It is not often that a former Jack Adams Award winner leads his team to 51 victories, only to be sent packing. That is what happened with the Boston Bruins with the departure of Bruce Cassidy. Former Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery is now calling the shots.
It is going to take awhile before Montgomery gets to coach all of his best players with star winger Brad Marchand and defenseman Charlie McAvoy set to start the season on injured reserve. Winger Taylor Hall became the latest star player bitten by the injury bug. Even with McAvoy set to miss time, the NHL predictions list him sixth in the odds to win the Norris Trophy.
The big news is the return of David Krejci after a one-year absence to give Boston its 1-2 punch at center, with Krejci joining perennial Selke Award candidate Patrice Bergeron. There weren’t many roster changes with the exception of trading Erik Haula to New Jersey for Pavel Zacha.
Six Eastern Conference teams have better odds to win the NHL’s Presidents’ Trophy than the Bruins, who are priced at +4000, according to the NHL playoffs odds.
The Bruins haven’t had many newcomers make a huge impact in recent years. However, keep an eye on winger Fabian Lysell, the 21st overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Boston Bruins Odds
- To win Stanley Cup +2800
- To win Eastern Conference +1400
- To win Atlantic Division +800
- To make playoffs Yes -160 / No +130
Player to Watch
It is impossible to think of the Boston Bruins without focusing on 30-somethings Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and Krejci.
The present and future of the franchise rest with five-time 30-goal scorer David Pastrnak.
There were rumblings of Pastrnak’s discontent in the offense. However, he is back and will look to build off an outstanding 2021-22 season when he scored 40 goals.
In the quest for some offensive balance, Pastrnak was moved off the “Perfection Line” that also included Bergeron and Marchand.
With a new coach calling the shots, it remains to be seen who he ends up skating with when all the star players are healthy.
A unit of Pastrnak, Krejci and Taylor Hall could be something special and give Boston two elite scoring lines.
Pastrnak (+2200) is tied for seventh in the odds to win the Rocket Richard Trophy as the top goal scorer in the NHL according to the NHL predictions.
Player to Watch: RW David Pastrnak
The Bruins have a history of elite goalies and the next star is 23-year-old Jeremy Swayman.
He splits time with Linus Ullmark, but there will come a time when he is the unquestioned No. 1 goalie.
In his first full season, the former fourth-round pick won 23 games and had a 2.41 goals-against average.
When Bergeron, Marchand and Krejci finally hang up their skates, the Bruins’ identity will be led by Swayman as well as defensemen McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm.
Breakout Watch: G Jeremy Swayman
With Montgomery at the helm, he won’t have any choice but to give some young players a look as a result of the stars currently sidelined.
Is Lysell ready to become a top six forward? Where does key offseason acquisition Zacha fit? It wouldn’t be a Bruins season without questions about former first-round pick Jake DeBrusk. He had opportunities to play alongside Bergeron and Marchand. DeBrusk has never seemed comfortable playing on his off wing so he is getting the chance to play his natural left wing in the preseason.
The Krejci-Zacha-Pastrnak line has looked like they have played together for years so it offers different line combinations.
Jake Zboril has been getting the chance to show what he can do in the preseason after he got overshadowed by the other defensemen. Without McAvoy in the early portion of the season, there could be expanded minutes for some under-the-radar defensemen.