ragged end to the season.
Five goals and 23 points for Johnny Boychuk, and he led all Bruins defenseman with a plus-31 while holding things together once Dennis Seidenberg went down.
Carl Soderberg finished with 16 goals and 48 points in his first full NHL season, and has turned the B’s third line into a bona fide threat entering the playoffs.
Kevan Miller was a consistent, physical beast during 47 games in his rookie season with the Bruins, and has earned himself a job in Boston.
Chad Johnson was 17-4-3 as the Bruins backup goalie this season, and proved once again that the B’s system is a goalie’s best friend.
Dougie Hamilton took a big step forward this season with decent offensive numbers (seven goals, 25 points) coupled with 19 minutes per night against the other team’s best players while paired with Zdeno Chara.
Gregory Campbell overcame a slow start to the season recovering from a broken leg, and finished with eight goals and 21 points.
'C' is for the Cup
Chris Kelly battled through injuries and finished with a respectable nine goals and 18 points, and is given the thankless job of starting his shifts in the defensive zone a team-high 56 percent of the time.
It was a typically solid season for Daniel Paille that was broken up by a couple of concussions.
The 18 assists and the plus-22 rating for Matt Bartkowski were good, and he stepped up when Dennis Seidenberg went down for the season. Some of the inconsistency in Bartkowski’s game leaves question marks going into the playoffs, though, and the poor guy is still looking for his first goal.
It goes without saying that we’re stretching a bit to find faults with players on a hockey team that few weaknesses, and never lost more than two games in a row all season.
Work on the 'D'
Ten goals and 37 points for Loui Eriksson isn’t what anybody expected coming into this season after he’d averaged close to 30 goals and 70 points with the Dallas Stars. The concussions were certainly a factor, and will give Eriksson a honeymoon period to show what he can do over a full season next year. Clearly he’s a Bruins type of player given the way he pays attention to detail, and plays in all three zones.
The numbers, hustle and toughness were all good for Shawn Thornton, but the 15-game suspension for knocking out Brooks Orpik really put a damper on the middle of the regular season for the Black and Gold. It’s a shame the NHL used the situation – and resulting suspension – to provide protection for Orpik, who clearly feels emboldened to take runs at skill players in vulnerable spots on the ice.
What the 'F'
Adam McQuaid is exactly the kind of person and player you want on your hockey team, but he just couldn’t stay healthy enough to help the Bruins while missing 52 games with a strained quad. If Kevan Miller hadn’t stepped up, the Bruins would have been in a world of trouble.
Jordan Caron had a goal and three points in 35 games, and was the only minus player on the roster. Some take umbrage with the high expectations foisted on Caron in a minor role with the Bruins, but he is a former first round pick taken ahead of notables such as Ryan O’Reilly, Alex Chiasson, Jakob Silfverberg, Richard Panik and Tomas Tatar in the 2009 NHL Draft. If the Bruins don’t win the Cup this season partially because Caron is pushed into duty as the current 13th forward heading into the playoffs, the team’s failing at the 2009 draft will be partially to blame.
Dennis Seidenberg, Ryan Spooner, Andrej Meszaros, Justin Florek, Matt Fraser, Craig Cunningham, David Warsofsky, Zach Trotman, Matt Lindblad, Alex Khokhlachev, Nick Johnson, Corey Potter and Niklas Svedberg.