The Boston Bruins had the 5th ranked offense in the NHL last season. The scoring was led by the 1st forward line of Horton (53 points), Krejci (62 points) , and Lucic (62 points). It is rare that a team with such a potent offense does not have a Crosby or a Sedin, or even a Brad Richards. I am expecting great things from this line. Another year as a complete bona-fide first line with a clear chemistry should do the linemates well in the point department. The first moment I knew this line was destined for great things was back in the preseason. The Bruins were facing the Florida Panthers, Horton's old team. On a neutral zone faceoff, Panther forward Triston Grant and Horton were exchanging some words and taking some shots at each other. Well you know how Milan Lucic felt about that. He went right over after the puck dropped and challenged Grant to a fight, which Lucic undoubtedly won. That showed me that these guys got each others back and were going to gel as a 1st line together. This line should lead the Bruins in scoring again this season.
Center David Krejci has asked to fill some big shoes when Marc Savard went down with another concussion. We needed to move on with David Krejci as the franchises number one center. Krejci has become an essential part of the makeup of this team, and it showed when Krejci went down with a broken wrist in the 2009-2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Although David Krejci recorded 13 goals this season, he showed his soft hands by registering 49 assists. During the postseason however, Krejci became a whole different player, scoring at a point per game pace and could have won the Conn Symthe trophy had it not been for the legendary postseason of Tim Thomas. It is no unreasonable to think that after that postseason performance, Krejci could far exceed 62 points. Krejci could and should cement himself as one of the best set up man in the NHL. In the entire regular season, Krejci had 13 goals. Krejci had 12 in 25 postseason games. If David Krejci can play like he did in the playoffs, he would be on pace to score 40 goals. Although I do not think he will do that, I think Krejci may start to beg the question of is he elite or not? Expected numbers- (25- 55- 80)
Right wing Nathan Horton was brought in from the Florida Panthers before the NHL draft, many had aspirations of a 40 goal season for Horton. Horton scored 26 goals during the regular season.Horton registered 31 goals in the 2006-2007 season, and coming to a hockey town in Boston with better players around him, Horton was destined for bigger and better things. Nathan Horton's playoff heroics aside, he wasn't very consistent during the regular season, going on a tear at the beginning and end of the regular season. The first line has no question marks, we know who is going to play on it. Another year with his linemates could do Nathan Horton wonders in the goal department. He is still young at 26 years old and still has room to grow. He could still reach 40 goals in a Bruins uniform, that could depend on how David Krejci plays this upcoming season. Expected numbers- (34- 36- 70)
Left Wing Milan Lucic broke out offensively this season, showing he not only drop the gloves, but can put the puck in the back of the net too. Lucic became the first Bruins to score 30 goals in a season since Phil Kessel scored 36 in 2008-2009. In the process, Lucic did score 5 empty netters. One could say Lucic was a little lucky to score 30 goals. He is only 23 years old, and could have more 30 goal seasons in his future. Lucic's point total could depend on how well David Krejci plays this year. I do not expect Milan Lucic to lead the Bruins in scoring again this season. Expected numbers- (21- 31- 52)
You could see a great point increase from players like Seguin and Marchand. Tyler Seguin has got to break out eventually, and due to his experience gained from last year, could see a jump in playing time and production. He showed flashes of the player that he would become in the Eastern Conference finals when he replaced Patrice Bergeron, who went down with a concussion. Look to see that player a little more often and consistent this season. Brad Marchand is a lock for a second line spot next to Patrice Bergeron. Marchand scored 41 points last year, and that is after a very slow start. Tyler Seguin is a favorite to replace Mark Recchi on the 2nd forward line. A second line of a more mature Seguin, one of the best two way forwards in the game Patrice Bergeron, and a feisty playoff hero Brad Marchand could give opposing coaches another thing to think about when choosing matchups.
The Bruins are unlike most recent Stanley Cup Champions, where they build around one supreme offensive talent. The Bruins balance out there scoring throughout their entire lineup instead of relying on one elite goal scorer. The Bruins did not have one player in the top 30 in scoring, and yet they had a top 5 offense. Thats balance and depth. The Bruins have talent throughout their entire roster. When an injury occurs, the Bruins depth shines through. This is most evident by looking at a player like Rich Peverley. Peverley was on the first forward line on the then Atlanta Thrashers. When he was brought in at the trade deadline, he was placed on the third line, coming alive in the playoffs. The Bruins proved they could get scoring throughout their lineup when Peverley replaced an injured Nathan Horton on the 1st line in the finals and producing. With all this in mind, although the Bruins have no made any huge line changes, with a healthy roster, the Bruins offense is in fantastic shape for next season.