Of all the positions on the Boston Bruins roster, winger is the trickiest to get a beat on. Those expected to make the roster are for the most part set, but depth can get a bit tricky.
Potential young additions to the team such as Anders Bjork may cause Cassidy to shuffle some of the lines a bit.
The Bruins had some solid fire power toward the top of the depth chart last year, but they lacked consistent production from their bottom two lines. Boston needs somebody to have a breakout year.
Here are the wingers most likely to skate on the left side.
First line: Brad Marchand / Projection: +20, 40 goals, 50 assists, 90 points
Brad Marchand is the face of the Bruins franchise. He is going to put up bigger numbers than anyone else on the team.
Marchand had a career year a season ago, lighting the lamp 39 times and recording 46 helpers. His 39 goals were tied for third in the NHL.
The star winger should once again put up insane numbers similar to the likes of Sidney Crosby and Auston Mathews! ……. assuming he can stay on the ice.
Marchand has unbelievable talent, but foolish decisions on the ice have resulted in numerous suspensions.
The Bruins were red-hot toward the end of last season and were pushing for home ice in the first round of the playoffs when Marchand was suspended for spearing Jake Dotchin of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The suspension caused him to miss the final two games of the regular season where his absence was felt. The team lost both games and it cost them home ice in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Marchand is one of the best in the business, and should once again put up great numbers, but he needs to stop committing bad penalties.
Second line: David Backes / Projection: +3, 16 goals, 22 assists, 38 points
The Bruins signed David Backes to a five-year deal in free agency last summer in hopes of getting big offensive production out of somebody not named Brad Marchand.
Backes had a decent season, but it wasn’t as good a year as he’s used to. After three straight seasons of 20+ goals, he recorded 17 goals and 21 helpers.
With young players looking to make an impact, Backes could find himself on an all David line with Krejci and Pastrnak.
The 33-year-old winger is certainly capable of putting up bigger numbers and he looks to do just that in the 2017-2018 season.
Third line: Frank Vatrano / Projection: -3, 10 goals, 9 assists, 19 points
After the second line, the Bruins are desperate for some offensive productions. Boston needs somebody to break out if they want another playoff caliber offense.
Frank Vatrano was by no means bad in his first two years, but his play certainly wasn’t anything special.
He is coming off a year where he found the back of the net 10 times, but only recorded eight assists. The Bruins need more than that out of their third-line center.
His defensively play wasn’t stellar either, but his -3 plus minus was largely due to his minimal offensive productions.
The Bruins were hoping he would push for a top-six role with his great speed and puck skills, but he has yet to live up to the hype.
Fourth line: Matt Beleskey / Projection: -5, 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points
Matt Beleskey is coming off a disappointing season. The 29-year-old forward is going to need a bounce back year if he wants to keep his roster spot.
He missed several games due to injury, but even when healthy, Bruce Cassidy often elected to leave him out of the lineup.
Beleskey was a healthy scratch for much of the Bruins playoff series against the Ottawa Senators.
In his 49 games he scored three goals and recorded five assists for a total of 19 points. He was also -10 on the ice.
Other names to keep an eye on
- Kenny Agostino
- Anton Bildh
- Peter Cehlarik
- Jake DeBrusk
- Jesse Gabrielle